Work » Projects » within the social history of saltpeter 2017

within the social history of saltpeter is the first piece written based on my research on the history of musical performance and tourism in Mammoth Cave National Park. This particular piece engages with the traditional Cave Sing, which has occurred every December in Mammoth Cave for decades. The location of the Cave Sing may change location, but is often located in one of the larger chambers easily accessible from the cave entrance.

I was interested in engaging with this tradition, and so in December 2016 I attended the Cave Sing and, working with the National Park Service, was able to set up a series of small recorders along different points of the paths extending out from the children’s choir that was performing.

As a way to play with the span of the space, focused on a very small fragment of the choir performance, slowed it down in each of the recordings, and then very gradually transitioned between those slowed down fragments, at times improvising with them.

Intended for performance over a multi-channel speaker array, the piece was premiered at the ULTRASONS Festival at the University of Montreal, and was subsequently performed at the 2017 BEAST FEaST in Birmingham, UK. A stereo version of the piece has also been featured at the SPLICE Festival, the Hartford Festival of Women Composers, the New Music Miami Festival, and the VU Symposiums (Utah).


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