In any large city, the sound of car horns riddles every street. But whenever I visit a city in India, the level of this traffic-filled soundscape is taken to an extreme, with a constant barrage of wild, animated, and exuberant car horns and songs like “Happy Birthday” which play every time a car is put into reverse. These unique horns almost sound too melodic and friendly to be recognized as traffic noises elsewhere, and hence they are used differently when driving – rather than honking out of anger, they are used to communicate to other drivers and make each car’s presence known, almost as a form of self-expression. In many ways, these drivers are reclaiming technology and using it to communicate – the most human and individual act possible. In essence, this piece Honk If You Love Me is a meta-version of this phenomenon, using electronics to disintegrate these traffic sounds and recontextualize them into something deeply personal and human.
My sincere thanks to Subashini Ganesan for her work in choreographing this piece, to Lou DeMartino for his musical artistry, and to Lisa Volle, Sarah Tiedemann, and everyone at Third Angle New Music for commissioning this work.
Honk If You Love Me is scored for clarinet and electronics. The electronics materials consist of a tape track, click track, and an Ableton Live session for live processing. The live processing results in subtle reverb and delay effects that blend the clarinet’s sound with the tape track in certain sections. These live processing effects are already programmed into the Ableton Live session (which also contains the tape and click tracks), and using a microphone and correct routing, using the session to run all of the electronics will allow the live processing to occur at preset times during the piece. It is most preferable for the performer to use this Ableton Live session and realize the live processing effects; however, if it is not possible for the performer to the use Ableton, it is okay for the performer to forgo the live processing and instead only use the tape and click tracks.
Growls and flutter-tongue effects are indicated within the score. The goal of these effects is to produce as noisy and dirty of a timbre as possible. The performer may interchange between these sung growl and flutter-tongue effects at their discretion if it is not possible to produce a rough, dirty sound at the indicated pitch range.
Multiphonic fingerings are provided in the score. These multiphonics may be substituted with others if the given multiphonic is not playable. When substituting multiphonics, the priority is to find another multiphonic that achieves as dirty and rough of a timbre as possible, rather than focusing on finding another with similar harmonic content.
All glissandi begin at the note directly preceding the glissando line. Glissandi should most preferably be achieved using lip bend “smears,” but one can also use fingered glissandi (or a combination of a fingered glissando and lip bend) as necessary depending on the range of the glissando.