A mixed signal is a message of inconsistent or conflicting elements. Mixed signal circuitry combines analog circuits with digital signal processing circuits. Examples of mixed signal integrated circuits include computers, digital music players, compact disc players, sound chips in synthesizers, cellular telephones, digital video processors and practically anything that involves digital technology. Mixed Signals combines the frenetic and powerful electrical energy of digital circuitry with musical twists and turns in sound, color and whiplash effects. An underlying rhythmic current (the signal) runs through the piece with constant trickery and deception.
The piece begins with a "signal" in a rhythmic percussion motive that can be heard throughout the piece. The listener immediately receives a mixed signal because the pulse of the music is constantly in deception. A brief section of slow lyricism causes the listener to hear a new version of the melody. This section is quickly interrupted by the relentless initial rhythmic signal quickly moving towards another treatment of the melodic content. Driving to a dramatic climax, the piece finishes with lightning fast woodwind runs, powerful brass flourishes and energetic percussion.
Mixed Signals was composed and dedicated to Dr. Harlan Parker and the Peabody Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble.