Losing Touch (duration 11') for vibraphone and fixed electronics was composed in 1994. The piece is published by Billaudot Editions (Catalog #GB7027) in Paris (Theodor Presser, US representative). A complete published edition with rehearsal CD and mono performance tape is available for student performance from several on-line dealers. Professional presentations of Losing Touch require rental of materials directly from the publisher.

Composed at the IRCAM computer music center in Paris in the summer of 1994, Losing Touch uses a fixed electronic part made of vibraphone samples and vibraphone-like sounds working in synchrony with a live vibraphone virtuoso. The live musician receives an in-ear conductor signal that insures split-second synchronization between the electronic and the acoustic world.

A living musician inhabits and interacts with the real world, engaging the physical instrument with a subtle human touch. The live musician has a physical and mental limit. In contrast, the electronic world can endlessly execute any conceivable passage. Artificial by nature, the electro-acoustic environment substitutes its lack of expressive ability with unlimited activity and color.

The human performer in Losing Touch begins the relationship with the electronic world in a naïve spirit, a spirit of mutual cooperation. As the piece nears its end, the electronics push beyond the limits of human performance. Ultimately, the live soloist, being robbed of the more expressive aspects of performance, "loses touch.” By the end, the machine and human occupy different worlds, and the illusion of cooperation is shattered. The composition is dedicated to composer John Harbison.

In 1999, Danielle Jaeggi and Les Films d’Ici produced the film Losing Touch, a documentary of Edmund Campion and the making of the piece Losing Touch.

Performance details:

All forms of digital media include a syncronizing « click-track » that permits coordination between the fixed electronic sounds and the soloist. The performer wears a headphone in order to hear the click-track. Special care should be taken to insure that the click-track is never heard by the audience nor amplified along with the live vibraphone.

Edmund Campion