Stay In Your Lane

flute
clarinet
soprano saxophone
violin
cello
vibraphone
piano

Duration: 10:00

Program Notes:

Dashcam and bodycam videos are increasingly required by police departments and communities to officially document on-duty officers’ actions.  These videos are used in the same way as bystander videos: to prove allegations against or exonerate a police officer regarding illegal use of physical and deadly force, profiling, infringement of rights, or other malpractice.  Stay In Your Lane was inspired by an officially released police dashcam video of a controversial traffic stop.  A significant passage of several minutes showed the same images looped and/or appearing and disappearing suddenly.  However, the arresting officer’s voiceover discussing the traffic stop proceeds with no glitches or interruptions. It is clear that something was missing or hidden.

Stay in Your Lane creates music that isn’t there. It uses a psychoacoustic illusion called a virtual fundamental, wherein the right combinations of certain high notes will create notes appearing as real within the human ear that are not actually present in the music being played.  In this piece, slow, repetitive clusters of sound cause these missing low notes, plus more complex side bands, to appear and disappear gradually as buzzing sounds within the ears.  The video reminds us that digital media does not always tell the truth; the music reminds that our senses do not always perceive the truth. 

Stay in Your Lane  was written in 2018 for Bent Frequency.

Unpremiered