by Dan Senn
for 'Cello and Pre-Recorded Sounds
duration 8 minutes
and 24 seconds
Banner above is a fragment from the score.
Smith's Invention was composed at the Canberra School of Music, Australia, in 1980 where Dan served as Lecturer in Electronic Music and Composition while directing the Electronic and Computer Music Studios. The work is for sampled 'cello (see photo) and Australian insect sounds. The backing sounds were realized on the Fairlight CMI developed in the school's electronic music studios by Tony Furse and later, in Sydney, by Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie.

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.

For a hirez score and performance version
of the backing sounds contact
Dan Senn.

Smith's Invention was commissioned by Nelson Cooke in August of 1980 at the Canberra School fo Music, Australia. The title was derived from the inventor Graham Calder-Smith, the innovative violin maker who created the experimental 'cello on which the piece was first performed. Here is a program from the 1981 International Computer Music Conference in Denton, Texas, where the piece was performed by Scott Roller on a traditional 'cello. Performed many times, I have yet to own a recording of a performance. DS

Press here to see PDF of entire score.

Press play below to hear the backing
sounds for this piece.

Dan Senn, at the time of writing Smiths-Invention in 1980, working on the Fairlight CMI at the Canberra School of Music, Australia in the. Click image to enlarge.

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia/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).