Humans are social animals. Our need for one another is present in every element of our lives. Moreover,
we tend to sort ourselves into hierarchies much like other social animals do, with one person having more
or less control over the attitude and actions of another. Alpha is an experiment in how this kind of power
dynamic can be magnified and explored through music.
The guitar is amplified and several audio effects are applied to it. The parameters of those effects are
controlled by the motion of the flute, which is tracked by the computer.
For the first half of the work, the flute player is instructed to control these effects in ways that work
against the goals of the guitar, who is helpless. In the second half, the pitch played by the guitar changes
how much control the flute player is given, allowing the guitar player to fight back by working against
the flute. In the final section, the two players are instructed to work together towards a common goal.
Alpha was commissioned by the Keith/Larson Duo.