PLOrk fall2006/Works/Cows Out To Pasture

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Cows Out to Pasture

  • composer: Spencer Salazar
  • duration: 5'/variable
  • software used: OS X, miniAudicle

Program Notes

In this piece, several performers are asked to first record several samples of their voices into the laptop, and then to replay these samples through various forms of digital processing and filtration. The performers change the characteristics of processing throughout the performance. The "instrument" (essentially a bare bones sampler) for this piece is versatile and performers are welcome/encouraged to jam or riff in whichever ways they see fit for any length of time. However there is also a rough score for a particular piece that uses this instrument that you can find with the source code. The title is an interpretation of this composition's ending.

Laptop Instructions

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  • Check System Preferences -> Sound -> Input
    • ensure that the Input Source is set to Internal Microphone and turn the Input Volume to ~75%
  • open miniAudicle
  • In miniAudicle -> Preferences -> Miscellaneous, ensure that the current directory is PLOrk/users/sds/sss/, or whichever other directory the relevant ChucK source files are located.
  • Open "" in miniAudicle.
  • Start the virtual machine.
  • Add to the virtual machine. Two windows should appear, one titled "record" and one titled "playback".


  • files:,,,,,
  • score: notes.pdf
  • All files can be found in PLOrk/users/sds/sss/

Human Instructions


  • First, performers should record your samples using the record window, so you can get them without feedback. Later, it can be interesting to rerecord samples after the performance has started, taking advantage of the close distance between the speakers and microphone on PowerBooks to produce interesting feedback effects.
    • In the record window, select a sample. Hit "start" to start recording. The actual recording won't start until the first red dot lights up, after about a second (this is done so as to not get the sound of your mouse clicking in the recording). Samples have a fixed size of 4 seconds; when all the dots have lit up and then disappeared, the sample has finished recording.
  • To start playback, click a sample in the playback window. Hit the forward button to tell the program to run the sample in the forward direction, and then hit the start button to start playback (the red dot will light up to indicate playback). Slowly roll the master gain up to an acceptable level. From here, you can mix in the sample played in reverse, add a primitive form of amplitude modulation, adjust settings for the low pass filter, and play around with the comb filter gain and frequency. You can also play and modify multiple a sample while other samples are playing by just clicking the sample you want to change/modify. Click "stop" to stop a sample.


  • If you're using the provided score, be sure to signal to performers when going from section to section. Future revisions of this piece may allow the conductor to specify modulation and comb filter frequencies for performers by means of ChucK arrays or MIDI keyboards.