Title: Bathymetric Terrains
Year Completed: 2019
Duration: 35 mins
Instrumentation: Solo flute (C & bass) (amplified), solo classical guitar (amplified) and computer (running Max/MSP/Jitter).
Optional Instrumentation: 5 additional c/bass flutes (amplified), 5 additional classical guitars (amplified), 2 or more voices (amplified).
Credits: This work was made possible through a grant from Arts Nova Scotia. Composed for the Charke ~ Cormier Duo. Guitar part edited by Eugene Cormier.
Premiere: Sun. Aug 25, 2019 2pm to 3pm, The 21st Century Guitar, Freiman Hall, University of Ottawa, ON

Bathymetric Terrains is exclusive to the Charke~Cormier Duo until further notice.

Bathymetric Terrains Album

Bathymetric Terrains CD is available through Leaf Music, Halifax.

Bathymetric Terrains muses on the ecology of oceans and tidal bays. Bathymetry is the measurement of water depths. This is a work about underwater terrains. It is a work which contemplates the fragile nature of underwater topographies and ecosystems. I see the Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy from my house in Nova Scotia. The tides are dramatic. When the tide is out the sea bed is exposed. The various layers of topography reveal themselves twice a day. For a while now I’ve wanted to compose something about these hidden landscapes.

Bathymetric Terrains is an electroacoustic composition for live performance, computer processing and soundscapes. The work includes multiple flute, guitar, and voice parts. The solo flute and solo guitar parts are performed live while all of the additional parts, processing, and soundscapes are projected through a PA system. The additional parts can be played by live performers—an additional 5 flutes/bass flutes, 5 additional guitar parts, and a minimum of 2 voices can be performed live with the two solo parts. All parts are to be amplified. For live performances, a video of various seascapes from around Nova Scotia is projected on a screen.

Max/MSP/Jitter is used to control all events during performance. A MIDI foot controller is necessary for one of the performers to advance events during the performance. Movement 1 includes improvisation for the live performers, movements 2, 4, & 7 include click tracks to coordinate with the videos and the multi-tracked materials. Movements 3 and 5 are fluid, and movement 6 is created using FM/AM synthesis techniques directly in the patch. The setup is optimized for quad playback on four speakers, two in front, and two at the rear of the hall.

For the initial performances, Eugene Cormier has recorded the multiple guitar parts and Derek Charke has recorded the multiple flute parts. The work is technically challenging and exciting to perform.


1. Leaving Earth
2. Bathymetric Terrains
3. Morphing Topographies
4. Water Is …
5. Paths of Submergence
6. Elemental Lines
7. Terra (Non) Firma

Bathymetric Terrains


1. Leaving Earth

(no text)


2. Bathymetric Terrains

100 200 300 400 500 600 700

100 fathoms
200 fathoms
300 fathoms
400 fathoms
500 fathoms
600 fathoms
700 fathoms

one two three four five six seven hundred

100 fathoms
200 fathoms
300 fathoms
400 fathoms

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

echo soundings
nautical miles
and sea miles
these make up the underwater terrain
the unfathomable depths


3. Morphing Topographies

the epipelagic zone sits just under the surface of the water
the sun and the moon are hazy spheres from above

the mesopelagic zone sits a little further down
where life abounds and the water is plentiful

the bathypelagic zone is the stuff of legend
myths abound and the creatures are fantastical

the abyssopelagic zone is dark and cold
the pressures are severe and life is few and far between

the hadopelagic zone is crushing … crushing ... crushing!


4. Water Is …

water is one and all
water is us


5. Paths of Submergence

(no text)


6. Elemental Lines

(no text)


7. Terra (Non) Firma

terra non firma
the earth is ocean

deep sea
deep ocean water

these are the ocean zones
hidden beneath the surface

(Text by D. Charke)

max msp
Screen shot of the Max/MSP patch

Basic tech requirements for duo performance:

Computer running Max/MSP/Jitter and suitable audio interface
4 speakers, two at the front of the hall, 2 at the back of the hall. Speaker arrangement: LF RF LR RR
2 headphones (for monitoring and click)
3 DPA or similar microphones for the flute, bass flute, and guitar
Projector or TV monitor for video projection
Midi foot controller

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