WAVE EDGE (1983)

for four computer-synthesized soundtracks

Wave Edge is a synthesized soundscape in the manner of my earlier "spatial environments," Sonic Landscape No. 3 (1975) and Androgyny (1978). Like its mate, Solar Ellipse (1984-85), it is based on a particular type of spatial trajectory and related image. In Wave Edge the pattern is that of a wave breaking on the shore. The title refers to the crest of the wave which appears to move along the shore (in this piece, from right to left), yet the sound of the water remains fixed in direction. It is with this environmental image that we begin, and with each repetition we are drawn closer into and perhaps under this crest. A new sonic world unfolds and towards the end we "surface" to rediscover the waves, now surrounded by darting sound objects in a large reverberant space. In the distance a foghorn.

Wave Edge is inspired by the I Ching hexagram number 4, Youthful Folly, comprised of the trigrams for water and mountain, which portrays a spring bubbling up at the foot of a mountain.

Wave Edge is available on the Cambridge Street Records and Wergo CD Digital Soundscapes, as well as the Cambridge Street Records album Sequence of Earlier Heaven.

  Mapping a trajectory onto radial positions and increasing distances (pre-graphic screens!)

Trajectories realized with overlapping linear envelopes.

Stereo spectrogram of the opening of the work.

Note: Sound examples of the various elements of the piece are available from the composer (truax@sfu.ca).


B. Truax, "Sequence of Earlier Heaven: The Record as a Medium for the Electroacoustic Composer," Leonardo, 20(1), 1988, 25-28.

Wave Edge is the first work to be realized with the composer's PODX system for sound synthesis and composition in the Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University using the DMX-1000 Digital Signal Processor. The synthesis technique used is that of frequency modulation (FM) of arbitrary waveforms. A spatial trajectory program developed by the composer was used to map specific paths for the various layers in binaural stereo.