Compositions

To hear production specific compositions, see the "Sound Designer" pages.

Urban Sunrise - Tommy Truelsen and Sarah Nekola
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Urban Sunrise

This piece was composed in collaboration with Sarah Nekola. The text contrasts the speaker's desire for an easy and simplistic life with the chaotic world that surrounds them. Our goal was to reflect the desires and experiences of the speaker through music. We achieved this sensation by utilizing various metallic percussion instruments and manipulating the pitch and tempo of the recorded tracks. The final composition is in an ABA form to follow the speaker through their desire, reality, and reflection which ultimately shows that even a seemingly happy life is haunted by the broken, chaotic world around us.

Process:

All parts of this piece were recorded separately. The only track that was recorded to match the spoken word was the vibraphone.  Everything else is a manipulated sound sample of a percussion instrument or a manipulation of the poem. Audacity was used for all of the editing.

Save Himself - Tommy Truelsen and Sarah Nekola
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Save Himself

Save Himself utilizes poetry by Sarah Nekola and Michael Truelsen and was composed in collaboration with Sarah Nekola. This piece contrasts the outlook of two speakers who are recovering from traumatic experiences in their past. Our intention with this piece was to create a relatively raw recording in hopes that we could convey the feelings of raw emotion.

This recording features performances by Sarah Nekola and Tommy Truelsen.

Piano Composition - Tommy Truelsen
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Piano Composition

This is one of my first electronic compositions pieces. The vision for this piece was to start with a traditional piano sound and move away to a more electronic, disjointed sound. I had terrible stage fright as a child and wanted to use the middle section of this piece to convey the feeling of fear during performance. 

Process:

When I began work on this project, the only idea that I had is that I wanted to use the piano. I challenged myself to create this piece out of a 30 minute recording session. I set up a microphone in the practice room and recorded various improv passages and extended techniques. All of the sounds in this piece were created using the piano and came from that 30 minute jam session. I pieced my favorite parts of the session together using Audacity and applied various effects like EQ, reverse, sliding pitch change, tempo change, pitch change, etc. to create an uneasy feeling for the middle section of the piece.

Loser - Beck - Arranged by Tommy Truelsen
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Loser

Tommy worked as a song composer to assist sound designer, Sky Bradley, on TheatreUNI’s production of She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. This piece is an acoustic-style cover of Loser by Beck and was used as reflective underscoring near the end of the show. 

Performed by Tommy Truelsen and Erika Bailey

She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen

TheatreUNI

Director: Matthew Weedman

Scenic Design: Mark A. Parrott

Light Design: Eric Lange

Sound Design: Sky Bradley

Costume Design: Amy Rohrberg

Projection Design: Jacob Meade

Photography: Carla Wehmeyer

Aerophone - Tommy Truelsen and Lydia Richards
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Aerophone

Aerophone features Lydia Richards on the Flute. My goal with this piece was to explore experimental composition techniques and exploit the flute utilizing various extended techniques.

Process:

This piece was composed with a graphic score. I limited myself to recording 12 short audio samples of various pitches, extended techniques, vibrato rates, and other interesting sounds that can be made with a flute.  All of those samples were pieced together to create this composition. The editing for this piece was done in audacity.

It is Well - Tommy Truelsen and Sarah Nekola
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It is Well

This composition is centered around a poem by Melanie Vickers. The text follows a speaker on a journey as they grow deeper in their faith. To remain consistent with the religious theme, I used a well known hymn, "It is Well" by Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss, to accompany the poetry.

Process:

All of the instruments for this piece, except the vibes, were created from original sound samples which were modified with instrument/drum racks in Ableton Live. These samples include metal mixing bowls, a wooden chair, a reading from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and vocalizations (oo’s and hums). Various audio and midi effects were then applied to these tracks to further modify the original sound. The sound samples and spoken word were recorded into Audacity or Adobe Audition and edited in Ableton Live.