South African composer Dimitri Voudouris b.1961 Athens, Greece) began composing in the 90¹s. He composes for acoustic instruments, electronic sound sources, multimedia, including dance and theatre. He bases his technical and theoretical compositional approach in research of cognitive psycho-acoustic behavioral patterns in humans and the behavior of sound in relationship to continued environmental changes. His socio-cultural interests have led him to research the survival of music in the 21st century and the impact that media and technology have on the composer.
NPFAI. 1 (New Possibilities for African Instrument) is an electro-acoustic composition for kundi and m'bira with computer assisted processing. Kalimba or m'bira is a finger piano made of wood and metal strips used in ceremonial music. In Western Africa this instrument is known as m'bira and in Eastern Africa it is called a kalimba. The kundi a bowed harp is a ceremonial instrument originating from the Mangbetu tribe of the Congo. In NPFAI.1, working with each individual layer gave Voudouris better control in the change of sound characteristics as some sound phenomena changed, disappeared and new sound phenomena surfaced creating new possibilities.
In Palmos, Voudoris chose three Western instruments - the Hammond organ, oboe, and the bandoneon - whose overtone and harmonic capabilities allowed for interlocking moments to take place, a phenomenon that is ever present in
African traditional music. Spectrographic analysis of sounds produced by each individual instrument was carefully monitored which allowed for a deeper understanding of timbre [harmonic content], attack, decay and vibrato. Subtractive synthesis further allowed for the isolation of certain inaudible frequencies to be enhanced to an audible level and the elimination of others. These compositional elements allow the listener to perceive the sound as stable individual tone and noise spectra, frequently of surprising purity.
NPFAI. 3, third in a series of electro-acoustic studies, is for African marimba and computer assisted processing. The African marimba used in this work is a tenor marimba, used traditionally as a rhythm instrument. The marimba is tuned in Xhosa tuning with just intonation in Eb (with added A's). The instrument was played with traditional mallets; the recording was processed and constructed on computer. Granular, algorithmic and subtractive sound syntheses were used in the construction of NPFAI.3. These procedures were not to defamiliarize the sound of the instrument but rather to explore the deeper analogies of organic identity in the construction of micro sound environments, focusing on capturing the physical properties of the instrument and its organic sound textures.
PRAXIS is a four-channel tape piece using a recording of Christian Orthodox Greek male choir and computer assisted processing. 566 sound compartments were created that ranged from 10 to 40 seconds in time duration. Each sound compartment was constructed and manipulated individually, allowing for better control in maintaining individuality in the sound structures. The computer further allowed for the individual micro-rearrangement of pitches in each sound compartment, leading to the notion of continuous macro-timbre. The methods used allowed for greater control in spacial differentiation of each sound. The distorted nature of the sound source was not eliminated but was build into the composition.