for solo double bass, untrained voice (single performer),
and live processed video (2008)
Pretty Polly is a multimedia setting of a murder ballad that traces its history back through the American bluegrass repertoire to England/Scotland. Although the song has been sung to many melodies over the decades, the stark brutality and remorselessness of Willie, the song's narrator, has remained the same. In this new version of the old song, I have set Pretty Polly to new music for double bassist/vocalist (solo performer) and live processed video. Live video of the performer's movements as she performs are processed through a Max/Jitter program and layered with effects, and then mixed with pre-edited video footage. The performer's instrument, voice, physical gestures are all combined to create a multi-sensory retelling of this gruesome tale.
Video documentation of excerpts of a
Performance by Maggie Hasspacher (double bass/voice)
July 5, 2008
The Tank, NYC