Video: Dan Joseph – Periodicity Piece #6

Periodicity Piece #6 is a multi-channel sound work composed in 2005 and premiered in the same year as a six-hour sound installation with occasional live musicians, at the Diapason Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Subsequent versions of Periodicity Piece #6 include a one-hour concert realization by the sfSoundGroup that includes 8 live instrumental parts, and a ten-minute “fixed-media” version presented at the 2012 San Francisco Tape Music Festival. At Harvestworks, a revised four-hour version of the original installation will be presented continuously for the full duration of the engagement.

Dan Joseph: Periodicity Piece #6

Fri, Feb 1 2013 (Reception): 7 – 9pm
Sat & Sun, Feb 1/2 2013 (Installation): 3pm – 7pm

Admission: FREE

596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012 | Phone: 212-431-1130
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker

See the video interview with the composer at the bottom of this page!

Periodicity Piece #6 combines extensive pre-recorded musical/sonic materials, live digital processing, and, when possible, live instrumentalists, in the realization of a strictly arranged time-based score. The goal of the work is to establish multiple rates of periodicity, ranging from short musically metrical repetitions, to longer patterns of recurrence. The resulting experience of these simultaneously unfolding yet unrelated rates of periodicity, is to give the listener a rich and complex sense of passing time on multiple planes.

The work makes extensive use of a multi-channel environment by spatially locating the pre-recorded material and the live instrumentalists in fixed positions within the room, thus establishing an architectural context within which the work unfolds. The interplay between the periodic musical structure and the fixed distribution of the sounds in space reinforces the simultaneous perception of multiple rates of periodicity that is the subject of the work. The pre-recorded component of Periodicity Piece #6 lasts two hours and ten minutes and repeats continuously throughout the gallery open hours. The work is subdivided into nine 16-minute periods. Musical events are distributed in time within strictly repeating patterns, some within only specific periods, others continuing through several and/or all periods. Some of the structural timing patterns are:

  • Sine-tone on c” sounds every 17 seconds
  • A440 tuning-fork sounds every 44 seconds
  • Slenthem (Javanese metallophone) sounds every minute
  • Violin, a long drawn-out single bow, sounds every four minutes
  • Tuba sounds every four minutes
  • Wild West gun scene sounds every 16 minutes

The addition of live instrumentalists is included when scheduling allows. All players play the same simple repeating pitch row, but each with their own unique schedule and duration, and are uncoordinated with the pre-recorded component, or with one another.


Dan Joseph is a free-lance composer based in New York City. He began his career as a drummer in the vibrant punk scene of his native Washington, DC. During the late 1980s, he was active in the experimental tape music underground, producing ambient-industrial works for independent labels in the U.S. and abroad. He spent the ‘90s in California where he studied at CalArts and Mills College. His principal teachers include Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran and Mel Powell. Equally influential where his studies with Terry Riley during several workshops in California and Colorado.

As an artist who embraces the musical multiplicity of our time, Dan works simultaneously in a variety of media and contexts, including instrumental chamber music, free improvisation, and various forms of electronica and sound art. Since the late 1990s, the hammer dulcimer has been the primary vehicle for his music. As a performer he is active with his own chamber ensemble, The Dan Joseph Ensemble, as well as in various improvisational collaborations and as an occasional soloist. He has collaborated with a variety of creative artists including Miya Masaoka, Pamela Z, Loren Dempster, JD Parran, India Cooke, Andrea Williams, William Winant and Miguel Frasconi and John Ingle.

Dan Joseph’s work has been presented at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC), Diapason Gallery for Sound (NYC), Roulette (NYC), Issue Project Room (NYC) The Kitchen (NYC) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (CA), New Langton Arts (CA), Headlands Center for the Arts (CA) and other venues. He has received commissions from several ensembles and performers, including Gamelan Son of Lion, the sfSoundGroup, baritone Thomas Buckner, flutist and clarinetist Matt Ingalls. His most recent CD Tonalization (for the afterlife) is available from the Mutable Music label and includes three recent chamber works. Also active as a curator and concert organizer, since 2012 he has produced Musical Ecologies, a monthly symposium on sound and music at The Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Harvestworks Exclusive Interview: Dan Joseph

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