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Composing for instruments and the electronic medium presents a daunting challenge to the composer who has to decide how to combine and blend the different sounds, when to contrast the instrument with the recorded sounds and when to allow for an instrumental or electronic display.
There are rich aural possibilities in such combinations with the electronic sounds increasing the range in timbre. The contrast between performer and loud speaker emphasises on the one hand the poetic qualities of the instrument, on the other the spatial and often magical display of electronic sounds.
The main idea behind Composition 8 lies in the contrast and blend of the 'live' violin and pre-recordings of the instrument which are transformed to produce a kind of "alter-ego" fabric. Many electronic sounds have a violinistic quality about them, for instance the audible bowing changes, the 'white noise' of the bow as in harmonics, trills and tremolos.
Composition 8 was completed in September 1974. It is the eighth in a series of ten 'Compositions' for instruments, voice, and electronic sounds. The electronic sounds were composed in the Electronic Music Studios of the Victoria University of Wellington. The work is dedicated to the Australian violinist Ronald Woodcock who provided the initial violin sounds for the tape recording.