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The composer has provided the following note:
"Channels Passing was originally composed in 1981 for flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, violin, and cello. When the current version of my Ensemble was formed [in 1993], I decided that I would transcribe this early work for the electro-acoustic resources of this group, allowing me to explore in new ways the basic questions I was investigating when the work was originally conceived. The title is a reference to the psycho-acoustic phenomena known as 'channeling' or 'streaming' (with which much of the work, particularly sections 1 and 3, is concerned) in which the listener breaks up what may be a single melodic entity (or an overlapping of two melodies in a single register) into two or more groups, usually based on register, timbre, and rhythm. My interest in this and much of my understanding of this phenomena owes a great debt to composer/teacher Robert Erickson and his own study/composition Loops.
"The work took its original form in the fall of 1981 and winter of 1982 as a result of a commission from Nancy Karp and Dancers for their work Passing By. The work was conceived to function both in choreographic and purely musical contexts and the nature of Nancy's and my interaction concerned primarily the number of sections, their general lengths and tempos, and to a certain extent the density and activity in each section."