H. Accretion

for 3 pianos and a pianist

Accretion grew out of the collaborative process with Toby Kassell, a choreographer and dancer working extensively with sound and producing original pieces, currently employed at the Göteborg Opera.

Three pianos are placed in different positions in the performance space, with the audience sitting in between and around the instruments.

The focus of the piece lies in playing with the repetition and variation of material, referencing pieces on one piano, which were previously performed on another one, and thus accumulating different layers of material and memory, which are further multiplied by the 3 instruments. Hence the title, Accretion.

I am playing inside the pianos, moving in-between them, transitioning the sound of one instrument to the next and at times perform the resonance of all three sounding bodies simultaneously. Small vibrating engines (vibrators) and EBows are placed inside the pianos operated from elsewhere in the space through remote controls. The development of new playing techniques and material plays a major part in the spatial composing of body and instrument. Resonating objects and material  form a sonic and physical connection between the pianos, acoustically transforming the performance space and leaving physical traces; a spatial composition emerges and unfolds, creating different spatial and aural perspectives.

However, movement does not have a purpose in itself—it fulfils the function of getting from one spatial posi- tion within the musical performance to the next. Body movement and gestures are choreographed and at times separated from the sound they produce, but they are not a theatrical element: they function as reminders of what has happened, of musical structure, and they change the physical, temporal, and aural perspective in experiencing sound and space. They are a visualized musical thinking.

Accretion turns into an embodied performance experience. It intensifies and continuously renegotiates space-body-object relationships in composing with timbre.

I discuss the process of developing Accretion, gestural approaches in instrumental performance and movement as part of timbre orchestration in detail in chapter 8 of my thesis.

Media Example H1


Video essay  "Accretion"


Idea and Concept : Magda Mayas and Toby Kassell

Performance and Music: Magda Mayas

Video and light: Katxerê Medina

Audio post production: Tony Buck

Gothenburg University, Högskolan för Scen och Musik,  2018

Media Example H2

Excerpts of a live Performance of Accretion

September 23rd 2018 at Gothenburg University