bret battey • bat hat media


Distance, Dance, Discern

Bassoon and Computer-Realized Sound (1996)


I composed Distance, Dance, Discern in 1996 in response to the suggestion of the composer and bassoonist Ryan Hare. Work began with a recording session in which Ryan demonstrated the wide range of sounds and timbres that can be performed on the instrument, including key clicks, tongue-pops, reed crows, and multiphonics. Excerpts from this recording provided the basis for many of the sounds heard in the prerecorded, computer-generated portion of the piece, which was realized with the resources of the School of Music Computer Center at the University of Washington.

The psychology of consciousness and desire was a conceptual focus for the creation of the piece. The three words of the title correspond to the three major sections of the piece (and to "I and we and it").

Technical Details

The creation of the computer part involved a wide variety of tools and techniques. This was my first work utilizing Csound and Common Music. I utilized these tools on SGI Indigo2, SGI Indy, Next, and Macintosh platforms. Other tools included IRCAM's SVP phase vocoder on SGI and Macintosh, an Ensoniq EPS+ Sampler, a Yamaha TG77 synthesizer, and Digidesign Sound Designer. Sound files were mixed with Paul Lansky's RT. I wrote the bassoon part in Coda's Finale and used MIDI export into Mark of the Unicorn's Digital Performer for synchronization with the computer part (and visa versa) during the composing process.


In exchange for me providing these materials for free, please contact me if you perform this piece. I would be pleased to add your performance to the list below.

Selected Performances

  • July 2020 – Espace Multimedia, Ensemble PTYX, Saint-Paterne-Racan, France - performed by Romain Tiratay
  • November 2008 — Washington State University - performed by Ryan Hare
  • April 2008 – West Virginia University, Morgantown - performed by Ryan Hare
  • March, 1998 – Budapest, Hungary - recital by György Lakatos.
  • October, 1998 – 1998 International Computer Music Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan - performed by Richard Beane.
  • July, 1997 – Hungarian Radio's Summer Electroacoustic Music Festival in Sarvar - performed by György Lakatos.
  • June, 1997 – Synthése 97 Festival of the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique, Bourges, France (prerecorded).
  • April, 1997 – Meany Theater, Seattle - Annual Electroacoustic Music Festival - performed by Ryan Hare.

The above recording is the first studio recording with Ryan Hare. See the recordings page for other available recordings of this work.


So Spirit can be described—
and must be described—

with all three languages,

I and we and it.

—Ken Wilber
A Brief History of Everything