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Program note

Jovian Images

for soprano saxophone and electronic sound

by Reginald Bain

Jovian Images is available on the Susan Fancher's 2011 Innova Records release In Two Worlds (Innova 736)

Jovian Images (2008), improvisatory frameworks for soprano saxophone and electronic sound was inspired by photographs taken by NASA's planetary exploration program. Known collectively as the Jovian planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are unlike the terrestrial planets Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars which are composed mostly of solid matter. These gas giants lack a well-defined solid surface and have atmospheres primarily composed of swirling bands of gasses and liquids. The saxophone's electronic accompaniment was created by sonifying photos of the Jovian planets. Christopher Penrose's image-to-sound mapping software Hyperupic was used to map photo data onto to banks of oscillators filled with saxophone samples. Distinctive features of the planetary photos — Jupiter's Great Red Spot, Saturn's rings, Neptune's Scooter, and so forth — were carefully mapped onto musical parameters to create richly colored textures whose slowly changing textural and timbral features are musical analogues of the photo's color data. The saxophone improvises, echos, varies and develops musical ideas presented in the printed score and electronic accompaniment. Jovian Images was commissioned by saxophonist Susan Fancher. She gave the world premiere performance at the 2008 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial convention.

Jupiter Saturn


You can hear to the entire work on Spotify, or listen to a brief excerpt of a live performance below:

Susan Fancher, soprano saxophone
Southern Exposure New Music Series, Exposed Wiring IV
Saturday, January 21, 2012
School of Music, Recital Hall
University of South Carolina


Updated: November 9, 2016