Voicing Abstraction / Wave #7 SOUND July 2022

Binary Complex

David Schafer

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Tonal Duet, 2021

Binary Complex, 2017

Binary Complex is composed of sculpture, sound, and print that structurally explore the idea of binaries using composition, color, sound, and data. The sculpture includes two sets of 12 bins with each color assigned a note based on the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin’s synesthetic theory of tone and color from 1909 (A-green, C-red, D-yellow, and F#-blue.) Alternating the different color-note combinations from the 924 ways the two sets of bins can be arranged, Binary Complex Permutation: Alternating Score for Tonal Duet creates the digital form of the algorithmically generated sound playing throughout the space while Binary Complex Tonal Duet Score presents the musical notation that provides a score for musicians to perform using traditional instruments. A recording of each performance is presented here.


Tonal Duet was performed by Isaura String Quartet, a LA-based ensemble dedicated to the promotion of contemporary chamber music through live performance, workshops, and collaborative projects with composers and interdisciplinary artists. The piece is performed in its entirety by two musicians at a time. The total length of performance is 2 hours and 34 minutes.

Emily Call, Violin
Madeline Falcone, Viola
Betsy Rettig, Cello

Credits to:

Carly Chubak, Algorithmic assistance for Binary Complex
Jason Pilarski, Animation, transliteration and production of the visual score for Binary Complex
Michael Webster, Supercollider production for Binary Complex; Transliteration and production of the musical score for Tonal Duet
Miles Washington, Recording assistance

Royale Projects Gallery Los Angeles, CA
Rick Royale
Nicolette Stewart

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