1982, 2020
by Dan Senn
for Three Flutes and Pre-Recorded Sounds
duration 6 minutes
and 10 seconds
Eleven Wise was first written in Canberra, Australia, in 1982 for the Flederman Contemporary Music Contemporary Music Ensemble. In February of 2020, using the same pitch and rythmic materials, the piece was arranged for three flutes at Waterhouse Studio in Watertown, Wisconsin, USA. The backing sounds were made from a single trombone and a flute sample manipulated using the Fairlight CMI. The pitches and rhythmic changes were calculated using compositional software I was developing at the time called the Raku Composition Program

The backing sounds for
Eleven Wise were made from a trombone and a flute sample. The pitches for the entire piece were calculated using compositional software I was developing at the time called the Raku Composition Program.

The banner photo above, taken by the composer in the early 1980s, shows the Canberra School of Music where
Eleven Wise was originally composed. The Computer Music Studios were located behind the dark windows furthest to the left, the exact location of the b/w photo of Dan on the right. Eleven Wise is the address of a house Dan lived in Braddon, ACT, in the early 1980s, a double brick cottage that has since been razed.

The Fairlight CMI was a pioneering digital sound instrument made famous by English pop stars in ways trivial to contemporary music aesthetics. Without the monetary backing from this industry, the instrument may not have been further developed. This is much like what has occurred more recently with, say, amazing software like Ableton Live. Smith's Invention, however, was made by an experimental classical artist, a fluxus artist to boot, with an orientation toward non-linear and complex vertical textures that supplant the eight bar phrase and thus represents a starkly different creative approach to this amazing invention by Tony Furse.

Performances of Eleven Wise require the flutists to use a click track to enable synchronisation. Therefore, the work is for three tracks (a four track reel-to-reel was used in 1982) with two serving as backing sounds, and one as a click routed to the earplugs of the players. Such modules and software to enable this are ubiquitous these days but someone must still engineer the recordings from three tracks provided on request from the composer. Performers may chose to rehearse from the full score but individual parts are provided.

A PDF of the full score, parts, and backing sounds, plus click tracks, are available for purchase below. The score may be previewed as a video here. A sound alone version of the entire piece scan be heard by clicking play below.

Dan Senn working on the Fairlight CMI at the Canberra School of Music, Australia in the early 1980s. Click image to enlarge.

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia and fluxus artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. (read more).
Above photo was taken in by Tim Brook.