for harp, live electronics & video

Stephen Andrew Taylor, 2005
(commissioned by Ann Yeung for the World Harp Congress; supported in part by a grant from the American Music Center)

video based on paintings by Hua Nian

from the premiere at the World Harp Congress, Dublin, July 21 2005;
Ann Yeung, harp.


video excerpt (3:19, 4.9 MB; images controlled in real-time by the harpist's performance; compressed for the web)
audio only (10:30)

technical info and screenshots

Program Note

One of my goals in Nebulae is to enable the harp to do things it can't do in the real world--long sustaining sounds and slow, sliding glissandos. A computer processes the harp's sound (sometimes with a cavernous reverb) and also accompanies it with a choir of glass harmonicas gliding slowly from pitch to pitch. The long, drifting sounds I was imagining reminded me of photographs of nebulas, giant dust clouds in deep space--so vivid and luminous, but impossibly distant and vast at the same time. When I was planning the work I knew there would be a video component based on paintings by Hua Nian; we have chosen her images for their abstractions, rather than straightforward depictions of the real thing. The drifting, changing shapes on the screen are controlled in real time by the movement of the harpist's hands playing the piece.

Nebulae is dedicated to Hua Nian and Ann Yeung, who collaborated with me for the premiere at the World Harp Congress in Dublin, July 2005.

Last updated October 1, 2009 by Stephen Taylor.