for viola and live electronics (2021)

Score and Parts

Impulse has live interactive electronics performed by an electronicist using original software written by, and available from, the composer. A microphone attached to, or placed in front of, the viola is set as the audio input in the program. The output is 2-channel stereo audio; speakers should be placed to the far left and right sides of the performer and the electronics level should be mixed to blend seamlessly with the acoustic sound of the viola. Contact BTM for the electronic files.

by Brandon J. Rolle


SKU: BJR-SI001 Categories: , Tags: ,




9 min


Impulse was premiered by Colleen Sugata and Brandon J. Rolle on September 24, 2021, as a part of the Hear Now Festival in Los Angeles, California.


viola, electronics

Program Notes

We send an audio impulse into a silent room to learn about the space; the sound itself is innocuous, but the returning echoes are saturated with information about the environment—its size, materials, resonances all embedded in subtle transformations of the sound. This has been my experience with anxiety, too: an innocuous thought returns distorted by obsessions, fears, and delusions that can teach us much about our mindset.

Impulse is a cognitive impulse response of sorts, casting a musical idea into silence to see what returns. The result is an obsessive episode in three continuous sections, with subtle distortions of reality gradually assuming the foreground and eventually supplanting reality entirely. Beautiful images and moments of clarity arise as well, but ultimately those thoughts most unsettling and invasive consume our full attention—a suspension of reality that only deepens with resistance.

-Brandon J. Rolle