Photo: Caroline Meyers


NOTE: Here, as might be expected, Richard gives clear, concise directions for a live performance of "Threshold" using the Kyma system. These files are available to Kyma users by contacting

RICHARD: A live performance of "Threshold" will require a 10- processor Kyma system, electric guitar with volume pedal, a stereo software or hardware digital delay capable of delay times of at least 30 seconds with a line level output, or a preamp to bring the analog guitar signal into Kyma at line level, along with a mixer at the output of the Kyma and stereo playback.

To prepare the Kyma System for performance, open the Threshold.kym file. If you are asked to locate the file called "ThresholdSourceFCPmix.aif", it should be located in the same directory as the Threshold.kym file. Once the Source file is linked, double-click the "StereoMix + maxResponseDur" icon in the "Threshold.kym " window to open the larger window called "StereoMix + maxResponseDur". In this window, select (but do not double-click) the blue icon labeled "StereoMix + maxResponseDur". The Kyma System is now ready for performance.

"Threshold" is a structured improvisation, and so the guitarist is free to choose from the notes and chords in the score in any combination. Before the piece begins, the guitarist must first establish or pre-load a continuous soundscape in the digital delay by playing notes from the score through the volume pedal so that the attacks of the notes are removed; the guitarist slowly fades in each chosen note or chords and allows each to decay to silence before playing the next note or chord. The digital delay should be set to a delay time of at least 30 seconds, up to 60 seconds, and the regeneration or feedback of the delay should be set to approximately 95%.

Once the soundscape has been established, the Kyma Threshold Sound should be initiated by hitting Command-Spacebar on the computer keyboard. This will open a sub-window called "StereoMix + maxResponseDur" containing a button labeled "Capture" and a slider labeled "SourceGain". Once the sub-window is open, Kyma will capture an initial response from the guitar input, convolve it with the Source file, and output a sound, at which point you should hear output from the Kyma System.

During the rest of the performance, the guitarist should continually add new tones to the input soundscape by choosing and playing notes and chords from the score, remembering to remove their attacks with the volume pedal. At roughly 1 minute intervals, the guitarist should also click on the Capture button in the "StereoMix + maxResponseDur" sub-window to capture new responses from the guitar input. The included performance CD will provide a guide for this aspect of the performance. The Source file will also provide new environmental ambiences approximately every 30 seconds, so the guitarist should become familiar with these changes through practicing with the entire system one or more times. The piece will end at the 15 minute point when the Source file playback ends.


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Control click to enlarge.

Recommended: Listen on headphones
or external speakers.

Threshold (2008)