Collection Type



Faculty of Education and Arts

School or Research Centre

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Cat Hope, Edith Cowan University. Email :


Cat Hope

Research Management System ID



Cruel and Usual is a music composition for string quartet electronics. It is inspired by an article by the Al Jazeera news service that discusses the use of solitary confinement in US prisons as incarceration rates explode in the USA. In some cases, prisoners have remained in colitary for over 38 years., or may even be children, and the reasons for going in there are not always clear or legitimate. This kind of confinement is known as ‘no touch torture’.

Drone, glissandi and the trembling bass are features of this work, where the string players are sampled at certain small moments of the piece, and ‘translated’ into much lower ranges instantaneously, which fade out, grow, and distort as indicated on the score.

Additional Information

This work was originally produced in 2011.

FoR Codes


Start of data collection time period


End of data collection time period




File Format(s)

.dsz, .pdf, .ai, mp3, MaxPatch

Viewing Instructions

This work uses a graphic score that can be read as a video or in the Decibel ScorePlayer.

A MaxMSP Patch to perform the electronics for the piece included, or the performers may design their own to realise the score.

Click here to see information on how you can download the Decibel ScorePlayer ipad application.

Access Rights

Users can view the music score file via the Decibel ScorePlayer ipad application.

Users can open the MaxPatch files in Max version 5.

Cruel and Usual.dsz (1551 kB)
Cruel and Usual .dsz file (271 kB)
Cruel and Usual MaxPatch files

Cruel and Usual Audio (893 kB)
Cruel and Usual Audio Patch files

CruelAndUsualCatHope.pdf (814 kB)
Cruel and Usual Instructions

ch_cruelandusual-A3horiz.pdf (417 kB)
Cruel and Usual Instructions A3 ver. (388 kB)
Cruel and Usual Adobe Illustrator file

CruelandUsual_pic.png (41 kB)
Cruel and Usual Adobe Fireworks file

cruel_and_usual_sml.mp3 (3988 kB)
Cruel and Usual MP3 file

Included in

Composition Commons


Article Location