C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

Roy, Timothy: Behind the Back 



Basic information

  • Title: 
    Behind the Back
  • Composer: 
  • Duration (in minutes): 
  • Year of composition: 
  • First performance (year): 


  • Program notes: 

    The musical inspiration for this piece comes from my fascination with the murals of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China. The artwork famously depicts musicians performing while dancing and flying though the air. One image – that of a woman playing pipa behind her back – is so iconic that many Chinese dancers train in order to recreate her graceful pose. Behind the Back alludes to the ceremonial atmosphere of the Mogao murals while imagining the sort of music provided by the acrobatic women depicted within – a music which incorporates passages suggestive of dance and aerial maneuvers. Also present are oblique references to Jimi Hendrix, a consummate virtuoso who was known to play guitar with the instrument slung behind his back. At all times, the virtuosity and lyricism of the pipa is the focal point of the work.

  • Technical specs: 

    1 mixer
    1 stereo speaker system
    1 microphone for instrument amplification
    1 computer with at least 2 GB RAM
    1 audio interface with at least four outputs (five if performer decides to use click track)
    All necessary cabling

    The performance patch and instructions for use may be acquired from the composer. It is not necessary to already own

    • The pipa should be amplified by placing a microphone near the soundboard. Route the microphone directly to the mixer and then to Input 1 of the audio interface via an aux send, which should be connected to a computer running the performance patch.
    • Outputs 1&2 from the interface is live processing of the pipa (reverberation and delay), which should be assigned from the mixing board to the Left and Right loudspeakers, respectively. Outputs 3&4 from the interface are the stereo fixed media, left and right channels. Output 5 is a click track from the performer (optional). If used, the performer will need headphones and a long headphone extension cable from the mixer to the stage.
    • Numbers enclosed in circles below the electronics staves indicate cues that must be triggered at specific moments. Progression through cues is accomplished by pressing SPACEBAR on the laptop. The laptop and interface should be at the mix position.




Total number of musicians: 
Non standard


4-channel electronics



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