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ExperimentalMusicSince1970

ExperimentalMusicSince1970

JennieGottschalk

BloomsburyAcademic

AnimprintofBloomsburyPublishingPlc

ExperimentalMusicSince1970 JennieGottschalk BloomsburyAcademic AnimprintofBloomsburyPublishingPlc

Acknowledgements

Contents

1DefiningFeaturesofExperimentalMusic

1.1Introduction

Indeterminacy

Change

Non-subjectivity

Research

Experience

Difficultiesofdefinition

Inclusionandstructure

1.2Indeterminacy

Releaseofcontrol(Cage,Wolff,Thut)

Machinebehaviors(Chavez,Marclay,Tone,Collins)

Imitatingnature(Tudor,Dunn)

Prescribed actions, varied consequences (Solomon/Sargent, Sato/Yoshida, Gaburo, Kumpf, McLaughlin) Non-selectiveness(Pisaro,Wolff,Lucier)

Lettingtheoutsidein(Rowe,Parkinson)

1.3Silence

Soundthathastobefound(Suzuki)

Thresholdsofperception(S.Ashley,Schlothauer,Duplant,Tenney,Radigue,Ullmann,Gsünter)

Littletonoinput(Peters,DiScipio,Nakamura,Dunn,Barrett)

Performativetensionsofsilence(Karassikov)

Countlessqualitiesofsilence(Sugimoto,Rogalsky,Beuger,Malfatti,Houben,Susam)

2ScientificApproaches

(Crane,Arnold,Stiebler,K.Lang,Smith)

2.2Harmonicrelations

(Polansky, Johnston, Tenney, Corner, Eastman, Möller, C. Lamb, Hastings, Zimmermann, L. Harrison,Sabat,Hayward,vonSchweinitz)

2.3Playingwithnumbers

(T.Johnson,Skempton,Parsons,Hobbs,Glover,Lely,Vriezen)

2.4Learningbymaking

(Behrman,Mumma,Hopkin,Fullman,LeJunter,Anderson,Suzuki,H.Davies,Collins,Ghazala,

Radittya,Waisvisz)

2.5Findinghiddensounds

(Lerman, Dunn, Grzinich, Cusack, Winderen, M. Namblard, Patterson, Holterbach, Haco, Tsunoda,Kubisch,Prime,Masaoka,Bullitt,Lockwood,Lucier)

3Physicalities

3.1Thephysicalityofperformance

(Luck,Steen-Andersen,Beugger,Cassidy,Minton,E.Johnson,Isaacs,Shim)

3.2Resonantspaces

(Lucier,Wada,Panhuysen,Julius,Carter,Winter)

3.3Objectsasinstruments

(Saunders,Pritchard,Johansson,Battistelli,Leonard,Knowles,Hartman,Neumann,Dunaway,

Arias,Laporte,Nakajima,Berthet,Baghdassarians)

3.4Fromshapetosound

(Nicolai/Ikeda, Cage, Lucier, Behrman/Diamond/Watts)

4Perception

A.

4.1Thepositionofthelistener

Davies, Szlavnics, Walshe,

Goldstein, Burt,

(Oliveros)

Architecturesofsound(Frey)

Immersions(Spiegel,Norment,Neuhaus,Ablinger,Niblock,DeMarinis,Dempster,López)

Distancesofsound(Chowning,Sonami,Battus,Takasugi,Kourliandski,Molitor,Chartier)

Listenersandsoundsinmotion(Tenney,Lucier,Leach,Kuivila,Brewster,Young,Dietz,Schiemer,

Monahan)

Disembodiedsound(Drummond,Ablinger,Pisaro,Gagliardi,Wolman,Oliveros,Mason)

Thelistenerconstructsthemusic(Schmickler,Amacher) Mediatedhearing(Holterbach,Kirkegaard,Kim,Rose,Tsunoda)

4.2Theperceptionoftime

Thewidecanvas

Theshallowsurface

Theveiledgrid

Repetition,automation,andaudibleillusions

Theartofforgetting

Whatisfoundwhentimeislost?(Feldman,B.Harrison,Pisaro,Clementi,Hennix,Flynt,B.

Lang,Tsunoda)

5Information,Language,andInteraction

5.1Treatmentsofsonicinformation

Noise

Verticalization

Pixelation(Ablinger,Saunders,Pisaro,Ciciliani,eRikm,Inge,JLIAT,Bailie)

5.2Thesoundsoflivingbeings

Humansoundproduction(Stäbler,Yoshida,LaBarbara)

Animalsoundsandcommunication(LaBarbara,Z,Mercer)

Dialogues(Holterbach,Dunn,Mercer)

Animalspaces(Farmer,Masaoka,Dauby)

Habitats,ecologies,biophonies(Watson,Krause,Dunn,Winderen)

5.3Language

Letters,spelling,andphonetics(Walshe,Wooley,Jones,A.Typist)

Theorderingofwords(Yudo,Oesterle,Bosetti)

Findingmusic inlanguage (Gaburo, DeMarinis, Reich, Z, Ablinger, Lansky, Amirkhanian, R. Ashley)

Vocalperformanceandsoundpoetry,senseandnonsense(Mann,Adachi,Blonk)

Translation(Blonk,Tone,Barlow,Bosetti,Sfirri,Hughes,Mills)

5.4Interaction

Interaction,improvisation,indeterminacy

Groups,collectives,andlong-terminteractions(ScratchOrchestra,LMC,AMM,AACM,Nuova

Consonanza,MEV,Echtzeitmusik,TheSealedKnot)

Typesofrejection

Powerplaysandotherformsofrelating

Individualandcollectivedecision-making(Wolff,Braxton,Saunders,Pisaro)

Cueing(Kudirka,Saunders,Lash,Sdraulig,Wolff,Epstein)

Gamesandcommunities(Zorn,Mitchell,Nicols)

Inhabitingaspacetogether(improvisers,audience,context)

Technologyasconversationalist,technologyasenvironment(Chadabe,Lewis,Tudor,Behrman,

Teitelbaum)

Theinteractionisthescore(Monk,Radigue,Nickel)

6PlaceandTime

6.1Mappings

Tracinglinesthroughspace(Ogboh,Watson,Dunn,Chase,Parsons,Lockwood)

Borders(Lerman,Cornford,Rose/Taylor)

Acousticecologyandrelatedpractices(Schafer,Neuhaus)

Soundwalks(Westerkamp,Parsons,Gagliardi,Shepard)

Multiplejourneysalongthesameroute,compoundedroutes(Harris,Corringham,Helbich)

Listeningpointsinthecity(Suzuki,Helbich)

Collectivesoundmapping(Watson,Kahn)

6.2Site-specificworks

Sitespecificity(A.Lamb,Kallmyer,Laska) Changingthe perceived character of a place: Industrial and commercial sites (Chen, Kesten, Corner,Wang)

Soundingoutthecharacterofaplace(Riek,English,Ferrari,Namblard,Goldstein)

Asiteovertime(Chattopadhyay,Werder,Neuhaus)

Citypieces(Barber,Koch,Fontana,Neuhaus,Blackburn)

6.3Histories

Historicalobjectsandtechnologies(Kubisch,Kolkowski,DeMarinis,Cuéllar/Mills)

Thehistoryofaplace(Cílková,Kirkegaard,Watson,Kerbaj)

Personalhistories:Resonanceofplace(Onda,Obadike,Guionnet/LaCasa,Kreutzfeldt/Labelle)

Treatmentsofmusicalmaterial(Collins,Whitty,Carlson,Zagny,Miller)

Apiecemakesahistory(Cage,Werder,Kaiser,Ullmann)

Imaginedhistoriesandcultures(Walshe,Dharmoo,Chang/Lamb,Monk,deAlvear)

7Advocates

Appendix

Index

Acknowledgments

I’mdeeplygratefultothepeoplewhohavehelpedtomakethisbookhappen,generouslyanswering

questionsandsharingmaterials,ideas,andencouragement.

AmyClarkstoppedmefromgivinguponwritingthebook,LairdNolanmadesureIfullythrewmyself

intoit,andMaryGottschalk’srock-solidsupportmadeitpossible.Myfather,StephenGottschalk,hasnot

beenheretoseethisprojectfallintoplace,buthispassionforfindingtheconnectionsbetweenand

consequencesofideashashadalastingimpactthatIhopeisevidencedhere.

ElizabethLattawasaninspiringcollaboratoronseveralimages,andIwanttothankChiyokoSzlavnics

forlettingmeuseherwonderfuldrawingonthecover,alongwitheveryonewhoallowedmetouse

imagesinthetext.Hugethanksgotoeachpersonwhoreadthemanuscript.Itwouldn’tbewhatitis

withoutyourperspective,advice,andsharpeyes.

Therichnessofthefieldofexperimentalmusicisevidenceof—andevidencedby—thequalitiesofthe

peoplewhoparticipateinitineverycapacity.Thankyoutoallfuturereadersaswellforyourwillingness

tothinkthroughtheseradicalapproachesinsound.Ifyoutakesometimewiththeworkitself(andnotjust

thesewordsaboutthework),Ihopeyou’llfindanyinitialbewildermenttobejustonestepalongtheway

toaseriesofmeaningfulexperiences.

1

DefiningFeaturesofExperimentalMusic

1.1Introduction

Experimentalmusicischallengingtopindownbecauseitisnotaschooloratrendorevenanaesthetic.It is,instead,aposition—ofopenness,ofinquiry,ofuncertainty,ofdiscovery.Factsorcircumstancesor materials are explored for their potential sonic outcomes through activities including composition, performance,improvisation,installation,recording,andlistening.Theseexplorationsareorientedtoward thatwhichisunknown,whetheritisremote,complex,opaque,orfalselyfamiliar. The term“experimental music” has itselfbeensubjectto false familiarity, inthatthere are many definitionsbutfewcorrelationsbetweenthem.Itmaybehelpfultoestablishafewpointsofreferenceat

theoutset,oneofwhichisakeyexamplefromtherepertoire.JohnCage’s4’33”(1952)isgenerally

knownas“thesilentpiece.”Theperformer—normallythecenterofattention—istacet(producingno intentional sound) throughout. Since the performance usuallytakes place ina concert situation, the attentionoftheaudienceisonsound.Asnovoluntarysoundsarebeingproduced,involuntarysounds becomethefocusofattention.Thispieceissometimesviewedasagimmick,asmoreofanideaofa pieceoraphilosophicalstatementthananactual“musical”work.Whatmakesittrulyinnovativeisthe factthatperformanceistransformedintoactsofbeingandlistening.Notonlydespite,butbecauseofits negationofperformativesound,itbecomesacompellinglisteningexperience. 1

4’33”anticipatesandtracesfiveconceptualarcsthatcrosseachotherpervasivelyinexperimental

music.Thesearcsdonotmarkboundaries—thosearealwaysgoingtobepressedandcrossed—butthey

windthroughvariousregionsofworkasrecurringfeatures:indeterminacy,change,experience,research,

andnon-subjectivity.

Indeterminacy

Theapplicationoftheterm“indeterminacy”hascoveredmoregroundinrecentdecadesthanCage’s“act

theoutcomeofwhichisunknown.”BrianEnowrites:

Anexperimentalcompositionaimstosetinmotionasystemororganismthatwillgenerateunique(that is,notnecessarilyrepeatable)outputs,butthat,atthesametime,seekstolimittherangeoftheseoutputs. Thisisatendencytowardsa“classofgoals”ratherthanaparticulargoal,anditisdistinctfromthe “goallessbehaviour”(indeterminacy)ideathatgainedcurrencyinthe1960s. 2

Some other terms associated with this definition are chance operations, aleatory, circumstance, contingency,risk,openness,anduncertainty.Theoutcomemaybeunknowntoanyagentinthepiece— performer,composer,audience—ifthoserolesareinplace,ortoanyoneinapositiontocomparetheact totheoutcome. InCage’sformulation,theactisknownandtheoutcomeisunknown;buttheactandtheoutcomecould bealmostanything,andthedistancebetweentheknownandtheunknownisaslikelytoexpandasitisto contract.Eitheranexpansionoracontractionisachange,whichalterstheexperienceoftheparticipants. Onewaytointerrogatethisdistanceisthroughresearch,whichmustbeasnon-subjectiveaspossibleto yieldclearresults. Indeterminacyisperhapsthemostovertandcentraltraitofexperimentalmusic,andwillbefurther exploredinitsownsectionwithinthischapter.Ironically,itisuncertaintythatprovidesthemosteffective orientationwhensearchingfortheexperimentalqualitiesofawork.Thekeyconsiderationis:“Whereare thequestions?”

Change

Intheearlydecadesofexperimentalmusic,changeoftenmeantdoingthingsinwaystheyhadnotbeen donebefore,bothintermsofmusicalcreationandperformance.Inthiswayitechoedsomeofthegoals associatedwithavant-gardismandledtoafrequentconflationofthetwoterms.Atonepoint,Cageeven defined experimentalism as “the introduction of novel elements into one’s music.” 3 Aspects of indeterminacy were adopted by such central figures of the musical avant-garde as Boulez and Stockhausen,amongmanyothers. 4

But, althoughexperimentalismoffers useful tools and insights thatspeakto musical traditions and developments,itoperatesprimarilyinrelationtobasicaspectsofhumanexperience.Avant-gardemusic (ifthetermisstillrelevant)isinadynamicrelationshipwithmusicaltradition.AsJoaquimBenitez

writes,“Historicaldirectionalitygivesmeaningtothetermavant-garde

forthenewistheseconddistinguishingfeatureoftheavant-garde.” 5 Manyinnovativethingshavebeen doneinmusicalready,andwillcontinuetobedone.Butdoingsomethingfirstisnotthetypeofchange thatismeantinthecontextofthisstudy. In experimental music, real change occurs in the realm of human thought and experience. The experimentalistisnottryingtochangethemusicalworld,buttochangethethinkingofoneormore listenersduring—andpossiblyafter—theperformance.AsGregStuartexplains,it“attemptstoradically rethink the relationship between composition, performance and listening.” 6 There are limitless possibilitiesforhowthatrethinkingcanoccur,oneofwhichisashiftinthelistener’sperception. 7 ChristianWolffhasunderlinedthedifficultyofanapproachthatfavorsnoveltyandtakesnothingfor granted,andoffersamorecurrentlyapplicabledefinition:

Experimentalinmusicseemstome,itshouldbesomethingthatthroughthemusic,throughthewayit’s

Theevercontinuingsearch

suggeststhe

Themusicbecomesakindofmetaphor,ifyouwill,forasocialsituation,that

itsuggestsawayoforganizingyourthinking,yourattitudetowardstheworld,whichsuggeststhatthe

Sothatwouldseemtomenowwhatexperimentalisabout,providinga

performed,possiblythoughthewayit’spresented

possibilityofchange

sociallyandinconcertsituations

worldcouldbedifferent

kindofmodel,anincentiveforthenotionofchange. 8

ForWolff,anexperimentalworkcanexpandthelistener’sperceptionofpossibilities.Itcanfunctionas ananalogytosuggestthatotherthings,too—ourlivesastheyarelivedandthepoliticsthatshapethem— couldbedifferent.Butifmusiccan,asMichaelPisarosuggests,“changethought,” 9 thentheanalogytakes onthefulldimensionsofreality.Thoughtaffectsexperience,andthoughtisexperience.Ifasoundwork hasatransformativeimpactontheperceptionorcognitionofoneperson,ithastrulyaffectedchange.

Non-subjectivity

TheDutchvisualandsoundartistPaulPanhuysenwrites:

Ineverexpressmyindividualityperse,northatenvironmentassuch,it’stherelationshipsbetween thesetwoandtheproportionsthatarepivotal. 10

Oneofthepointsthatinitiallyseemsmostcontradictoryisthatinorderforalistenertohavearich, subjective,differentiatedexperience,acomposerofexperimentalmusicoftenfeelsanecessitytoremove herownsubjectivity—tastes,associations,discernment,emotions—asmuchaspossiblefromtheprocess ofmakingthework.DavidDunnwritesofexperimentalmusicasaparadigmthat“bifurcatedawayfrom

thepredominantlyEuropean19th-centurybeliefthatmusicmustexpress‘self’and‘emotion,’”andinstead

employs “active creative strategies that emphasize the materiality of sound, listening, environment, perception,andsocio-politicalengagement.” 11 RobertAshley,whorejectedthetermexperimentalmusic despitehisassociationwithitsbroadermeaning,spokeofthismusicas“sound-as-more-important-(for themoment)-than-what-the-composer-does-with-the-sound.” 12 Thelistener’sfocusisdirectedtowardthe behaviorofsounditselfunderthegivencircumstances,ratherthanthedecisionsorexpressivityofthe composer.

Research

Acomposerofexperimentalworkwilloftendesignaprocessoraninteractionthroughwhichaparticular questioncanbe,ifnotanswered,atleastmoredirectlyconsidered.Thereisnoneedforthisprocesstobe thrownawayeachtimeanewpieceorseriesisbegun.LarryAustinwrites,“Istillhavetheattitudeof experiment.InthepieceI’mdoing,Iamexcitedtobediscoveringnewpossibilities,evenwithtechniques I’ve used extensively.” 13 James Tenney took a related approach. In the useful “Five Maps of the ExperimentalWorld”essay,BobGilmoresummarizedthispointofview:

Tenneybelievedthat“experimental”inmusicshouldmeanmoreorlesswhatitdoesinthesciences. Thecomposerwouldwriteapieceofmusic,trycertainthingsout,andjudgeiftheyworked,didn’t work,oronlypartlyworked.Theninthenextpiece,thatexperimentcouldbefollowedup:likea scientist,onecouldgofurther downthesameline.“Iguessall ofmymusiccanreallybecalled

experimental,”hetoldaninterviewer,“butinasensedifferentfromhowJohnCageusestheword,anda

bitdifferentfromhowit’sbeenusedtodescribetheexperimentaltradition

experiment,likeascientificexperiment.Andinscience,inscientificwork,oneexperimentalwaysdoes

leadtoanotherone

It’smoreliterallyan

There is no suchthingas

Mysense of ‘experimental’ is just ongoing

research” 14

Experience

I’llsetuptheusageofthistermwithafewmomentsoutofmyownexperience.Thesoundworksthatfirst drewmetoexperimentalmusicaremoregroundedinactuallivedexperiencethaninmusicaltradition. Thecomposer(andbynaturalextensiontheperformerandlistener)isdrawingfromthewellofwhatthey knowandliveoutsideofmusic.Thethingsthathappeninthecracks,inthetransitionswebarelynoticeas wegoaboutourbusiness,areelevatedtoapositionofattention. Ihadverylittleexposuretoexperimentalmusicthroughmyundergraduateyearsasacomposer.WhenI arrivedatgraduateschool,likemanyyoungcomposers,Iwasfacingsomefundamentalquestionsabout thekindofmusicIwantedtowrite.AttheintermissionofaconcertthatfallIwroteanotetomyself, sayingthatthepiecewasbeautifulandwellcrafted,butitwasaboutaworldthatdidn’texist.Something becamecleartomeatthatpointintime:Iwantedtowritenonfictionalmusic.Butwhatdidthatmean? Itwasn’tuntilIengagedwithtwoparticularpiecesseveralyearslaterthatIstartedtoglimpsean

answer.ThefirstofthesewasAlvinLucier’sInMemoriamJonHiggins(1985).Notknowingwhatthe

instrumentationwas(infactitwasasingleclarinetandasinetone),Iheardanunbelievablycomplex interactionloopingaroundtheclassroom.ThesecondpiecewasaliveperformanceofMichaelPisaro’s

rapportabstrait(2003–04).Theneighborhood,apersistentlybarkingdog,andthetrafficgoingbywere

everybitasmuchofapresenceasthesoft,occasionalnotesandchordsplayedbythetwoguitarists.An ideagraduallybutpowerfullytookholdofmethathereIhadfinallyfoundmynonfictionalmusic.Thisis musicthatisaboutthetimeandplaceinwhichitoccurs.Itistransparenttoit,responsivetoit,andframes itinawaythatmakesthefamiliarseemveryspecial. Whenexperimentalmusiciseffectivelymadeandpresented,itspeakstoourinteractionwiththeworld. Itgoesfromthecenter—whatwealreadyknow—tothemargin—whatwedon’tknow—andbackagain, sothatnewrealitiesarepresentalongwith,orsometimeseveninplaceof,ourpreviousperceptionsof ourownlives.Thisworkdoesnotsuggest“other”worlds,butinsteadstrengthensrelationswiththis world. Forme,theexperientialnatureofthismusicgivesstructuralintegritytoalloftheotherarcs.Amusic thatisopentoexperienceiscontingent,orindeterminate.Ongoingresearchiscarriedoutwithintherealm ofrealitiesexternaltothesubjectivityofthecomposer.Ifthemakeroftheworkresistsexpressingher ownsubjectivity,thepiecehasgreaterpotentialtoresonatewiththeuniqueexperienceofeachlistener. Bytouchingonthelifeofthelistenerasitextendsbeyondthescopeoftheconcerthallorlivingroom, suchaworkbringsaboutlastingchange.Thisapproachtosoundhasthepotentialtospeak,bothdirectly andbyanalogy,tolifeasitislived.

Herearesomeexamplesofhowthetestcaseof4’33”tracesthesearcs:

Indeterminacy:Thepieceisovertlyindeterminate,inthatonlyunintentionalsoundsareheard.Cagehas

notdeterminedwhatactualsoundswilloccur.

Change:Theinversionoftheperformanceexperience,placingattentionontheentirebodyoftheconcert

hallratherthansimplyonthestageortheperformer,istransformative.

Experience:Thefocusisontological,onbeinginthatcollectivespaceandwhattranspiresintheplace

andtimeoftheperformance,andinthemindsofthosewhoattend.

Non-Subjectivity:Cagedoesnotinstructtheperformerortheaudienceonhowtoapproachthisevent.In

theabsenceofsuchdirection,one’sownthoughtsandperceptionsbecomeprimary.

Research:Nooneknowswhatwillhappen.Thereisasimplequestion:Whatsoundswilloccur?That

questionisanswereduniquelyineachperformance.

Variousequationscouldbeproposedoutofthesecomponentarcstoemulatemyimageofexperimental

music’snatureandpotential:

research+indeterminacy+change=experience

research+indeterminacy+experience=change

experience+change=indeterminacy

research+non-subjectivity=indeterminacy

non-subjectivity+change=research

Noneoftheseformulationsseemsmoreorlesstruethantheothers,buttakentogether,theybegintoreveal

afieldinawaythatisneitherreductivenorunspecific.Ibelievetherehavebeennegativeconsequences

tothevaguenessofthisfieldthatareworthbrieflyoutlining.

Difficultiesofdefinition

Theambiguityofthewords“experimental”and“music”tendtocomplicateattemptstodefinethebroader term.“Experimental”impliesaspecifictypeofscientificprocedure,andwhilethisisrelevantinsome aspectsofthiswork,itdoesn’tfullyfit.RobertAshleywrote,“Compositionisanythingbutexperimental. Itistheepitomeofexpertise.Itmaybealeatoricorpurposefullyunpredictableinitsspecificsounds,or purposefullyexploratoryofthesounds.Butexperimentalisthewrongword.” 15 HarryPartchapplaudeda statementby“somefamouspainter”whoattemptedtodistancehimselffromthetermbysaying,“You neverseemyexperiments.” 16 Hundredsofbandsaretaggedasexperimental,implyingthattheyareedgy,alternative,orpushing boundaries. While these attributes are often shared with the work under consideration, they don’t constituteameaningfuldefinition.Asaresultthistermseemstoapplytoasprawlinggalaxyofunrelated activities.Thereisnoruleagainstthedirectequationofalternative,electronic,orjustplainweirdmusic withthetermexperimental,butthereisagenuineriskthatbyhavingsomanydifferentapplications,the termwillloseanymeaningatall. Inasimilarlymisleadingway,“music”usuallyreferencesarichsetofhistoricaltraditionsthatonly partiallyrelatetothissubject. Asaunifiedphrase,thetermstandsforaconstellationofpracticesthatdealinsoundandfactand contingency. But because such concerns are insufficiently articulated to “outsider” audiences, experimentalmusicissometimesviewedasatinyfieldlimitedtospecialists. People’srelationshiptoexperimentalmusicseemstofallintooneofseveralcategories:

•Totallackofinformation.Thismustbe,byfar,thelargestcategory.

•Dismissiveness.Experimentalworkisvaluedordevaluedaccordingtoitsnovelty.

•Ageneralculturalawarenessofmovements,suchasNewYorkSchool,Fluxus,Wandelweiser.

•Someinterest.Thisusuallycomesfrommusiciansorotherlistenerswhofindcertainideastobeuseful

andsomeoftheworktobeinviting.Therearemanymusicianswhoaregladtolearnaboutitand

perhapsincorporatesomeaspectsofitintotheirpractices.

•Engagement.Thosewhohavefoundahomeinthisareaofworkandhaveexploredittoasignificant

degree.

Evenforthislastgroup,itisdifficulttopieceinformationtogetherinameaningfulway,letaloneexplain

ittothosewithafriendlyinterest.Thereisrichdocumentationofworkbymanycomposersandsound

artists,buttheytendtobeassociatedmorethroughnetworksofpeople(whoknowswho)thanthroughthe

concernsexploredintheirwork.Oftentheformerleadstothelatter,butnotalways,andbecauseofthe

informalwaythatinformationtravelsinthisfield,theassociationsbasedonnetworkshavebeenfarmore

prevalent.Myownviewofexperimentalmusichasgrownthroughwhatseemslikeaseriesofchance

encounters,casualmentions,andagradualconnectingofthedots.Forovertenyears,Ihavebeentryingto

figureoutwhatitis,ifitis,andwhoisengagedinit.Itstillfeelslikeanundergroundactivity,andoften

peoplewithdirectlyrelatedconcernshaveneverheardofeachother.

Inclusionandstructure

ThisbookisasequelofsortstoMichaelNyman’sExperimentalMusic:CageandBeyond,inthatit

coversthesamesubjectmatterandatimeperiodthatoverlapswithitsoriginal1974publication.

Generally,theworkthatIhavewrittenaboutisexperimentalbothinqualityandbyassociation.Ifthe workitselfdoesnotplayoutsomekeycharacteristicofexperimentalism,thereisnocontextforittobe coveredhere.Similarly,ifthereisnotameaningfulintersectionwithsomeofthepeopleandideas associatedwiththeexperimentaltradition,thereisariskoflosingfocus—applyingthetermwhereitmay notbewelcome,andcoveringworkthatIlacktheknowledgebasetowriteabouteffectively. 17 Thisworkisnotpresentedchronologically.Ihavealsogenerallyavoidedgroupingsaccordingtotools, notation,technology,ormusicaltechniques,sinceIhavefoundthesecategoriestoberedherringswhenit comestoidentifyingexperimentalqualities.Thefundamentalissueisnotwhattoolsareused,buthow

theyaredirected.Thecategoriesofsoundart,improvisation,andcompositionarealsonotdifferentiated

inastructuralwayinthistext.SethCluetthaspointedoutthatthe“indexingofworksintocategories”

withinsoundarthas“ghettoizedpractitioners,”andhewarnsagainsta“counter-productivemedium-

specificmyopia.” 18 Theseconcernsapplyequallywellacrossthefieldofexperimentalmusic. Thisbookisalsonota“who’swho”ofexperimentalmusicoranattempttoestablishacanon.A person’spresenceorabsencehasnearlyasmuchtodowithmyabilitytotalkabouttheirworkwithinthe structurethathasdevelopedasitdoeswiththeirstandinginthefield.Manyothermusiciansdeservea placehere,andIhopethistextwillbeunderstoodasaseriesofstartingpointsratherthanasanythinglike afinalstatement.It’simpossibletofullydelineateafieldthatisstillactiveandthriving. Thechaptersandsectionsaregroupedaccordingtothesequestions:Whatisthecruxoftheexperiment? Whatisthesubjectmatterthatisopen,contingent,subjecttochangeorchance?Wherearethequestions

inthework?Thevariousanswerstotheselinesofinquiryhavebeenorganizedintofiveverybroad themes.Science,physicality,perception,communication,andcircumstanceareunavoidableaspectsof experience.Thesectionsandsubsectionsofeachchapterarefarmorespecific,butstillrevealabroad arrayofapproaches to answeringthe same or similar questions. These groupings are notmeantas categorizations.Someindividualpiecescouldbediscussedinfourormoresections,andsomesections naturallyconnectacrosschapters. 19 Thisbookisorganizedinawaythatpresentssubstantiveconnectionsbetweenworks.Iwouldnever claimthatitfullyrepresentsthefield,orthatareaderofitwoulddevelopathoroughknowledgeofit.But Idoknowthatthevastness,richness,andpotentialofexperimentalmusicareexponentiallygreaterthanI understoodthemtobebeforeIstartedthisproject.Therearewithoutadoubtmanywaysofextendingthis mapandaddingmoredetailtoit. Anotherofmyhopesforthebookisthatitwillserveasacreativeprompt,awayofthinkingaboutmany differentwaysofdealingwithsound.Icameintothefieldofexperimentalmusicasacomposer,andcame awayfromgraduateschoolwithafeelingofurgencytodiscoverwhatexperimentalmusicisnow.Idid notfindeasyanswers—andIdon’tthinkthisbookprovidesthem,thoughitdrawsalotoflinesbetween previouslyunconnectedworks.Thinkingaboutexperimentalmusicthroughtheseconnectionshasbeena sourceofmanyfreshideas,andIhopeitwillserveasimilarpurposeforothers. ThatleadstoanotherpointthatIfeelIshouldmake.Iamnotacriticaltheorist,amusicologist,ora performer.Mytrainingisincomposition,andthisbookiswrittenfromamaker’sperspective.Themost frequentlyquotedpeoplearecomposerswritingabouttheirownwork,orsometimesaboutotherpeople’s work.Asurveyfromaperformative,historical,ortheoreticalstandpointcouldbeausefulcontribution. Finally,I’lloffertwopossibleviewsofwhatthisterm,experimentalmusic,representsbelow.Thefirst isanarrowfieldofactivitythatisonlyavailabletospecialists. Asatinysubsetofmusicalactivity,thisfieldcouldrepresentaclosingoff,atypeofculturalenclave. ButthatisnothowIhaveseenitinoperation.Thesecondviewisanopeningbetweenmusicandthe broaderfieldofsound.

broaderfieldofsound. Figure1.1

Figure1.1Areductiveview©JennieGottschalk,illustration:ElizabethLatta

Figure1.2 Experimentalmusicasanopeningbetweenthecategoriesofmusicandsound©JennieGottschalk,illustration:ElizabethLatta

Figure1.2Experimentalmusicasanopeningbetweenthecategoriesofmusicandsound©JennieGottschalk,illustration:ElizabethLatta

1.2Indeterminacy

1.2Indeterminacy

Indeterminacyisnotawordthatistypicallythrownaroundinothercontexts.Someofthemorerelevant dictionarydefinitionsinclude“notpreciselyfixed,”“notsettled,”“notfixedbeforehand:notknownin advance,”“notleadingtoadefiniteendorresult.”Inhorticulture,indeterminategrowthis“notlimitedby developmentofa terminal flower bud or other reproductive structure and so continues to elongate indefinitely.” 20 Oddlyenough,thehorticulturaldefinitionmayprovidethemostusefulanalogy.Aplantis affectedbysoil,water,temperature,andlight,andcanliveordie,witherorprosperaccordingtothese specificconditions.Apieceofmusicissubjecttothetechniqueoftheperformer(s),theirworkwiththe piece,thepropertiesoftheinstrument,theperformancespace,theattentivenessoftheaudience,andmore. Allofthesefactorsinfluencetheoutcome,regardlessofthestyleofthemusic. Allthatisstilltrueofindeterminateworks,butwhatsetsthemapartistheopennessoftheendresult.To continuethehorticulturalanalogy,agivendeterminatevarietyofatomatoplantcanbeplantedinapot andwillgrowtoacertaindimensionifitthrives.Theremaybemoreorfewertomatoesdependingonthe growingconditions,buttheapproximateheight,width,andyieldcanbegagedoverafewgrowthcycles. Anindeterminatevarietyneedsthespaceoftheoutdoors,abigplotofsoil,andlotsofstakingforits continualspreading.Itwilllandonanypost,fence,orplantinsight,anditsgrowthhabitwillbeshaped bywhateveritrubsagainstuntilitiskilledoffbythefrost. Indiscussingindeterminatemusic,JohnCagesays,“Arecordingofsuchaworkhasnomorevaluethan apostcard;itprovidesaknowledgeofsomethingthathappened,whereastheactionwasanon-knowledge ofsomethingthathadnotyethappened.” 21 Justasagardenercan’treallyknowwhatthattomatoplantwill doinoutdoorconditions,anindeterminatepiecehasfactorsthatcannotbeknownbeforeaperformance. Cagelistsexamplesoftheuseofindeterminacyinpastandthen-currentrepertoire,includingBach,

Stockhausen,Brown,andWolff,inhisessay,“Indeterminacy.” 22 TheSwisscomposerManfredWerderwritesaboutindeterminacyas“intrinsicunavailability

of

world.”Atthetimeofthecreationofascore,theconditionoftheworld—ortheconditionoftheexact

segmentoftheworldattheexacttimeatwhichthescorewillbeactualized—isnotyetpresent.Werder

continues:

ButIndeterminacyhas become anartistic strategy, and the resultantpractice ofproducingmusical situations(encountersreferringrathertosound)reflectstheseeffortsofthepotentialityofthescore, thoughinaratherchaoticandunpredictableway.

Whatisthisartisticstrategy?Itcouldbesimplysaidthatsomecomposersprefertoknowlittleaboutthe

possibleoutcomesoftheirwork(relativetothosewhodevelopamorecompletedescriptioninthe

score).Theymayalsobeinterestedinembeddingtheirworkwiththepotentialofmultipleoutcomes.

Werdercloseshisstatementonindeterminacywithapoemofsortsthatcapturessomethingessentialabout

thistypeofexploration.

Scoresassuchoccurringasincident. Unavailability. Regardingtheirpossiblerealisations,perplexity. Traceelementsofaworld. 23

Releaseofcontrol

Cageusesindeterminatetimespansinthelatitudegiventomusiciansintheflexibletimebracketsofthe

NumberPiecesseries.InanumberofexamplesfromTwo(1987),theflutistcanbeginatanypointwithin

aspanofforty-fiveseconds,andendthenotewithinadifferentforty-five-secondspanthatoverlapswith thefirst.Itisthereforepossibleeithertoplaynothingortoplayforwelloveraminute. 24 Thestructureis paralleltothatinthedozensofotherpiecesintheseries,rangingfromsoloworkstoorchestralversions.

MusicFor(1984–87)alsousesflexibletimebrackets,andthequiet,sustainedtonesinthepiecescanbe

repeatedanynumberoftimes. 25 ChristianWolffhasdevelopedanapproachtoindeterminacythathedescribesasprimarilytakingtwo forms:

(1)allowingperformersspaceandfreedomintheuseofnotatedmaterialand,atthesametime,(2)

interdependenceamongperformers,requiringthemtoplayinsomespecificwayspecificallybecause someoneelsehas,unpredictably,playedinsomespecificway. 26

ThesecondofthesewaysisdiscussedspecificallyinChapter5,andiscloselylinkedtothefirst.Wolff’s

workhasmuchtodowithsharingagencywiththepeopleenactingthework.Astheyoperateinanon-

hierarchical,responsiveway,thisspreadingofagencybecomesinteraction.Alossofcomposercontrol becomescollectivedecision-making. ThecellistandcomposerStefanThut’sscorestendtogivesuchagencytotheperformerswithoutsetting

upaframeworkfordeliberateinteraction.Inmany,1-4(2009),eachplayerreadsfromthesamepageand

Theperformers’decisionsareallmadeseparatelybutemergeinsoundasacollectiveresult,an“outcome ofmultiplereadings.” 28 Thut’sscoresdealwiththeinterplayoffreedomandstructureinwaysthatseem sosimpleastobarelycontainanycontent,andyettheyarecarefullytunedtotheperformativesituation. Theperformancesofferglimpsesnotonlyoftheactualchoicesthatweremadebutalsoofnumerousother choicesthatcouldhavebeenmade.

Machinebehaviors

AsCageandWolffhavecededaspectsofcontroltoperformers,othershavesearchedforaspectsof machinebehaviorthatwillyieldunexpectedresults.MariaChavez—aturntablist,DJ,andsoundartist fromPeru—writesthatsheseesherselfas“aninstigatorofchance”inherturntablepractice,makinga “collapsiblestructure”insoundandrebuildingitafteritscollapse.Theturntablesyieldunstablesounds, and their components—especiallythe needle—offer fragilityand sensitivitythat are integral to her practice. 29 Assheexplains,shereliesonthesefragilitiesandaccidents:

Objectsdeteriorateandasaresult,newsoundopportunitiesexist.Andtherestwritesitself Byexperiencingchance situations duringperformance, this created the basis ofdevelopingmy vocabularywiththe turntable. The more that “went wrong” the more I learned about new sound possibilities,i.e.whenaneedlebrokeacertainwayitbeganmakinginterestingsoundsondifferent records.Themoretheybroke,themoresoundsbegantoemergethatwouldn’thavewithoutaccidents anddamage.AndnowsinceIunderstandwhereallofthosesoundscamefromandhow,Icanmakethem onmyownwheneverIsensethatitistherightmomentforthatspecificsound.Accidents,chance, coincidences,tome,aretherootofnewbeginningsinanything,inthiscaseitwaswiththeturntable. 30

After integratingthese techniques into her practice, she created a bookillustratingthemcalled Of Technique:ChanceProceduresonTurntable. 31 TheHovercraftTechniqueinvolvesskimmingthevinyl withtheneedle.Inoneapplication,theneedlerespondstorandompointsoftherecord.Inanother,the soundsoftherecordarebarelycaught. 32 TheDraggingDaggerinvolvesscrapingtheneedleacrossthe recordfromoutsidetoinsideandback,goingagainstthegrain(or thegrooves) oftherecord.The deliberatesoundsimprintedonthevinylaresubvertedintoadifferentorder,andthefrictionisnotgently responsive but abrasive. 33 Chavez’s techniques play with and against the material on the records. Sometimessheallowstheoriginalsoundsoftherecordtosound,butsheiseverybitaslikelytodisruptit beyondrecognition.Itisasoundingbody,articulatedaspercussion. 34 Chavezexploitsthegeographiesoftherecordtopurposesunintendedbythemanufacturer.Christian Marclayalsousesrecordstowardindeterminateresults,butperhapsinpartbecauseofhisbackgroundas a visual artist, much of his work occurs as physical manipulation of the records in advance of performance.Heaffixestapeinvariousshapes,scratchesandbuffstherecords,and,inRecycledRecords

(1980–86),slicesthemintopieslicesorothergeometricpatterns,makinganewrecordoutofpiecesof

separateLPs. 35 Thereisacrackapparentinthesoundasittransitionsfrompartofonerecordtothenext. InCrackedMedia:TheSoundofMalfunction,CalebKellydefinesthecrackas“apointofruptureora placeofchanceoccurrence,whereuniqueeventstakeplacethatareripeforexploitationtowardnew creativepossibilities.” 36 YasunaoTone,anoriginalmemberoftheFluxusgroup,begandamagingCDsin

1984tothepointthattheCDplayeremittedsoundsoferrorsinplayback,where“theleveloftheerroris

so greatthatthe error-correctionsoftware builtinto the digital systemis notable to cope.” 37 He describeshisearliestexperiments:

IcalledmyaudiophilefriendwhoownedaSwiss-madeCDplayerandaskedaboutit.Itwasasimpler methodthanIsuspected.IboughtacopyofDebussy’sPreludesandbroughtittomyfriend’splace.By hisengineerfriend’ssuggestion,wesimplymademanypinholesonbitsofScotchtapeandstickitonthe bottomofaCD.Ihadmanytrialsanderrors.IwaspleasedwiththeresultbecausetheCDplayer behavedfranticallyandoutofcontrol.Thatwasaperfectdeviceforperformance. 38

TonefoundthattheCDwouldyielddifferentresultseverytime.TheCDplayeranditssoundemission becomesthesiteofindeterminacy,facedwithsuchadamagedpieceofmedia.Thestutteringsandhaltings oftheplayerareunpredictablefromoneplayingtothenext. 39 WhereChavez,Marclay,andTonehaveworkedonthemediadevicesthemselves,NicolasCollinsgoes deeper into the mechanism, into the control chip ofthe CDplayer, and removes the mute pin. His descriptionoftheresultsmakesthisnormallyreliablemachineseemlikealivelycharacterinacomedy.

Withthispinremoved,theCDplayernevershutsup,andonecanhearthesoundasthelaser“scratches”

(amagnificent,cartoonishrippingnoise)or“pauses”(fastloopingrhythms,possessedofapeculiar

stutterandswing).

Inworkingwithanengineerhewaspleasedtofindevenworse“aberrationsofdigitalmisbehavior.” 40

Imitatingnature

Theindeterminaciesofnatureareinexhaustibleintheirpotentialforinspiration,study,andemulation. DavidTudorandDavidDunnhavebothusedtechnologytoreplicatethecomplexityofnature,settingup situations that quickly spiral out of control. The differentiation fromthe machine experiments just discussedmightatfirstseemsubtle,butitisfundamental.Intheearlierexamples,themachineitselforits associatedmediaisthesiteofinvestigation.ForTudorandDunn,technologiesarebuiltassimulationsof chaoticsystems.Thesetechnologiesinturndeveloptheirownuncontrollablesystems. OneofDavidTudor’skeyinterestswastransferringagencyfromhimselfascreatortothesounding materials.HeclarifiesthispointofviewinaquoteaboutAlvinLucier’swork:

MyexperiencewithAlvinisthatheapproachesthingsmorelikearomantic,sothathe’sanappreciator ofthesephenomena,andheappreciatestheirspecificbeauty.Then,whenhegoestocomposethework, hewantstodisplaythosecharacteristics,whichseembeautifultohim.Whereas,inmycase,Iwantto showitassomethinginnature.Youknow,Idon’twanttodisplayit,Iwantittodisplayitself,yousee. 41

Whenhewasaskedwhyhewantedtoworkinnature,heresponded,“It’sapartofmybeing.It’sa questionIcan’tanswerbecauseIcan’tgetawayfromit.” 42

Untitled (1972) uses “sixtycomponents withtheir associated possibilities,” and requires multiple phasesofrealization.Therecordingrevealsasortofhyperdimensionalcounterpointandinterplayof behaviorsandhasanastonishingvarietyofforcesandenergies.Tudorcontinuestousethelanguageof

naturetodescribeit,sayingitwas“oneofthehighpointsinmyelectronicmusiccareer

Evenforme

itwasunimaginablywild.” 43 MattRogalskydifferentiatesTudor’sconceptionofchancefromCage’s.“Thecomposerisnotstanding backtoappreciatethemountain;heisthemountain,oratleastisonthemountain,readytoexploreallits aspects.” 44 Whatis the mountain? Abstractly, itis nature. Specifically, inTudor’s practice, itis a multiplicityofcircuits,wirings,andcomponentssovastthatTudor“couldonlyhopetoinfluence”its behavior. 45 AninterestinecologyandenvironmentpervadesDavidDunn’sactivitiesasacomposer,bothdirectly

andmetaphorically.HedefineshisroleinPleroma1(1999)as

analogoustotheexplorationofaphysicalterrain.WhileIcaninfluencethecomplexsonicbehaviors,I cannotcontrolthembeyondacertainlevelofmereperturbation,theamountofwhichisconstantly changing.Theexperienceisoftentantamounttosurfingtheedgeofatideofsoundthathasitsown intrinsicmomentum. 46

ThislanguageechoesRogalsky’simageofTudor’smountainandTudor’sowncharacterizationofhis precariousrelationshiptotheoutputofthemachineryhesetsinmotion.NeitherDunnnorTudorhas willedtheircircuitsorsystemstodoanyparticularthing.TheyhavecreatedFrankensteinsthatwillwork according to their own agency. The systems contain incomprehensible possibilities of operation, especiallyinthecombinationsthathavebeensetupforthem.

Pleroma1setsup“cross-coupledchaoticstates”alongthenonlinearfeedbackpathofthreeoscillators.

“Thesesoundsexciteme,”writesDunn,“becausetheyaresophysicallyreminiscentoftheglobalsound behaviorsthatemergefromnaturalhabitatssuchasswamps,forestsandoceans.” 47 Natureisnotcaptured here,asitcouldbethroughafieldrecording,butmodeled.Thebehaviorsareexploredthroughthe

modelingsofthesecircuitsandtrajectories.DunnalsodescribesWildflowers(1994)asbeinginspiredby

“non-simulatedsourcesof‘chaos.’” 48 Dunnreferstoseveralofhispiecesassonificationsofthe“globalbehaviorofhyper-chaoticanalog circuits modeled inthe digital domain.” 49 The Theater of Pattern Formation (2002–05) is a live electronicperformancethatextendshisstudiesofthesoundpatternsformedinnature. 50 Thispiecewas madeincollaborationwithJamesP.Crutchfield,aphysicistwhodealswiththemesofchaosandpattern formation. 51 Together,theyhaveworkedtounderstandandmodelthesepatternsandtoconveythemas sonicbehaviors. TheattractorsinLorenz(2005)arecounterbalanced,andbehaveautonomously. 52 ThreeDynamical

Systems(1999)isalsosetuptobehavewithoutintervention.“Allothereventswereemergentproperties

ofthesystem.” 53 Theseemergentproperties—thepatternsandbehaviorsthatarisefromagivensetup— areofcentralinteresttoDunn.WhereTudorsetsupsystemsremarkablefortheircomplexity,Dunn generatesinteractionsbased,invariousdegreesofrigidity,onscientificprinciplesofchaos.Bothhave demonstratedtheirinterestinsettingsomethinginmotionandlettingitloose,ratherthanincontrollingit. Feedbackloops,whereoutputbecomesinputbecomesoutput,etc.,arepervasivenaturalphenomena, andarecommoninbothTudor’sandDunn’sexplorations.Theyhavealsobecomeincreasinglypopular amongyoungercomposers.Entiretrajectoriesaredeterminedbythespecificbehaviorsofsoundsinthe moment. The Chinese improviser YanJunuses feedbackinimprovisation, subtlyalteringthe sound

throughbodymovement, and also incorporatingthe sounds ofthe audience. His Noise Hypnotizing (MicroFeedback)projectistransmittedtolistenersthroughheadphones,againincorporatingthesounds oftheaudience,thespace,andhisownbreath. 54 ScottCazan’sNetworkInjection(2011)beginswitha networkof“machines.”

Each“machine”iscomposedofasoftwareorhardwareunitwithpre-programmedlogictodetermine itsautomaticreactionwhengivenanysortofstimulus/input. 55

Themachineslistentoboththemselvesandtheothers,and“thesourceofanyoneinteractioncannotbe

determined.”AdamBasanta’sARoomListeningtoItself(2015)isasoundinstallationthatincludes

softwarecontrollingafeedbacknetworkinvolvingmicrophones,speakers,andgalleryvisitors.Similarto Cazan’spiece,“Thesystemreachesanequilibriuminwhichnotionsofcauseandeffectarerendered meaningless.” 56 Despitethecommonreferencepointoffeedbackloops,thesoundsproducedbythese artistscouldhardlybemoredifferent.

Prescribedactions,variedconsequences

ChristianWolffpointsoutthatwhilethesoundsthemselvesneednotbenewinanexperimentalwork,it “will create a setting within which its surprises take place.” 57 Surprises can be associated with spontaneity,fallibility,contingency,orvariability. Intheworkunderconsiderationinthissection,afewelementsarefixed:Thereisascore,oratleasta setofclearinstructions.Theperformersarefaithfultothatscore,anddonotdeviatefromit.Theiractions arecompletelyprescribed.Theelementofsurpriseandthesubstantialdifferencesfromoneperformance toanotherarenotresultsoftheperformers’choices,butoftheirtiming,tuning,playingtechnique,the instrument,andtheacousticqualitiesoftheperformancespace.Thesepiecesrequirefaithfulexecution, buttheresultisespeciallydependentononeormoreofthesefactors. MattSargentandBillSolomon’sariverismanysinglethingsgoingtoalmostthesameplaceat

almostthesametime(2010)isacollaborationbetweenacomposerandapercussionist,respectively,

andisinspiredbyBrunoHermannRepp’sresearchonrhythmicperceptionandsynchronization.The percussionistperformsasolothirtytimes,andaclicktrackisplayingforfewerandfewermeasuresofit eachtime. The clicktrackwas presentfor the firstfour measures ineveryperformance, and these measuresarepristine.Afterthat,thepulseverygraduallydisintegratesinto“blurredheterophony.” 58

InMinoruSato(m/s/)andAmiYoshida’sCOMPOSITIONforvoiceperformer(1997and2007),the

singer (Yoshida) replicates an improvisational configuration several times, aiming for consistency. “However,thiscannotbeentirelypossibleasthevoicechangesinaccordancewithphysicalandmental conditionsandstructuralvaguenessinthemusicandsoon.Themoreabstractthemusic,thelargerthe differencewillbe.” 59 Thethreadsofthemultipleperformancespullapartquickly,revealingsomething thatissimilarbutnotthesame,andbecomeslessandlesssimilar. 60

KennethGaburo’sTheFlowof(u)(1974)isbasedonasingleu(“oo”)syllablesustainedovertwenty-

threeminutesbythreesingers.Thoughtheinstructionseems straightforward, itcreates a number of questionsinpractice,oneofwhichishowtoimperceptiblystaggertheirbreathing.Thebeatingbetween notesandtheharmonicsvaryaccordingtosubtleshiftsineachsinger’sdeliveryandhowthosetonesmix.

AsWarrenBurtremembers,

The singers worked withGaburo refiningthe performance, discoveringnew areas ofmicroscopic

concern,untiltheyfeltthatthey’dexploredasmuchastheycould,resultinginthismost“electronic”-

soundingpiece,whichisinfactsimplyarecordingofthreepeoplesinging! 61

Asstraightforwardasthispieceseems,thevariablesofhumanperformancecreatedarichlyvariegated surface. KennKumpfisinterestedin“aspectsofsound(andinteractionsofsound)thatoccurinothermusicbut normally dwell on the listener’s focal periphery.” 62 In Transformations (2007), a piece for four trombones,fourviolins,andfoursopranos,hefindssuchinteractionsinthreedifferentways.Thefour musiciansofeachtypearespreadtothefourcornersoftheroomtointerferewithcueingorlisteningas much as possible. Each trombonist slowly plays a glissando up a tritone over the course of five unmeasuredminutes.Boththeslowmotionandtheextendeddurationaredifficulttojudge.Ineachcorner, thetrombonistcuestheviolinist.Theviolinists’transformationsarenotlinearbutproportional,aseach slowlydrawsthebowtothemiddleofthestringtofilterdifferentharmonics.Withthechallengeofthe techniqueandthedissimilarresponsesoftheinstruments,thereisnolikelihoodofatrueunisonbetween them.EveniftheirGfundamentalsareperfectlytuned,theircuetimesaredifferent,andtheharmonics willbesomewhatdifferent. EachsopranoiscuedbytheviolinistinhercornertosustainanAoverthreeminutes“withaslittle dynamicvariationorvibratoaspossible,”takingbreathsonlyasneeded.Wearingearplugs,shecannot hearthesingersintheothercorners.Intherecordedperformance,eachbreathhasadestabilizingeffect. The challenges of implementing the straightforward instruction over three minutes under the given conditionscreateawholesetofcontingenciesthatformarichlycomplexsound. 63

TheIrishcomposerScottMcLaughlin’sAMetastableHarmony(2012)hasfactorsofinstabilitythatare

basedonbothperformerandinstrumentbehavior.WritingfortheBozziniQuartetandworkshoppingthe piecewiththemclosely,McLaughlinwasdealingwithmusicianswhohaveagreatdealofcontrolover theirinstruments,andwaschallengedtofindawaytoworkwiththemthatbroughtouttheunstablesounds thataremostcompellingtohim.Hefoundthatby“subtlyvaryingthebowpressureandposition,it seemedthatthestringspectrumwouldsometimescollapseintoasinglepartial.”Basedontheinstabilities ofthesepartialsinrelationtobowpressure,hewasabletoabandonanotationsystemdescriptiveof pitchinfavorofwhathecallsaneffortstaff. Onthelowerendoftheeffortstaffisthemostimmediatepartial,andontheupperendarethemore distantorresistantpartials.(McLaughlinclarifiesthatitisnotalinearscaleofeffort,buteffortsinone particulardirectionoranotherinrelationtotheharmonics,as“lowerpartialscanoftenrequiregreat subtletyofbowingtoreveal.”)Thepitchesarenotdefinedonthisstaff,butitisasuggestionofdirection. Theaccumulationofalloftheseinstabilitiesacrosstheinstrumentscompoundsthevariationinresults fromoneperformancetoanother. 64

Figure1.3 ScottMcLaughlin:AMetastableHarmonyscore,p.3©ScottMcLaughlin Non-selectiveness Parameters or processes that are

Figure1.3ScottMcLaughlin:AMetastableHarmonyscore,p.3©ScottMcLaughlin

Non-selectiveness

Parameters or processes that are determined will inevitably offset the indeterminate aspects of a composedwork.Butifacomposerhascommittedtoindeterminacyinanyparticularaspect,withinthose coordinatesitshouldbeimmunetosubsequentadjustmentordecisions.Non-selectivenessisatraitthat canbelocatedattheintersectionofindeterminacyandnon-subjectivity. MichaelPisaroisanAmericancomposerwhoisamemberoftheinternationalcollectiveofcomposers knownasWandelweiser.Hehasanactiveandwide-ranginginterestinthevariousformsexperimental

musiccanassume.Hisharmonyseries(2004–06)hasthatnamepreciselybecausetheharmoniesare

open.Thetypicalpitchinstructioninthethirty-four-piecesetissomevariantof“anypitch,anytuningof

thatpitch.”Durationsoftonesarelongandaredeterminednotbycountingbeatsorseconds,butbythe

taskoffittingacertainnumberoftonesintoaduration.Theindeterminacyoftheharmonyisestablishedin

nearlyeverypieceastwoormoreplayerseachchoosetheirownpitches.“Therainofalphabets”calls

forfourteenplayers,andanincreasingnumberplayineachsection,producinguniqueyetstillundefined

tones.Thecharacteroftheharmonyisnotprescribed,butthedensityisclear.Theonlypiecewhichhas

onlyoneplayeris“Only.”Thescorereads:

Outdoors,orinalarge,resonantspace.

Foralongtime.

Sittingquietly.

Listening.

Onceinawhile,playingalong,veryquiettone.

Thenatureofthespaceandthelisteningattitudeensuresthattherewillbeothertonespresenttoforma harmony.Inanoutdoorspacesoundisnotisolated,andaresonantspacewillpickuptheothertonesthat arepresent,aswellasthe“long,quiettone.”Thispiece,whichwasrealizedbytwenty-onemusiciansin

a2009projectcuratedbyJasonBrogan,extendstheworkfromaperformativeacttoonethatcanbe

solitaryandcontemplative.Alongwithhisownrealization,Pisarocontributedthisnotetotheproject:

Eachoftheotherpiecesintheseriestriestounderstandharmonyasthesumofpotentialrelationships between (human) performers. Consequently in these works, the actual harmonic relations are not

prescribed,justthe structure for these relationships.“Only” attempts toreframe this questionina

alongtime,occasionally

responding(bymakingalongtone).Inperformingthepiece,Iencounterthefollowingquestions:“What,

inthesumofthingsoccurringnow,doIhear,andhowdothesethingsharmonizethemselves?HowcanI

expressmyrelationtothisharmonyasatone?Whateffectdoesthishaveonmycontinuedlistening?

differentcontext.Hereoneisasked

tolistentoanenvironmentfor

Therealizationstakeplaceinbothindoorandoutdoorenvironments.Thedocumentationincludesvideos, recordings,photos,locations,drawings,temperaturereadings,descriptions,stories,andreflections.The decisionsandresultsofexecutionvarywidely,andtheyareallfaithfultothescore. 66 Therehearsalprocessteststhisvalueoffaithfulnesstoascore.PisarosaysthisofChristianWolff:

Overtheyearsofwatchinghiminteractwithpeople,I’vereallycome[to]appreciatehowChristian usuallystepsbackfromofferinghisideaofhowsomethingshouldbedoneorhowitshouldsound.It’s notthathedoesn’thavepreferences,buteventhoseareoverruledbyhiscommitmenttothescoreitself asaprocessofdiscovery—forthepersonandforthecollective.Ithinkheknowsthatassoonashe startsdiscussinghowhethinkssomethingshouldbedone,peoplewilldefer,soonerorlater,tohis judgement.Butthatrunstheriskofnegatingthewholereasonhewrotethisscoreandsomanyothers.I havetremendousadmirationforhisdiscipline. 67

AlvinLucierhasstrongerwordsonthissubject,makingitclearthatthedisciplineofacomposerwith

theseinterestsisnotlimitedtorestraintintherehearsalsituationbutextendstothetreatmentofascore.

Oncethescoreisfixedyoudon’talterit.Cagewouldneverthrowoutsomethinghedidn’tlikeonthe basis oftaste. Other composers have worked this way. They’ve used chance procedures to make materialthattheywouldotherwisenotmake;thentheychoosewhattheylikeandmakethepiecetheway theywouldmakeitanyway.That’sahalf-bakedwayofworking,don’tyouthink?Cagedoesn’tuse chanceprocedurestogetinterestingmaterialthathemayormaynotchoosetolikeordislike;hesimply acceptsitall.Oncehesetsuphischanceprocedures,hefollowsthemtothenthdegree. Indeterminacygetspersonalpreferenceoutofthecompositionalprocess.Isn’tthatashockingidea? 68

Theeasyinteractionsbetweencomposersandperformersinthisfieldcanchallengethisdiscipline.When

therearefewersocialbarriers,itiseasytomakeinformalchangestoascore.Thishappensoftenwith

anynewwork,butthecuriositytoseewhatthemusicianshavemadewithinapiece’soriginalparameters

isequallymotivating.Composerswhoworkinthiswayoftenenjoytheunexpectedoutcomesoftheir

pieces.

Lettingtheoutsidein

Indeterminacyinmusicisbynomeanslimitedtotherealizationofascore.It’sanessentialcomponentof

manyimprovisationpractices,informingnotonlyplayingmethodsandhowinteractionsoccurbetween

musicians,butalsotheactofwelcomingintrusionsintotheperformancesituation.Fortheimproviser

KeithRowe,theradioprovidesthesecreativeinterruptionstoinstrumentalimprovisations.Hislist,“Why

Iusetheradio,”includesthefollowingpoints:

Unpredictablecontent

Fixedtoatimeandaplace

Allowsvulgarmaterialstobeincorporatedintotheperformance

Difficulttodeterminewhetheritelevates,degeneratesorcelebratesthesourcesofthematerials

Additionalmultiplicity

Creativityatthepointofjuxtaposition

Integrationofanothermedia

Reproducescertainaspectsofdailylife Hasitsownuniquetexture Aquestionofrealityandaquestionofart:theartisticfact Replacestheexteriorcontributionofthecomposerinsomeaspects. Environmentandnoise 69

workingasone

entity,organicaswellasagglomerated

oftheradio,guitar,andvariousobjectsisdrasticallyanddeliberatelylimited.Wolffcontinuesthatthe radio“flickersbetweensoundassoundandsoundasrepresentationofmeaning,withageneraleffect,at oncedisturbingandenergizing,ofchunksofcurrent(England,1989) historycaughtupinamusical process.” 70 ForRowe,lettingthisother,real-timemediaincreatesadynamicsituation,ameansof engagementthatensuresthattherewillbesignificantunknownsintheperformance. Likethatinfiltrationoftheradiointotheconcertenvironment,theBritishcomposerTimParkinson’s musicmirrorsthejuxtapositionsofeverydaylife.Peopleandobjects,soundsandimagesarethrown togetherwithouthavinganyexistingrelationshiptooneanother.Musicalobjects,foundobjects,snippets ofspeech,beeps—whateverisaround—aregivenaplaceandpresentedaspartofthework.Thereisa qualityofplayfulnesstoParkinson’spresentations,andnothingisembellished.Hewrites:

anintricaterelayoffeedbacks.”Rowe’ssimultaneouscontrol

ChristianWolffdescribesRowe’suseoftheradioaspartof“aninventedinstrument

Ilikeclearanddirectthoughtsorimages,presentedindividually,oneafteranother,eachoneaself-

containedcentre.Ilikethemusictomoveandchangebyitself,liketheweather.Ilikethepoetryofthe

limitlesseveryday,andthequalityof“anything,”containedwithinaframeoftime. 71

Parkinson’smusicmakesnoattempttojustifyitself,andisopentoallsortsofunrefinedelements.In writingaboutsomeofhismusicalinterests,hesays,“Lifeisexplorationanddiscovery.I’malivenow andtheworldishuge.” 72 Thisstatementappliesequallywelltohiscompositionalprocess.

Somedaysmorethanothersitexcitesmeverymuchhowtheworldisacollageorcomposite.WhenI

seeveryclearlytheseparatenessofeachandeverything.JustglancingatthingsinmyroomnowIcan

Whatactuallyhave

seeapiano,fiverocksfromabeach,acarpet,abox,ateaspoon,acalculator theyallgottodowitheachother? 73

ForParkinson,juxtapositionisperhapsthemostcompellingandpervasivetypeofrealism.Everythingis

throwntogethertotranspireasitwill.Hisdoublequartet(2004–05)setsaquartetforstringsalongsidea

quartetfortrombones,tobeplayedsimultaneously.Thereareelevenmovementsineachpiece,butthe breaksbetweenthemdonotcoincide,sotherearefrequentmomentswhereoneortheotherquartetwill playalone.Whenthetwopartsdosoundasiftheybelongtogether,thereissatisfactioninknowingthat this cohesionis found or imagined, rather thanconstructed. The trombones are instructed insome movements,“Atalltimesmakeaconsciousattemptnottocoordinatewithanyotherplayer.” 74 Itfeels verytruetolife,where“theseparatenessofeachthingisforgottenbecauseone’sbrainordersitallinto degreesofimportance,intocategories,seekspatterns,reasonsandsoforth.” 75 ThecollageistheformthatringstruesttoParkinson’smusicalvalues.Innopiecetodateisthisform

realizedsofullyasinhisopera,TimeWithPeople(2013).Thestageisfilledwithobjectsofallkinds:

Awidevarietyofmaterials,e.g.wood,metal,plastic.Varietyofsizes,e.g.frompencilstodustbins. Varietyoftextures,e.g.solid,hollow,plasticbags,polystyrene,etc(e.g.anyfoodorproductpackaging, plasticbottles,cardboardboxes,plastic/paperbags,newspapers,toys(balls,oldplasticdolls,light things,etc),twigs,leaves,branches,kitchenware,plastichouseholdor other domesticitems,glass bottles,shoes,andsimilar.) 76

“Opus1”(thefirstsectionoftheopera)isarudeinterviewformat.Twopeopleareonstage,eachwitha

shuffleddeckofquestioncards.Eachpersonrespondsautobiographicallyuntilabeepinterruptshisor

heranswerandRossiniplaysinitsplace.Atthesoundofanotherbeep,therespondentstartstoanswera

newquestionuntilanotherinterruptingbeep,andthenstayssilentuntilathirdbeepsignalsthemtoanswer

athirdquestion.Theygooninthiswayasthe“chorus”startsinon“Opus2.”Parkinsonhascreateda

multidimensionalcounterpointthatisbasicallynonmusical.Eachoftheintervieweesattheopeningis speakingwithoutreferencetotheother,muchlikeasceneParkinsonhasrecalledinrelationtohis musicalpractice:“Irememberbeingcaptivatedbywatchingtwopeopleinback-to-backadjoiningphone boxesstandingnexttoeachotherhavingseparateconversations.” 77 Thesesnippetsofdialoguearealso juxtaposedintimewiththesilencesandtheRossiniclips.Thatwholeassemblageislumpedintoanew

ensemblewiththeroughlypercussivesoundsofpeoplewalkingslowlybackandforthacrosstheobject-

filled stage at individuallycalculated paces throughmasses of objects. Walking, speech, clapping, humming,andmusicalrecordingsallbecomepartsofthesoundassemblage.

“Opus4”consistsofthreelayers,thefirstofwhichinvolves“MultipleIndividualActivitiestobe

performedsimultaneously.”Theseactivitiesgenerallyinvolveeitherfutileacts(“Trytosuspendapiece

)”)

or makingmore of a mess thanis alreadyonstage: (“Emptybagof leaves/rice/beans/pasta onthe floor/overotherobjects/peopleslowly/quickly.”)Theseindividualactionsareinterruptedbyalarmsthat signalgroupactions.

In“Opus5,”thematerialsofthecollagearecompletelydifferent,withoneperformerplayingadrumset

(“Medium tempo groove. (c.80bpm) Background. Nothing too interesting”) and others listening to separatetracksonheadphonesandsayingorsingingbacksomeofwhattheyhear.Someofthechorus breaksoffandbeginstodanceintimewiththedrums.IntheHuddersfieldpremiereperformance,the

EdgesEnsembledevelopedadancethathasan80sflair,completewithaerobicmovesandjazzhands.

Thedrummerisstillplayinghisset,otherchorusmembersaresingingatthebackofthestage,andtwo guitaristsarepickingouttunes.Thelackofcoordinationbetweenmostoftheseactivities,thesimplicity ofthe musical material, and the eerie forward stares ofthe dancers, combined withthe masses of crumpledobjectsonthestage,suggestapostapocalypticwasteland.Bysettingsuchcommonplaceactivity intheforegroundandbaskinginitscacophony,Parkinsonseemstohaveachievedoneofhisgoalsasa composer:

ofnewspaperintheairwithanelectricfan.(Itwillcontinuallyfall,butbelievethatitispossible

IsupposeultimatelyI’mthinkingofasituationwhich,ratherthanbeing“apieceofmusic”or“workof art,”ismorelikesomekindofnaturalexperience,whichformeismypreferredexperienceaboveall, whichisfullofthisactuality,butwhichmostlyiselusivebecauseoneisoftentoopreoccupiedand distractedwithone’sthoughtsallthetime. 78

ThescoreofTimeWithPeoplesuggestsnormalactivities,bringsthemtotheforeground,andcollapses themontopofeachother,untilnormalcybecomessubsumedinstrangeness.Bylettingeverythingin—all themessandchaosandindividualagencyofreallife—thedoorisopenedintheotherdirectiontoo,anda startlingnewimageofordinarylifeexperiencecomesintoview. 79

7 9 1.3Silence AsinfluentialasJohnCagehasbeen, 4’33”

1.3Silence

AsinfluentialasJohnCagehasbeen,4’33”andhisfamousvisittotheanechoicchamberonlyprovide

thebaresthintsofthevastrangeofapproachestosilencethathaveunfoldedinrecentdecades.

Soundthathastobefound

ThereisananecdoteI’vebeentoldaboutaprofessorwhowasteachingaclassonauthoritystructures.

Thestudentsshowedupforthefinalexamandweregivenbluebooksbytheteachingassistant.Therewas

noexamquestion.Theteachingassistantdidnotofferanyassistanceorinformation.Someofthestudents

gotupandlefttheexam,thinkingtherehadbeenamistake.Othersstayedtowriteaboutthecircumstances

inwhichtheyfoundthemselves.Thosewhoengagedwiththeimplicitquestionofthesituationweregiven

anA,andthosewhodidn’t,failedtheexam.Thesituationparallelsthetwodifferenttypesofreactions

thatalistenermighthavetoapurportedpieceofmusicthatislackingindeliberatesoundmarkers.This

workdoesnotnecessarilyencouragelistenerengagement,butitdependsonit.Itcannot—doesnot—exist

withoutit.

workdoesnotnecessarilyencouragelistenerengagement,butitdependsonit.Itcannot—doesnot—exist withoutit.

Figure1.4AkioSuzuki:Pyramid:HumanityExcavatesSound©TheMattressFactory

TheJapanesesoundartistAkioSuzukiisdescribedasa“questeraftersoundandspace.” 80 Hehasmade aseriesofinstallationscalledPyramid.Nothinginanyoftheseinstallationsisdesignedtomakesound

withouttheinterventionofthelistener.Pyramid:HumanityExcavatesSound(2001)wasinstalledinthe

MattressFactoryinPittsburgh.Thematerialsusedwere676sheetsofglassinepaper,geometrically

stackedinapyramidform.Atthecenterwasanear-shapedstone. 81 Whatmakessoundhere?

AsrelayedbyDavidToop,Suzuki’sexplanationofthe2005installationatthePlayingJohnCage

exhibitinBristolappliesequallywelltotheMattressFactoryversion.

Suzukiexplained:ifsomebodyfeltthedesiretowalkoverPyramid,theyshouldbeallowedtodoso. Somepeople,hesaid,wouldtakeofftheirshoesandstepcarefully,andthesepeoplewouldhearthe faint,sighing,frictionsoundofpaperonpaper.Others,particularlysmallchildren,wouldbemore uninhibited,orlesssensitive,andsothepiecewouldbedestroyedduringthecourseoftheexhibition,in thewaythatpyramidsgraduallyerodeandemptyovercenturies,eitherfromweathering,plunderby robbers, or excavationbyscholars. To discover the meaningofPyramid, its sound and process, requiredthecourageorinsensitivitytowalkthrough,togobeyondwaysofseeinginordertobeapart oftheprocessofmakingandunmaking,tohearsoundwithintheapparentsilenceofthepiece. 82

Tohearthissoundpieceistohelptobringaboutitsdestruction.Thetypeofmotionandthecareofthe listeneraredirectlyreflectedinthesoundsproduced.Atthecenterofthepyramid,theearsitsasasimple suggestiontolisten. 83

Thresholdsofperception

Athresholdisprimarilydefinedas“thesillofadoorway,”andsecondarilyas“theentrancetoahouseor building.”Furtherabstracted,itis“anyplaceorpointofenteringorbeginning.”Finally,itisassociated withthelimen,atermfrompsychologyandphysiologyfor“thepointatwhichastimulusisofsufficient intensitytobegintoproduceaneffect.” 84 Anumber ofexperimental worksoperateatthethreshold betweenaudibilityandinaudibility,whichhasasmuchtodowithperceptionandcognitionasitdoes withvolume. In Listening for Bats (2002), Sam Ashley works with what he calls an “experimental trance- mysticism” 85 by creating “an extremely soft synthetic sonic environment.” Ashley writes, “In my experienceanextremelysoftrealsoundandanimaginaryversionofthatsoundcanoccasionallybeso identical thatitis notpossible to tell themapart.” Listeners canimagine thattheyare hearingthe installationwheninfactnothingisplaying.“Itisamusicalexperiment,”hewrites,“intheexperienceof trance.” 86 Thisworkinvitesthelistenertoquestiontherelationshipbetweenhearingandlistening.Ifwelisten hardenough,canwehearthingsthatarenotthere?Ifasoundisheardwithouthavingbeenproduced,was theintendedsilenceanactualsilence?Thesequestionsdancearoundtheedgeofaudibility,playingon eithersideofitandteasingapartthesensoryactivityofhearingandthecognitiveactivityoflistening.

BurkhardSchlothauerwritesofhisworkforpiano,abtasten(1995)thataprecisemomentofdecay

cannotbedetermined:“Inoticed,thatatsomepointitisnotlongerpossibletoassesswhetherthestrings

arestillvibratingaudibly,orwhetheritisonlytheimageofthesoundwhichisstillinthemind.” 87 Therearecountlesswaysofplayingwithaudibility,andcountlessreactionsbroughtaboutbythese

methods.TheharpistandimproviserRhodriDaviesrecallsa1998tourwiththePhilDurrantQuartet

whentheymadetheconscious,collectivechoicetoplaymostquietlyinthenoisiestvenues.“Infactwe

foundthatplayingquieterhasthepotentialtodrawthelistenerin.”Daviescontinues:

Insteadofthemusicianprojectingthesoundtowardstheaudience,theaudiencewouldmovetowardsthe player.Thepossibilityforawiderrangeofquieterdynamicsopenedup,fromsilencetothebarely perceptibleandonwards.WetookthisastepfurtherattheFundbureauinHamburg,wherethetrains passingoverthevenueweresoloudthatwedecidedtoplayonlywhenweheardatrainapproachand stopplayingwhenthetraindisappeared. 88

Itisnotalwaysaliteralquestionofwhetheraperformedsoundcanbeheard.IntheFrenchcomposerand

improviserBrunoDuplant’safield,nexttonothing(2014),thereisaclearlyaudiblefloorofsound,but

thesubtletyliesintheminimalvariationswithineachpart.Tonesareminutelyinflectedontheinstruments overavasttwenty-fiveminutes,invitingthelistenertoregisterslightchanges.“Myidea,”hewrites,“was totrytoexpresswhatcouldexist,orwhatcanbefound‘nexttonothing.’” 89 Duplantisnotdealingwith silence,perse,butwithinstabilitiesandchangesatthethresholdofaudibility. AlvinLucier,whoispreoccupiedwithsuchsmallshiftsinhisowncompositionalwork,describeshis

experienceofJamesTenney’sKOANforStringQuartet(1984):“Icouldhearthesmallthingsthatwere

happeninginthemusic.Onceyouacceptedthefactthatitwasn’tgoingtochange,andtherewasnostory, noclimax,youbegantoheartheacousticalphenomena.” 90 TenneybasedthispieceonanotherKoan,

writtenin1971forsoloviolin“toexploretheperceptualeffectsofanabsolutelylinearandpredictable

formalprocess.”Theentirepieceprogressesupwardthroughsmallintervals.Thestringquartetversion givesthisprogressionacontext,revealingtheharmonicconsequencesofthesesmallshifts. 91 Peoplewhodiscussaliminal qualityinmusicoftenrefer toarefocusingofattention.Manysuch examples are to be found inthe comments onthis subjectcompiled byCatherine Lamb and Bryan Eubanks. 92 Inbothherelectroacousticandinstrumentalwork,ÉlianeRadigueusessustainedtonesover significantdurationstohelpbringouttheseshifts.HerthoughtisconsonantwithLucier’swhenshesays:

Iwouldsaythatthecommonearwouldsay“butit’snothing,”thesesustainedtones,butit’snottrueat

all,throughthesesustainedtones,somanythingsaresorich,thevocabularyissorich.

Shegivesanexampleofhowthesesoundsneedtobeapproachedandregistered,andhowtheymight

otherwisebeobscured.

Ifsomethingjustpump!intoyourear,ittakestimeafter,justtolisten.Thebestexampleiswhen(les

cloches)bells,are,say,inthemountains—aftertheystop,youcanhearalltheshimmeringaspectsofall

thepartials,overtones,harmonics,andallthat hearallofthat. 93

butaslongasyouhavethebong!intheear,youcan’t

Inbothherelectronicworksofpreviousdecadesandtherecentacousticprojects,Radiguegivesthe listenerthenecessarydurations—temporalspace—toengagewiththesesubtlydevelopingsounds. 94 JakobUllmann’smusicisknownforitsextremequietude.Hehasarticulatedwhatthetwosidesofthe

thresholdareinhiscompositionalconcerns,“betweenlisteningtowhatwewanttohearandwhatwe musthear,”andfurtherexplainsthatinordertospendtimeatthisthreshold,“wehavetofirstpushwhat wemustheartotheoutsideofourperception.” 95 OnlisteningtoAcatalogueofsounds(1995–),one hearsshadings,gradations,instabilities.Eventandformtakeplaceatthemostmicroscopicoflevels. Shapesareperpetuallybeingdrawninsound.Nomomentisstatic,andyeteverythinghappenswellunder adecibellevelthatisconsideredcommerciallyacceptable.Thelinernotescontaintheinstruction:“To achievetheoriginalsoundqualityofthisliverecordingitissuggestedtolistentothisCDatthelowest possiblevolume.”Anotherrecordingasksthatthevolumebeadjusted“soastojustbarelymaskthe ambient sounds inthe room.” 96 This is music of gradations, of “small irritations” and of tinybut significantformations—themostbeautifulanthillsyouhaveeverheard.“Thatthemusicofthe‘catalogue’ is nearlyalways played verysoftly,” Albert Breier writes, “leads to the ear noticingthe smallest differentiations.” 97 Inwritingaboutacompositionseminarwiththethemeofquietmusic,Ullmann’sfellowjurymember ChristianWolffwrote:

Tobewiththismusicistofindakindofrefugefromtheviolenceofthetimes.Butthentherealstrength ofquietmusicwouldbetomakethatrefugeawaystation(therearenorefuges):tobegintoundoand unmaskthatviolence. 98

BernhardGünterhasmadeextremelyquietelectronicmusicthatoperatesasjustsuchawaystation.He

outlineshisprojectasbeingoneofcreatingaspaceofresistancetowardaggressivesound.

Itrytooffersomethingtothelistener,insteadofimposingitonthem,somethingtheycan,ornot,accept —generallyspeaking,youdonothavetolistentomymusicevenifyou’reexposedtoit,it’seasyto ignore.Forme,however,andformanyotherpeopleIhavetalkedto,thisinvitationtolisteningis somethingthatmakesmeleanforward,sharpenmyattentionandtrytoreallyenterthesounduniverse proposedtome.ItmakesmefeelcalmandattentivewithoutbeingstrainedandIfindpleasureinthe perceptionofsound,inlisteningitself. 99

“Whiteout,”oneofthefour tracks onunpeudeneigesalie (1993),causes anattentive listener to perpetuallyquestionwhethersoundispresentorabsent,whenitentered,whenitexits:thelocationof thosethresholds.Itisoftenunclearwhetherthesoundsheardtakeplaceinone’sownenvironmentoron therecording.Thisisanotherthreshold,betweenthelistener’senvironmentandtherecording.Some soundsaremorenaturalorambientsoundingthanothers.Ofthehums,pops,clicks,andrumbles,one texturejustbarelycutsinonanother.Smallsoundsseemtoresonatetremendously.Theyareminimalin termsofvolumebutoncetheygrabattention,theyholditinawayfarmorereminiscentofnatural processesthanofmusicalforms.Thelackofanydivisionsbypulseorbeatincreasesthissenseof naturalnessandalignswithGünter’slargerpurpose:

standingtherewithoutwantingtotellyousomething,ithas

developedoutofitsownlawstoacomplexstructureinfluencedbycomplexcausality.Itexists.Yet,

whenonelooksatitandgetsinvolvedinitsmanifoldforms,thesoundthatitmakeswiththewind,etc.,

onemayexperiencealotoffeelings,thoughts,etc.,finallygettingtoanintuitiveperceptionofits

Ithinkmusicshouldbelikeatree

existence

100

Inmyownlistening,surprisingparallelsemergebetweenthesoundsinmyenvironmentandtherecording:

thecracklingonthetrackwiththewarmingofaniron,thedistantrumblingwiththepassingtraffic.The

smallestsoundsnearbycancausealistenertolosethethread.Thisismusicthatteachesyoutoquestion

whatispresent,aswellastheexactlengthofanabsenceofrecordedsound.Günterwrites:

Thefactofthematteristhatthereareactuallylongpassagesofsilence,whichItrytomakeactiveparts

veryoftentheyareintendedtofunctionasakind

ofprojectionsurfaceforthelistener’srecollectionsofwhathehasheardsofar,andhisextrapolations

astowhathewillhearasthepiecegoeson,oraquiettimeforhimtocalmandfocushisconcentration. Ibelievethatsilenceisanintegralpartofmusic,justasshadowisnecessarytoperceivethequalityof light. 101

JoePanznerpoeticallydescribestheworkonthisreleaseas“anintuitive,organicwebofsoundheld togetherbylongstrandsofsilence.” 102 Theentrancesandexitsarealwayssurprising,alwaystesting one’sgripontheworkanddemandingthatitbetight.Infocusinginthisway,asPanznerwrites,“One gainsnotonlyanawarenessofthemusic,butaprivilegedawarenessoftheactoflisteningitself.103 WhenIfirstlistenedthroughthispiece,therewereseveralmomentswhenIthoughtmycomputerhad lostitschargeandIhadlostthetrackentirely.ThefinaltimethisoccurredIwassurprisedtolearnthat thepiecehadreacheditsendfarmorequicklythanIcouldhaveanticipated.Itisquietlysubversivework, teachingthelistenerhowtoturneverycornerandlookjustfarenoughaheadandbehindinwhatfeelslike anentirelynewauralandmentalspace.

ofthepiece,notjustsomesortofabsenceofsound

Littletonoinput

Akeyquestionwhenconsideringsilenceinmusicis,whoorwhatisitthatissilent?Ifsoundisnot producedinadirectway,whatisthematerialofthepiece?Thereareanumberofwaystoconsiderthe soundthatisalreadypresentinagivensituation. Whenpeopleareinterviewedforanaudioorvideorecording,itiscommontoaskforthirtysecondsor moreofroomtone.Thisuninterruptedsoundofthespaceisessentialtocaptureforanyoverdubbingthat mightneedtooccur;anycutfromoneenvironmenttoanotherwouldbeobviousbecauseofthesoundof theroomitself.AmongStevePeters’site-specificsoundinstallationsisaseriesofpiecescalledChamber Music,eachofwhichisderivedfromasinglerecordingofanemptyspace.Hefilterstherecording heavilytofindthedronesoftheroom’sresonantfrequenciesastheydevelopinresponsetosoundthat leaksintothespace.Eachpieceisthenpresentedinthatsamespace.

Oneofthesepieces,significantlycalledTwoWaysofListeningtoNothing(2009),isaninstallationof

twoseparateinteractions(byPetersandRenéBarge)withasinglefieldrecordingofalargeelevatorat theBassMuseuminMiami,playedbacksimultaneouslyintheelevator. 104 InFilteredLight (2008), Petersextractedfourteenfrequenciesfromanhour-longrecordingofanunoccupiedroomattheUNMArt Museum. The recordingwas divided into segments thatwere overlaid ina four-channel continuous installation. 105 Peterswritesofthisseriesthatithas“asmuchtodowithlightaswithsound—theway naturallightchangesandmovesthroughaspace,thehueoftheroomshiftingsubtlythroughouttheday.” Eachpieceintheseriestakesaslightlydifferentapproach,butconsistentlyderivesallthematerialfrom

theroomtoneitself. 106 IncontrastwithPeters’useofrecordingsofroomtone,AgostinoDiScipioexploreshisongoinginterest intheinteractionwithenvironmentbyliveprocessingasingle,barelyaudiblebackground.hörbare

ökosystemenr.3a:studieüberhintergrundgeräusche(2002–05)amplifiesandprocessesthisnoiselive,

“andattemptstomake‘something’withit.”Becauseofthebehavioroftheprocess,thetextureofthe

andisthenrestarted.”Each

process leaves “sonicwaste”behindthataffects thenextiterations.This pieceis justoneofmany examplesofDiScipio’sworkwithbackgroundnoiseandroomresponse. 107 ToshimaruNakamura’sprocessingalsotakesplacelive,andthesiteofthesoundingactivityistightly containedinhismixingboard.Theno-inputmixingboardhehasadoptedashisprimaryinstrumentis essentiallyafeedbackloop.Theoutputoftheboarditselfisfedbackintotheboardasinput.Thesound developsasanaccumulationofthatinputovertime,filteredbyNakamurathroughthemixer.

Theunpredictabilityoftheinstrumentrequiresanattitudeofobedienceandresignationtothesystemand thesoundsitproduces,bringingahighlevelofindeterminacyandsurprisetothemusic. 108

Thispieceofsoundtechnologyhearsitself;tonesgeneratedinsidethemixeraresustainedandeventually generatenewtonesintheprolongedloop.Justastheyaccumulate,theyaregraduallyremoved,either

throughfilteringorastheyceasetobeanactivepresencetobefedbackintothemixer.2ndRhythm

Guitar(2003)revealsasmoothaccumulationandgradualreductionofthesesounds.Discreteeventsare

audiblein3rdRhythmGuitar(2003)—infinitesimalgrainsofsoundjuxtaposedwithlargercyclesof

activitythatseemtoriseandfallandeventuallyflatten,makingroomfornewtexturesandcyclesand pulses.Crucially,noneofthesesoundsaremadebyhim.Theyarefilteredonthemixingboard,andhe selectivelyallows themto propagate themselves further, but nothingis “played.” He describes his instrumentsimplyas“anaudiomixerwithsomeeffectpedalstoobtainfeedbacksounds.” 109 InlisteningtoNakamura’swork,itbecomesinterestingtofocusontheentranceandemergenceof sound.Whenasoundappears,doesittakeroot?Howdoesittakeshape?Howdoesitrelatetotheother sounds?Thesubtletiesofsuchalisteningexperiencebecomeintensifiedinthelongertracks,suchasthe

single-trackreleasemaruto(2011).Theseissuesofthedevelopmentofsoundtakeonadditionalweight

andinterestbecauseofNakamura’sfullysharedagencywithhisinstrument.

Therelationshipbetweenmyinstrumentandmyselfisprettymuchequal.Ihavetoresignagreatdealof determinacyinthemusictothesystemoftheinstrument,beobedienttotheresultandacceptit. 110

Hedoesnotcreatethesounds,andbydesignhehaslimitedmeanswithwhichtocontrolthem.Whatever

soundsareproducedarearesultoftheongoingcollaborationbetweenNakamuraandhistechnology.

Whenaskedabouthisasyetunrealizablemusicalambitions,Nakamura’sresponseseemstoencapsulate

hisattitudetowardmakingsound.

No,Idonothavesuchthings.Idon’tjumpfromoneplacetoanywheretoohigh.Ihavebeengradually changing,Ikeepgoingwithtinysteps.OrperhapsIammovingaroundbutstayinginaverysmallarea whiledoingso. 111

Anotherwayoffocusingonsoundthathasnotbeenpropagatedbutalreadyexistsisthroughapureand

soundgetsprogressivelythicker,untilit“buildsuptoapointofsaturation

focusedactofattention.InthecaseofDavidDunn’sPurposefulListeninginComplexStatesofTime

(1997–98),thereisnosoundthatispurposelyemittedfromthepersonexecutingthisscore.Thepieceis

an“organizationofperceptionratherthanthemanipulationofthematerialbasisofsound”thatasksfor activelisteningtotheimmediateoutdoorsurroundings.ForDunn,itisapersonalresponsetothedilemma

posedby4’33”.

We have merely regarded it as an intellectual gesture of final aesthetic conditions rather than a generative openingup to new attitudes. For manymusicians the Cageanpromise of freedomand revolutioninaestheticattitudesmeantpermissiontobeasreactionaryaspossible. 112

Ratherthanfollowingsucharetreat,Dunnusesthismodel,aswellaswhatherecognizesasthedemand

ofFeldman’smusictolistentooneselflistening,asabasisofhisproject.AsNakamura’sno-inputmixing

boardlistenstoitselfthroughtheloopedcircuitry,thesoloistinPurposefulListeningfocusesonherown

perceptionsofreal-time,imagined,andrememberedsoundeventswithinthegivensituation.Thelistening

positionsaresky,body,andgroundlevel,andtheproximityofsoundtothelistener isatadjacent, moderate, or far distance. Additionally, everysound is placed forward, back, left, right, or omni- directionally.Buttosayitisplacedissimplytosaythatattentionisdirectedinthoseways.NeitherDunn northelistenerismakingthesound.Everysoundisrelatedtothelistenerinposition.Sheherselfisthe focalpointofthelisteningexperience,butonlyasthepointtowhich(notfromwhich)allthesoundsare directed. G.DouglasBarrettispursuingacriticalsoundpractice,bothasawriterandasacomposer. 113 AFew

Silence(2007)is,likethepreviousexamples,focusedonunintendedenvironmentalsounds.Ittakesplace

overtenminutes.Forthefirstfiveminutes,“theperformerslistentothe‘silence’oftheperformance spacewhilecreatingwrittenscoresbasedontheirobservationsofsoundsthatoccurwithinthistime span.”Inthenextfiveminuteseachperformerexecutesthesesounds.Thecollectiveaspectofthework makesthesubjectivityofbothhearingandlisteningapparent.Whateachperformerhearsdependson position,focus,andhearing.Howheorsheperformsdependsoninstrument,facility,andimagination. Theaudienceis alsopresent,engaginginthedirectlisteningexperiencefirst,andthenthefiltered, transcribedmirrortoit.Theycancomparetheirownlisteningexperienceof“silence”withthatofthe performers.Somesoundsareheardbyeveryone,andothersareheardbyonlyonelistener—suchasthe

scratchingofaneighboringperformer’spen.Thesilenceoftheperformancesituationbecomesthenot-

silenceofeverythingthathasinfiltratedthatspaceandbeenheard. 114

Performativetensionsofsilence

Whilesilencesareoftenperformedinarelaxedmanner,theycanalsobefulloftension.Sometimesthe

silenceoperatesintensionwiththeculturalsituation(venue,audience)oftheperformance.GeorgeLewis

recalls:

IrememberLeo[Smith]tellingmethatatthebeginningtheydidthesepiecesinallkindsofspace,

includingtraditionaljazzclubs.Theywoulddothesesilentpieces,andatsomepointsomebodyjust

said,“Playsomethingorgetoffthestage!”

Nowthat’savoluntarysilencethat’sdeafening,ifyouwanttolookatitthatway.Thepersonjust

couldn’ttakeit. 115

When there is an expectation of “performance,” a transgression of that expectation is sometimes understoodasaprovocation.SimilarexperienceshavebeenrecountedbyTakuSugimotoaswellasby musiciansassociatedwithEchtzeitmusik, 116 suggestingthatthetensionofsilenceinperformanceisan internationalphenomenon. VadimKarassikovevokesadifferenttypeoftension,bothintheperformerandthelistener.Hespeaks ofhissilenceas“frozencatastrophe,”anextremityof“emotionalstrain”and“spiritualconcentration”

thesilenceofgesture.”Forhim,gestureisonan

equallevelwithsound,andanaudiblesilenceisalsoavisualsilence. 117 Sound,image,andthesenseof timearefrozen.

InNovemberMorphologyII(1999)hedescribestheextremetensiontobemaintainedbythecellist,as

ifthebowisstucktotheinstrument,whichshemustovercome“withextremetension.” 118 AsEugenie Brinkema writes,“Itis the performer’s bodyunder the strainofthis suspensionthatconstitutes the expressive possibilities of the piece.” 119 The performer’s expression in the work is “utter inward concentrationandemotionalstamina.” 120 Whatisitthatrequiressuchconcentrationandendurance?Totalstillnessisnotassociatedwitheithera restfuloraperformativestate,butwiththeabsenceorlossoflife.Arockexpendsnoeffortinbeingstill, butapersondoes.Itisaninterruptionofthebreathingmechanism,ofanyquestforcomfort,andof musculartendencies.Bothtotalstillnessandtotalsilenceareantitheticaltothehumancondition,and whenviewedclosely,actuallyimpossible;yetbotharedemandedinKarassikov’swork.Thetensionof theperformerbecomesthetensionoftheobserverintheirsharedexperience.Tobreathenormallyisto riskcompetingwiththeloudestsoundsofthework. One of the dynamic markings in November Morphology II is “ppppppppp (practically/almost inaudible).” 121 Thetensionofthis silencealsorests onits liminal qualities.As motionlessness and soundlessnesscannotbeabsoluteinhumanperformance,sotoothesoundsareneverclearlymadeonone

sideortheotherofaudibility.HewritesofThevectorsoftheechoSlippingAway(2001)that“mostof

thepiece’s‘events’arebeingdeployedonthevergeofsilence,”andthatistrueofmostofhiswork. 122

Whatmattershereisnotthemerefactoftheabsenceofwhatcommonlyusedtofunctionasmaterialfor

music(4’33”),butpreciselytheraregraspabilityofthevergewheremusicisgivenitsbirthandleaves

thatmosttangiblyfindsitsformin“motionlessness

thedomainofthepresent. 123

ForKarassikov,silenceisfullofcontent.“Thissilence,asIperceiveit,hasthepowerofacontinuum:in itsapparentabsenceofsound,itemphasizeseverysoundpossible.” 124 Brinkemaclarifiesthisdifference:

“Whatisabsoluteistheimperceptiblebutpositivedifferencebetweensilenceandtheinaudible.”For

Karassikov,silenceisabsoluteandinclusive:thelimittowhichhismusicaspires.

Countlessqualitiesofsilence

Themusic

sound,orevenagesture:itwasadifferentsound,onewithmoredensitythanthosesoundsmadeby

revealedthecomplexityof“silence”itself.Silenceinmusicwasnotthecessationof

—MichaelPisaro

TakuSugimoto’s essay, “APhilosophical Approach to Silence,” raises crucial questions about the

differencebetweenasilenceandarest.Thescoreof4’33”containsneithernotesnorrests,butisfilled

withthepotentialofcontingency.“Butinthissituation,”writesSugimoto,“the‘unintentionalsounds’are actuallyintendedbyincorporatingthesilentspaceintothemusicintentionally.” 126 Unintentionalsoundis theintention,sotheunwrittenpageisactuallywrittenbythecircumstance,bytheenvironmentalsoundsin theevent. Silenceisbothcontextualandrelative.Inthesituationofamusicalperformance,itiscontrolledbythe presenceandchoicesofthemusicians.Italsodependsontheperceptionofthelisteners.InSugimoto’s

STAYIV(2003),theunvoiceddurationsbetweenthestatementsofthefourguitaristsaresosubstantialand

sovariablethattheyeachtakeonanewcharacter.Thesilenceisanticipated,seemstogrowbiggerasit

isprolonged,andisreleasedwitheachnewarticulation.Eachsilencecarriesadistinctquality.

Thisexpansionandcontractionofthesilencesisessentialtothework,andtoalargerprojectof

Sugimoto’s.Asilencecanbemusical:Itcanbefilledwithintention,itcanbemeasured,anditcanhave

character.Itdoesnotneedtobebrieftobeendowedwithmusicalproperties.

Logically,thelengthofaquarternotecanbeonesecondorevenonehour,sowecouldclaimand

understandthemusichasacertainpattern,eveninanextremesituationwhereaone-hourrestfollowsa

one-hourcontinuousnote.However,isthesilenceduringtheone-hourrestalwaysthesame?Ofcourse,

nothingisdifferentinanaudiopointofview.Butwhenacertaincontextispredominant,ifwereplaceit

withsomeothercontext,therewillbesomechangeinourrecognition.

Thisrecognition,whetheritisanoverallwayofthinkingorthespecificactoflisteningtoamusical

performance,isfundamentaltotheconceptionofsilence.Passivityistheultimatenegation,farmorethan

aperformancewithoutarticulationscouldbe.Sugimotocontinues:

Ithinkitisnowabouttimetobringareinventiontoourwaysofrecognition.Thisreinventionwillcome fromtheissueofhowtofacethesilenceinthiscontemporarytime.ItisaresultfromCage’sideaof silence,whichhas developedmoreintricatelythanhis original contemplation—whichshouldbea blessingtous. 127

AfterhearingaperformancebySugimoto’sguitarquartetattheAMPLIFY2002festivalinTokyo,Yuko

Zamawrote:

Thesetbeganwithalong,perfectsilence,followedbyasinglenotefromanacousticguitar.Afterthe lingeringsoundofthatfirstnotedisappeared,anothernotewascastout,followedbyanotherperfect silence.Thesilenceheldapowerfulattraction,andlistenersfoundthattheyheardeachsilenceslightly differently,justasonehearschangesintheflowofmusic.Despitethefactthesilencesareoftenmuch longer thanthestretchescontainingsound,themusiccreatedbythefour artistsisoverwhelmingly substantial.Mostofthemusicisinaudibleinaphysicalsense,butinitonecanundeniably“hear”the musicians’innerworlds.Thissuper-quietquartetopenedlisteners’earswide,andpreparedtheirminds toheartheensuingmusicbetter.

Inresponsetoanotherperformanceonthesamefestival,shecontinues:“Withinaperfectsilence,subtle

soundsweregeneratedliketinybubblesfromtheacousticinstrumentsandcomputer,andfloatedthrough theair.” 128 Silenceisnotanundifferentiatedunitorelement.Ithasdifferentqualities,dependingonitsduration,the soundsaroundit,thenatureofthephysicalpresenceoftheperformers,thereceptionofthelisteners,the culturalcontext,and,notleast,theactualpropertiesofthesilence.Itisnotagroundzero,aunity,ora self-similarconstruct.Manypeopleimagineittobeso,butonlyrelativesilencescanbeexperienced,and thereareatleastasmanyofthoseasthereareshadesofwhite.Thereisalwayssomethingthatcanbe heard,solongaswearetheretohearit.Silencebecomesafloorofsonicactivitythatinitselfcanbe analyzedandcontrasted. “The New Silence” is a projectinvolvingJohnnyChang,KoenNutters,andMortenJ.Olsenthat examinesandmanipulatesanadjustablefloorofbackgroundnoise.Theprojectaimsat“redefiningthe threshold ofsilence, thus revealingthe new silence.” This is done inthe performance situationby controllingtheamplificationlevelsofthemachineryandsurroundingsofthevenue:

Significantsonic architectural features ofthe venue will be highlighted and extended—as well as incorporatingso-calledacceptableandunacceptablesurroundingnoiseintothelandscapeoftheplanned compositioninsuchawaythattheydisappearfromtheaudience’sperspectiveentirely. 129

MattRogalsky’sS(2002) isacompilationofall thesilencesinadayofBBCbroadcasts.“Radio silence”isexploredinitsactual,specificqualities.Rogalskysubsequentlyreleaseda“bestof”album withonlythequietestofthesilences. 130 Butthatraisesaquestion:Isaquietsilencebetterthanaloud one?Ifthereisnosoundintended,doesunintendedsoundconstituteadisruption?Itmightinsteadbea welcomeinevitability. Antoine Beuger is one of the founders of the Wandelweiser collective, aninternational group of musiciansthathasbeenworkingtogethercloselyovertwodecades.Whileeachmemberhasaunique perspective,thegroup’soverallcontributiontotheconsiderationofsilenceisespeciallysignificant. 131 In

Beuger’sdialogues(silence)(1993),soundstructuresappear,playedbytheclarinet,inthemidstof

silence.

Betweenthesilenceafterasoundstructureandthesilencebeforethenextone,onehearsthesoundofa pagebeingturned:thesoundofsilencebetweenthesilences. 132

Ifsilenceisnotattainable,eitherwithorwithoutpurposefulsound,itbecomespossibletousesoundto

representsilence.Silentharmoniesindiscretecontinuity(2002)isdedicatedtotheartistMarciaHafif,

whoBeugerdescribesasan“americanpainterofmonochromepaintings.”Beuger’ssonicanalogueto

Hafif’smonochromeseriesisfoundthrough“stationary,quiet,purewaves.”Thesesoundsareproduced

electronically,sotheyarenotsubjecttotheinstabilitiesofbodilyperformance.Eachsoundlastsforthree

minutesandsuggestsbroadnessanddepth,inthatitusesonefrequencyeachfromeightoctaveranges.The

secondclearparalleltoHafif’sworkisinthesettingofcontainersofequivalentdimensionsnexttoone

another.Onesoundendsandanotheronebegins.Thedifferencebetweenthesoundsisclear,butany

attempttodescribethedifferenceseemsshallow.Beugerwrites:

stillwatersaresaidtorundeep,

butinrealityitistheimperturbabilityoftheirsurface thatimpressesus. 133

RaduMalfattihasparallelandcomplementaryrolesasamemberoftheWandelweisercollectiveand

othermusicalcommunitiesasatrombonist,animproviser,andacomposer.Innorthumberland4(2008)

heoffersastructureforperformancethatreflectsthiscompoundofexperiences.Hedescribesthepieceas

a“stringent,yetquiteopenarchitectureofsilenceandsounds.”Thesilencesandsoundslocktogetherin

theircontractionandexpansion.Asoundofsixteensecondsisfollowedbyasoundofthesameduration,

thenonwithfifteensecondsdowntofour.Afterasilenceoftwominutes,thereisanewnoteoffour

secondsthatreachessixteensecondsbythesamemethod.Hecontinues:

Nobodywillhearthedifferencebetweenasoundlasting20secondsand19seconds.butacarefuland

attentivelistenerwillcertainlyrealize:“

.”andthetwominutespauseisjustaboutlongenoughtokeepthememoryofthelastsoundingsinmind

andrealizethatthissoundisinawaydifferent.ifyouplaythetwosoundsimmediatelyoneafterthe

other,thenyouandeverybodyelsehearstheobviouschange. 134

thesoundseemsmuchshorterthen[sic]theonesbefore

These silences operate as durations and demarcations, obscuringthe perceptionofone sound from another. RhodriDaviesdescribestheuseofsilenceamongimprovisersasameansofcollectivelyshapingthe musicandexaminingthesoundsmoreclosely:

Welookedatwhathappenedwhenasoundstopped,howitstopped,howlongthesoundwouldlast beforeitstoppedinthemusic.Abeautifulheavysilencewouldengulfthespaceafterasoundstopped. Andthelistenerwouldoftenonlyfullybecomeawareofthepresenceanddensityofasoundafterithad stopped. 135

Soundsareheardnotonlyintheirpresence,butalso—andsometimesmorepowerfully—inmemory,in theirrecentabsence.Thesesilencesinvitearetrospectivelisteningthatisdistinctfromtheprevioustypes described. Asacomposerandmusicologistwithaninterestinhearingbotholdandnewmusicwith“newears,” 136 Eva-MariaHoubenhaswrittenabouttheusesofsilenceinmusicofthepast.HerbookonBerlioz summarizessomeofherfindings:

Hisscoresoftenshowtheannotation:“presquerien”(“nearlynothing”).Thisannotationmaybefound

incombinationwithextremelyreduceddynamics.Soundmaybecomenearlyinaudible.

SimilarinstructionsaretobefoundinSchoenberg’sandWebern’sscores.Shecontinues:

Imayreadtheannotation“nearlynothing”inasecondway:therenearlyisnocomposition.Thereare

somevibrations,somenoises,somefragmentsintheair—nearlynothing.

Herownworkdealswiththesequestionsofpresenceandabsence.Sounds“appearwhiledisappearing,

theydisappearwhileappearing

provenveryusefulinconsideringtheseissues. InHouben’s work, silence oftenis equated withanact: a disappearance. The first trackonthe

137 Theorgan,Houben’smaininstrument,has

Presencethatlasts.”

verschwindungenrelease(2014)overlaystwodifferentrecordings.Oneoftheseisapairofpiecesfor

organandone other windinstrument—inthis performance a tuba.The other layer is sounds ofthe environment.Shecallsthese“differentprocessesofdisappearance.” 138 Anotherexampleisstillwerden

(becomingsilent)(2002).Shewrites,

Twelve-tonechords—singletones—silence.

Thereisaverylongsilenceattheendofthepiece.Youlistentothespaceofthehall

139

Inthisgradualreductionfromtwelve-notechordstoonetozero,zeroprovesitselfnottobezero,because thespaceofthehallremains.Asilentorganstilloccurswithinaspacethathasitsownsound.This silencefeelsrichanddeep,moresothantheorgantonesthatprecedeit.Itisasilencethatembracesallof thosepossiblesoundsandmore.Itfillsthespacewithanactualpresence,ratherthanwithanabsence. Thissilenceisnotavoid,butopennesstocircumstance.Thepresenceofsuchbackgroundnoiseismore apparentinyosemite(2007),intheongoingdroneofthefactoryhallthatisthesiteoftheperformance. 140 Herethesilencesaremuchmorebrief—simplyshortrestsbetweenstatements—butthepresenceofthe spaceassertsitselfmorereadilythanthespaceofstillwerden.

aeolina(2013)operatesinaliminalspace.Theaeoliansoundsoftheorganarehardlymorepresent

thanthesoundofthespace.“Thereishardlyanythingyoumayhear,”writesHouben.“Theorgan—its windnessbeingrediscoveredoverandoveragain—releasesasajeweleachsinglesound;eachstreamof air;eachnoise:disappearingintothespaceofthehall.” 141 Thesesoundsseemnevertoannouncetheir arrivalordeparture,butappearandevaporateinthemostelusiveofmoments.Therangeofhueswithin thismutedcolorpaletteissurprisingandabsorbing.Itseemsthateverypossiblecolorispresentedinits lightestpossibleshade. WhereHoubentendstoassociatesilencewithdisappearance,TaylanSusam’sformaaikeschoorel

(2009)givesitquitetheoppositefunction.Schoorelisapainter“whoselandscapesradiateasenseof

contingency,afeelingthatsomethingmayemergeatanygivenmoment.” 142 Susam’ssilencehereisa potentialitythatincludesallsounds.Themusicianseachchooseamongclustersofnumbersthatindicate howloudlyandhowfrequentlytoplay.DominicLash,whoplayedthepiece,explainsthatitwill“pull themusicmadeintosmallswellsofextremelyquietsounds,someofthemrepeatingslowlywithinlittle windowsoftime.” 143 Theinstructiontoclustertheseactivitiesleavesotherspansoftimeempty,butallof thesedurationsarefilledwiththepotentialformusicalactivity.Thewaytheseclustersofactivityemerge enforcesthatsenseofpotentialthroughoutthepiece,andintheminutesafteritisplayedaswell. Thereismoretosilencethanmeetstheear.Toputitmoreexactly,whensilenceactuallydoesmeetthe ear,itcanhaveaninfinitevarietyofqualities.

Notes

1 For a rewarding consideration of Cage’s thought and work, see Joe Panzner, The Process That Is the World:

Cage/Deleuze/Events/Performances(NewYork:Bloomsbury,2015).

2ChristophCoxandDanielWarner,eds.,AudioCulture:ReadingsinModernMusic(NewYork:Continuum,2004),227.

3JohnCage,Silence(Middletown,CT:WesleyanUniversityPress,2011),13.

2013).

5See,JoaquimM.Beniítez,“Avant-GardeorExperimental?:ClassifyingContemporaryMusic,”InternationalReviewoftheAesthetics

andSociologyofMusic9,no.1(June,1978):53–77.Thisarticleisusefulindrawingthesedistinctions.

6

“Experimental

Music

Concerts

Return

to

Columbia,”

7SeeChapter4,ThePositionoftheListener.

9MichaelPisaro,Lecture,HarvardUniversity,Cambridge,MA,September8th,2014.

10PaulPanhuysen,PartitasforLongStrings,XIRecords,1998,compactdisc.Linernotes,10.

12AlvinLucier,Music109:NotesonExperimentalMusic(Middletown,CT:WesleyanUniversityPress,2014),xi.

13ThomasS.Clark,LarryAustin:LifeandWorksofanExperimentalComposer(Raleigh,NC:BorikPress,2012),27.

14DarlaCrispin,ed.,ArtisticExperimentationinMusic:AnAnthology(Leuven:LeuvenUniversityPress,2014),26.Thepodcastofthis

15RobertAshley,SuperiorSeven/Tract,NewWorldRecords80460,1995,compactdisc.Linernotes.

16HarryPartch,GenesisofaMusic:AnAccountofaCreativeWork,ItsRootsandItsFulfillments,2ndedn(NewYork:DaCapo

Press,1974),357.

17Foracontrastingpointofview,seeBenjaminPiekut,ed.,TomorrowIstheQuestion:NewDirectionsinExperimentalMusicStudies

(AnnArbor:UniversityofMichiganPress,2014).

18 Seth Cluett, Loud Speaker: Towards a Component Theory of Media Sound (dissertation, Princeton University, 2013), 33,

19Thesepairingsinclude:Chapter3,ResonantSpaces→SiteSpecificWorks;Chapter2,HarmonicRelations→Chapter6,Histories;Chapter

1,Silence→Chapter4,ThePositionoftheListener;Chapter1,Indeterminacy→Chapter5,Interaction.

20Webster’sThirdNewInternationalDictionary,s.v.“indeterminate.”

21Cage,Silence,39.

22Ibid.,35–40.

23ManfredWerder,“StatementonIndeterminacy,”inWordEvents:PerspectivesonNotation,ed.JohnLelyandJamesSaunders(New

York:Continuum,2012),381.

24seeJohnPritchett,TheMusicofJohnCage(Cambridge,UK:CambridgeUniversityPress,1993),201.

25Pritchett,Cage,186.

26ChristianWolff,GiselaGronemeyer,andReinhardOelschlägel,eds.,Cues:Writing&Conversations(Köln:MusikTexte,1998),316.

27StefanThut,many,1-4(Haan:EditionWandelweiser,2009).

28wandelweiserundsoweiter,AnotherTimbre56,2012,compactdiscboxset.Linernotes.

Malfunction(Cambridge,MA:MITPress,2009),202–04.

30DanielNeumann,“InterviewwithMariaChavez,”econtact.ca,http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/14_3/neumann_chavez.html.

32MariaChavez,OfTechnique:ChanceProceduresonTurntable(Brooklyn:RollingPress,2012),52.

33Chavez,OfTechnique,62–63.

35Kelly,CrackedMedia,161.

36Ibid.,4.

37Ibid.,221.

38Ibid.,236.

39Ibid.,237.

40Ibid.,249.

41“DavidTudorandLarryAustin:AConversation,”http://davidtudor.org/Articles/austin.html.

42DavidTudor,TheArtofDavidTudor1963–1992,NewWorldRecords80737,7compactdiscs.Linernotes,8.

44Ibid.,9.

45Ibid.

46DavidDunn,Pleroma1(unpublishedscore,1999).

47Ibid.

48DavidDunn,Wildflowers(unpublishedscore,1994).

49Dunn,Pleroma1,FromtheTheaterofPatternFormations(unpublishedmanuscript,2003).

50Dunn,TheaterofPatternFormations.

51JimCrutchfield,“BiographicalSketch,”http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~chaos/chaos/bio.htm.

52DavidDunn,Lorenz(unpublishedmanuscript,2005).

53Dunn,ThreeDynamicalSystems(unpublishedscore,1999).

54YanJun,“FeedbackImprovisation,”http://www.yanjun.org/project.

55ScottCazan,“NetworkInjection,”http://www.experimentalmusicyearbook.com/Network-Injection.

56AdamBasanta,“ARoomListeningtoItself.”Vimeovideo,4:46.August11,2015,https://vimeo.com/135961039.

57Wolff,Cues,222.

58 Matt Sargent, “a river is many single things going to almost the same place at almost the same time,” https://soundcloud.com/mattsargent/a-river-is-many-single-things-going-to-almost-the-same-place-at-almost-the-same-time.

59AmiYoshidaandMinoruSato,“COMPOSITIONForVoicePerformer,”http://www.ms-wrk.com/SASW%2BAMI.htm.

60 “Minoru Sato -m/s, SASW + Ami Yoshida Composition for Voice Performer 1997.” YouTube video, 6:15. February 1, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFS7GqVt9fA. The video of this piece offers a valuable window into Yoshida’s improvisational practice.

61KennethGaburo,FiveWorksforVoices,Instruments,andElectronics,compactdisc,NewWorldRecords80585,2002,linernotes.

62“KennKumpf(Bass,Co-Director),”http://www.outervoices.net/content/artists.

65“Only[HarmonySeries#17],”http://harmonyseries.blogspot.com.

66TheserealizationsarediscussedbyJamesSaundersinWordEvents,320–27.Manyrealizationsofpiecesintheseriesarelistedat

68Lucier,Music109,10–11.ItisbynomeansagreedamongscholarsthatCagesucceededinweedingoutpersonalpreference;butany

composer’sefforttodosoisahallmarkofindeterminacy.

69KeithRowe,“AboveandBeyond,”Resonance5,no.2(1997).

70quotedinWolff,Cues,398.

72TimParkinson,“AClearApparence,”http://www.wandelweiser.de/_texte/texts-parkinson.html.

73JamesSaunders,ed.,TheAshgateResearchCompaniontoExperimentalMusic(Farnham,UK:Ashgate,2009),340.

74TimParkinson,doublequartet(unpublishedscore,2004–05).“doublequartet,”https://soundcloud.com/tim-parkinson-1.

75Saunders,Ashgate,340.

76

Tim

Parkinson,

Time

With

People,

77Saunders,Ashgate,340.

78Ibid.,341.

79Thefullpremiereperformanceisdocumentedathttps://vimeo.com/114220946.SeealsoOpus1athttps://vimeo.com/76150181andan

81AkioSuzuki,“Pyramid:HumanityExcavatesSound,”http://www.mattress.org/archive/index.php/Detail/Collections/151.

82DavidToop,SinisterResonance:TheMediumshipoftheListener(NewYork:Continuum,2010),230.

84dictionary.com,s.v.“threshold,”accessedSeptember16,2015,http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/threshold.

86“SamAshley,”http://www.ccnoa.org/Sam-Ashley.

88BurkhardBeins,etal.,eds.,Echtzeitmusik:Self-DefiningaScene(Hofheim:Wolke,2011),71.

89“AnInterviewwithBrunoDuplant,”http://www.anothertimbre.com/nexttonothing.html.RyokoAkama,BrunoDuplant,andDominicLash,

NexttoNothing,AnotherTimbre79,2015,compactdisc.

90Lucier,Music109,194.

92CatherineLambandBryanEubanks,Listeningin/totheLiminal,http://lateraladdition.org/listening_into_the_liminal.pdf.

93Ibid.,21.

94NaldjorlakandOccamOceanarediscussedinChapter5.

95LambandEubanks,Liminal,11.

96JakobUllmann,Voice,BooksandFIRE3,EditionRZ2005,2008,compactdisc.Linernotes.

97JakobUllmann,ACatalogueofSounds1995-1997,EditionRZ1017,2004,compactdisc.Linernotes,9.

98Wolff,Cues,232.

99“AnInterviewwithHALANAMagazine,USA,”http://trenteoiseaux.net/interviews.

100Ibid.

101Ibid.

103Ibid.

104“ChamberMusic4:FilteredLight(2008),”http://steve-peters.blogspot.com/2013/03/chamber-music-2005-2012.html.

105

Steve

Peters, Filtered

Light, Dragon’s

Eye

Recordings

5017,

2008,

compact

disc,

liner

notes,

106Clipsandmoreinformationabouttheseriesareavailableathttps://stevepeters.bandcamp.com/album/chamber-music.

107AgostinoDiScipio,hörbareökosysteme:live-elektronischekompositionen1993–2005,EditionRZ,ed.RZ10015,2005.Linernotes.

SeeContemporaryMusicReview33,no.1(2014)formorewritingonDiScipio’swork.

110Ibid.

111Ibid.

112DavidDunn,PurposefulListeningInComplexStatesofTime(unpublishedscore,1997–98),2.

113SeeG.DouglasBarrett,AfterSound:TowardaCriticalMusic(NewYork:BloomsburyAcademic,2016).

114G.DouglasBarrett,AFewSilence,http://gdouglasbarrett.com/music/A_Few_Silence_score.

116Beins,Echtzeitmusik,72.

118VadimKarassikov,NovemberMorphologyII(Kasssel:Bärenreiter,2003),1.

119EugenieBrinkema,“CritiqueofSilence,”Differences22,no.2–3(2011):226.

120Karassikov,NovemberMorphology,1.

121Ibid.

124Ibid.

125MichaelPisaro,“Wandelweiser,”http://erstwords.blogspot.com/2009/09/wandelweiser.html.

127Ibid.

and Improvisation,”

128

Yuko

Zama, “Fresh Excitement

on

the

Scene: A Unique

Melding

of

Electronics

129JohnnyChang,“TheNewSilence,”https://soundcloud.com/johnnychchang/sets/the-new-silence.

130Ibid.,165.

131TheinclusionofWandelweisermembersPisaro,Werder,Houben,andMalfattialongwithBeugerisnoaccidentinthissectiononsilence.

2

ScientificApproaches

2.1Actsofdiscovery

Howcanasoundworkengageinanactofdiscovery?Thischapterincludesawiderangeofprojectsthat involvelearningmoreaboutsounds,processes,systems,andbehaviors.Theseprocessesofsound-making involveanalysis,research,trialanderror,andinquiry.Manyofthequestionsthatareposedarenotfully answerable;butthequestionsthemselvesareenrichedthroughtheirarticulationinthemediumofsound. ForLaurenceCrane,eachpieceisaprocessoflistening,ofslowandcarefuldiscovery.Theobjectsof this inquiry are the simplest materials of tonality—chords, scales, melodic fragments—and the instruments onwhichthose materials are presented. Dissonance and acoustic phenomena are, ifnot excluded,atleastunsought,andiftherearemultiplelayersofactivity,oneneverobscuresanotherbut theyareallimmediatelyapparent. AnyfragmentofCrane’smusiccouldsoundlikeamomentoutofaClassicalorRomanticerapieceof music,butonlyinthesamesensethatamiddleCcouldbeapartofanumberofdifferentscales.While themusicalmaterialsthemselvesarehighlytraditional,theirpresentationisnot.Cranecarefullyavoids developmentandfunctionaltonality,hesays,“aspartofmydesiretocomposeinanabstractway.” 1 As TimParkinsonwrites,

Laurence’smusicisthatofaclearobviousness,mostoftenusingextremelyfamiliarandwell-used

musicalbuildingblocks,liketonictriadsforexample,divorcedfromanyfunctionalharmony,butused

againlikefoundobjects;triads,thesoundofwhichhavebeendulledbyfamiliarity,nowbeingplacedin

simple,clear,reiteratingstructures,tobe heardafresh elementaryworldofchildhoodwonderandclarity. 2

Encapsulatedwithinthatsoundis

the

Tomakeonelimitedanalogy,Craneknowsverywellthatbrickscanbeusedtobuildahouseorawall, andthatpeoplewillgenerallythinkoftheseapplicationswhentheylookatbricks.Buthewouldpreferto takeafew ofthem,stackthemup,spendsometimelookingatthem,andthenslightlychangetheir configuration.Intheirmorefunctionaluses,onlyonesideofeachofthemcanbeseen,anditspositionis fixed.Heexplains:

Ofteninmywork,apiecewillconsistofsimplyanumberofdifferentstatementsofthesamematerial, sometimesdifferentfromeachother,sometimesthesamebutnever ever inastateofwhatwould

IliketothinkofthematerialsthatIworkwithinmymusic

generallybethoughtofasdevelopment

asobjectsofsomesortorother,familiarobjectsmaybe,butextractedfromtheirpreviouslyfamiliar situationsandplacedintoadifferentcontext.IwanttopresentthemandviewthembutIdon’twantto developthemorforcethemintoareastowhichtheydon’tnecessarilybelong. 3

InwhatmaybeCrane’ssimplestpiece,20thCenturyMusic(1999)forsolopiano,thereisabsolutelyno

rhythmicvariation.Everychordisawholenote.Theearisdirectedtothescaleofrepetition,whetherit beofapairofchords,aneight-chordphrase,orareprise,andtheparticularqualitiesofwhatisbeing repeatedinitsfirstandsecond,orsometimesthirdandfourthstatements.Thepieceisasinglepage,and justunderthreeminuteslong.Thereisgreateconomyofmaterialthatcanbeconsideredindetail. 4

Speakingofhisworkingprocess,andofMovementfor10Musicians(2003)inparticular,Cranesays,

“WhatI’mtryingtoachieveistodoaslittleaspossiblewiththematerial.I’mconcentratingonthese thingsinextremecloseupandI’mtryingtoeliminatemultiplepossibilities.” 5 Inthispiece,theseelements areasetofthreeascendingchordsandapairofchordsinwhichonlyonenotechanges.Thesesimple, evenrudimentary,materialsbecomeobjectsoffascination,andarehandledoverandoveragainwiththe greatestcareandattention. Sparlingis apiecethatexists inseveral differentversions spanningover adecade.Themelodic materialismainlytwopitchesawholetoneapart,presentedinoneregisterbytheclarinet.Thismaterial carriesoverfromoneversionofthepiecetoanother,butdifferencesinacousticsandinstrumentation yielddifferentpacingandaverydifferentflavortoeachofthethreeversionsonasinglerelease. 6 Oneof the features that figures most differently between themis how the bass register is added in each accompaniment.Cranesays,“Iliketoexplorematerialindifferentcontexts,itsoundsdifferent,it’snotan arrangementofthesamepiece,butI’llreworkitinsomeway,extenditmaybe.” 7 InthefirstpartofSee

OurLake(1999),themelodicactivitytakesplaceamongthreeadjacentnotes.Inthesecondpart,itis

reducedtotwonotes.Cranetakeswhatseemsnottobeenough,andthenreducesit.MichaelPisaro

writesofCrane’swork,

Thisisnotminimalism.Itdoesnottakejustificationin“lessismore”or“onlywhatisnecessary.”It takesusbeyondthosepoints:itislessthannecessary.Itsays,basically,nothingisnecessary.And perhaps,also,“let’sbehappywiththis.” 8

Theword“minimalism”hashadtwosomewhatdistinctapplicationswithinmusic.Thebest-knownuse

appliestocomposerssuchasPhilipGlass,SteveReich,andJohnAdams,whouseclear-cutharmonic

materialsandenliventheirusethroughprocesses.Theotherapplicationismorecasual,andrelatestothe

classificationofvisualartistssuchasAgnesMartin,AdReinhardt,andMarkRothko.Thecomposers

whoreceivethislabel—moreinreviewsthaninscholarlypublications—includeAlvinLucier,Howard

Skempton,ArvoPärt,ChiyokoSzlavnics,composersoftheWandelweisercollective,andCrane.The

aestheticsofthisgroupingofcomposersarediverse,andthisusageimpliesthattheytendtouseasmall

numberofmusicalmaterials,invitinggreaterattentiontothenatureofthosematerialsandthesubtle

differencesintheirpresentation.

ItisunlikelythatanymorehumblemusiccouldbefoundthanCrane’s;yetitisextremelyrefined.This

refiningprocessisamajorpartofCrane’scompositionalwork.Ashedescribeshispre-compositional

process,“ItryandrefineeverythingsothatI’mjustworkingwiththemostbasicelementsandit’sjusta

questionofworkingawayatthoseandmakingsurethatthey’redefinitelygoingtostandthetestoftime.” 9 ThiscareisevidentinanunusualwayinComebacktotheoldspecimencabinetJohnVigani,John Vigani,Part3(2007),forcelloandauxiliaryinstruments. 10 Theseauxiliariesarethesortsofthings anyone might find lyingaround the house—tincans, plastic bags, stones, etc. The sounds of these materialsarematchedwiththecelloinunlikelyandyetentirelyconvincingpairings.Intheopening,each auxiliaryplayerhitstwostonestogether,andthecellistplaysalight,sustainedharmonic.Thereisno apparentreasonthesethingsshouldkeepgoodcompany.Thecellogesture,assustainedandpitchedasit is,seemstogrowoutofthisbasicknockingtogetherofstones.Itisthefarthestthingfromtextbook orchestration.ThisrelationshipisonethatCranediscoveredandrevealed.Laterinthepiece,thecello playsacasualmelodythattravelsupanddownascale,andtheauxiliaryplayersrubplasticgrocerybags together.Themelodyinthecelloseemstoevokeamelodyintheplastic,inwhatwouldnormallybe simple,familiarnoise.Thereisnomirroringoftypesofactionontheauxiliarieswiththeactionsonthe cello.Later,itagaindoesn’tmakesensethatchordsstrummedonthecelloareechoedbyasimplehand tremoloontheoutersurfaceofatincan.ButCranehasfoundarelationshipbetweenthesesoundsthatit seemswashisalonetofind. HowdidCranearriveatthesepairings,whichworksostrangelywell?Howdoeshepresentsuch familiarmaterialsasbeautifulobjects?Itisaprocessofasking,thinking,reducing,testing,listening, considering,andmorelistening.Crane’scommitmenttothiswayofdoingthingsisoflongstanding,andit pavesthewayforadeeplyrewardinglisteningexperience.Crane’sactsofdiscoveryhavemuchtodo withanintensityofconcentration,awillingnesstoconsiderandreconsiderthemostbasicelementsand theirrelationtooneanother. TheCanadiancomposerMartinArnold’smusichasmuchincommonwithCrane’s,thoughthewayit playsoutovertime(andtheaveragedurationofhispieces)isquitedifferent.Bothcomposersseemto havegoneagainsttheideathatmusicshouldgofurtherandfurtherafield,andstayclosetotheirown circumscribedregions.Theseareasare,byandlarge,quitetonal,oratleastdiatonic,incontent.Itisasif theyhavestubbornlysaid,youcangoanywhereyoulike,butI’mgoingtostayrighthereandseewhatI canfindbytreadingoverthesameground.Thegroundmaychangeslightlyoverdecades,buttheshifts withinpiecesareincremental.Manypeoplefinditcontradictorytothinkofsuchworkasexperimental.It doesn’tgooutwardorseemtoadvance,butratherseemstostudyaterritoryexhaustively.Indoingso,it revealsthegreatdistancestobefoundwithinthisapparentlysmallspace.Theapparentsimplicityof musicalmaterialsonlyinitiallyobscuresthefactthatthereisdisciplineandresearchhere,andgenuine discovery within these familiar musical confines. There is little material, but there is room for transformation,notofthematerialinanydevelopmentalsense,butinthediscoveryofitbyeveryone involved. IfCrane’sworkcanbelikenedtosculpture,Arnold’sismorelikealineorapath.Hewritesextended melodiesthatseemtowanderaroundacontainedspace.Hewrites:

Icareaboutcontinuation,notprogression.Ilovemusicthatcontinues;but,asmylisteningimagination moves throughthis continuum, it’s the detail that engages me, the specificityof how the melody meanderswithintheperpetual,continuingpresent;presentbecauseI’mnotconcernedwithwherethings aregoingtogo,whatthey’regoingtobecome.Andmelodyhereisn’tjustasuccessionofpitches;it’s

texture—intentionalandindeterminate—foldingandunfolding. 11

Themelodiesseemtogoon,perhapsstopforamoment,andthenpickupagain.Thereisnodefining moment.Thisterrainisflat,andthemusicseemstosimplymeander(touseArnold’sterm)aroundthis area.Whileaspecificexamplemightbehelpful,it’shardtoisolatejustone.It’strueofallofthepieces ontheBozziniQuartet’sAberrareportraitCD,andofnearlyeveryotherpieceofArnold’sthatIhave heard.Thesomewhatlongstretchesofhispiecesseeminitiallytobetrayalackofeconomy,buton findingtherightsortofattention,andlearningtomeanderalongwiththesemodestlines,theyoffera practical suggestionofa wayofbeingthatis neither goal-orientednor magnificent,butsettles into somethingpatientandclear. Thereisverylittlemotionintermsofpitch,rhythm,dynamics,orinstrumentationinthemusicofthe GermancomposerErnstalbrechtStiebler,butthatverylimitation,combinedwiththesustainedqualityof thework,focusesattentiononthevariationsinperformance.ChristianWolffwrites,“Thequietofthis

musicrequires,oratleastinvites,youtolistenactively.”ThisistrueofThreeinOne(1992)forbass

flute,overlaidwithtwoprerecordedbassfluteparts,“selectivelyandatfluidlyvaryingdistancesechoing it.”Allofthematerialtakesplacewithinaverynarrowpitchregisterovereighteenminutes.Thelength oftime,combinedwiththislimitedpaletteandEberhardBlum’scalm,measuredperformance,givesroom

forthelistenertohearthelisteningprocessitself.SequenzII(1984)usesasimilarsetofdevices,this

timeforthreeoverlaidperformancesoncello.Eachoftheperformancesinvolvesdoublestops,andthe sustainedqualityoftheperformancefillsthemusicalspace.Whilebowchangesareaudible,theearis drawntoshiftinghuesinthedynamicsandharmoniccontent.Stieblerhascomparedhisworktothe seeminglyall-blackpaintingsofAdReinhartthatrevealothercolorswhenexaminedclosely. 12

KlausLang’seinfalt.stille(1999)hasadifferentkindofself-similarity,inthatitseemsnevertomove.

Longnotes,repeatednotes,andtinyincrementsofmotionneverthelessusherthelistenerintoanew situationeverysooften.Itisasdifficulttotrackthesechangesasitwouldbetocountsmalltilesthatare outofreach.Langwritesofanotherpiece,“ThedomeofthemosqueofIsfahandoesnotforceustodirect oureyestoaspecificpointordirection,itstandsbeforeusasawhole.Onecanregarditasawhole,asa unity,onecanloseoneselfintheshimmeringturquoiseofthetiles.” 13 Thenearimpossibilityoffocusisa statethathisworkbringsabout,andthatstateisthoroughlyintendedonhispart.Hewrites:

Whenconcentratingontheflowofmusicwecanreachaninnerstate:Theinnersilencewhichisthe simultaneityofstasisandflow.Thisparadoxicalsituationposesthequestion:Istheflowofmusic passingus,ismusicflowingthroughusthusevokingthisinnerstasisorisitnotastateatallwhatwe experience:shouldwenotmostseriouslytakeintoconsiderationthepossibilitythatitisuswhoare flowingthroughthesound? 14

InlisteningtoLang’swork,thediscoveryisnotofmaterial,butofawayofbeinginrelationtothisfluid voicingoftheflowoftime.Heviewsmusicalmaterialas“timeperceivedthroughsound,theobjectof music is the experience of time through listening.” “Music,” writes Lang, “is seen as a free and selfstandingacousticalobject.” 15 LindaCatlinSmithseesherworkintermsof“ambiguityofharmonyandnarrative.” 16 Thesubtlyvaried

repetitionsinThroughtheLowHills(1994)aremeditationsonanevolvingidea.Theyneverwander

awayfromasinglepurpose,butoffercontinualreorientationintheirmanneroftravelthroughthese simplemusicalshapes,findingnewpropertieswithinthemateveryturn. 17 Crane,Arnold,Stiebler,Lang,andSmithdiscoverthequalitiesandpotentialoflimitedmaterial,andin sodoingenablethelistenertoengageinunfamiliarformsofreflection.Manyoftheirpiecesmightbe likenedtoaquietfriendwholistenscarefullyandasksafewpointedquestions.Asyourespond,you learnmoreaboutyourselfandhearyourownthoughtswithinthecontextoftheircareandintelligence. Theexperienceofthesepiecesfoldsbackonitself,sothatyou—thelistener—distinctlyhearyourself listening.

listening. 2.2Harmonicrelations

2.2Harmonicrelations

Ascientificorexperimentalapproachrarely,ifever,involvesstartingfromanentirelynewbasis.Where thereisaninterestinhowthingsactuallyare,thereareprecedents,foundations,oratleastglimmersof insight to be found throughout recorded historyand musical practices fromaround the world. Ben Johnstonwrites:

Byfartheoldestandmostwidespreadapplicationofmathematicstomusicisthederivationofpitch scalesandrhythmicproportionsbymeansofwhole-numberfractionsreferringeithertofrequencyorto temporatios.TheChinese,theIndian,theIslamic,andtheancientGreekpitchsystemswerederivedin thisway.ThemedievalwesternEuropeanpitchsystemwassimilarlybaseduponmodesderivedfrom Pythagoreantraditions. 18

Thedecisiontostepbackfromthefamiliarandexamineasubjectafreshissupportedbyhistoricaland experimental perspectivessimultaneously.Adiscontentwithequal temperamenthasledanumber of composerstodevelopnewinstruments,notations,andmodelstosupportexplorationsofharmonythatare accurateratherthanapproximate,andrevealalimitlesspotentialofrelationships. LarryPolanskyisanAmericancomposer,guitarist,andtheorist,andhispublishingworkwithFrog PeakMusic is a reflectionand perpetuationofhis engagementwithcurrentexperimental work. He

dedicatedforjim,ben,andlou(1995)tothreecomposerswhomadesignificantexplorationsofharmonic

relationships: James Tenney, Ben Johnston, and Lou Harrison. The first piece, “Preamble,” is an explorationoftheharmonicseries,apreoccupationofTenney’s.“Thepiece,”Polanskywrites,“isa continualmodulationthroughthethreeharmonicseries,achievedby‘replacing’notesfromoneseries withthoseoftheother.”Thespecifictuningswithinoneharmonicseriesareexploredandmadeto interlockwithanother.Thesereplacementshaveaneffectthatisinsomewaysanalogoustoatonal modulation,butthechangeisbasedonretuningnotestoconformtoanew fundamental,rather than recenteringwithinthesametuning.Theseshiftshavearefreshingeffect.Theentiregroundoftheharmony hasshifted,likeawindthathaschangeddirections.Thesamemusicalmaterialsareatplay,buttheyare beingmoved differently. “The World’s LongestMelody(‘The Ever-WideningHalfstep’)” relates to Harrison’sworkwithprecisetuningratios.Thetwopagesoftuningcharts,showingtheratiosandcents

foreachnotetobeplayedbytheguitarandtheharp,layouttheprojectclearly.Withinthepiecethereis noalterationoftuning,butthefocusisinsteadonthemelody,whichcarriesonunbrokenforsixminutesin therecordedversion.Thesecondpieceinthesetisalsotunedaccordingtoratiosandtheircorresponding centmeasurements,butthefocusisonthethemeandvariationsformthatisfavoredbyBenJohnston. 19 Johnston’sworkrevealsaloveformelody—seeminglyendless,spun-outmelodiesofhisowncreation, as well as familiar tunes. His innovations in harmonic language interlock with these tunes with astonishing results. String Quartet No. 4 (The Ascent, “Amazing Grace”) (1973) is a theme and variations form that explores multiple types of tuning, presenting and juxtaposing them based on

increasingly complex ratio relationships. In the first variation, using Pythagorean tuning, harmonic

resourcesaredeterminedaccordingtopureoctaveand5threlationships—frequencyproportionsoftwo

andthree.Thethirdvariationaddsinthefrequencyratiosroughlycorrespondingtothemajorthird,minor third,majorsixth,andminorsixthasconsonances.VariationIVintroduceseightratiosthatdepartfromthe commonlyunderstoodintervalsinequaltemperament,andthesoundworldisperceptiblyexpanded. Johnstonmirrorsthepitchrelationshipswithrhythmicrelationships,transparentlymappingbothbased onproportions. 20 Thethemeandvariationsformlendsitselfwelltothisharmonicalternationbetween familiarityanddifference.Itflickersbetweenthosestates,mirroringthewell-knownlineof“Amazing Grace,”“IoncewaslostbutnowI’mfound,”withitsrecurrentmelodicwayposts,andmoresignificantly, “wasblindbutnowIsee,”initsrevealingofharmonicrelationshipsthathavebeenobscuredthroughthe prevalentuseofequaltemperament.

JamesTenney’sDiapason(1996)forchamberorchestraisnamedinrelationtotheWebsterdefinition,

afulldeepoutburstofsound,”andanearlierdefinitionofasetof

“aburstofharmonioussound

pitchesthatmightfillanoctave.Tenney’smeansoffillingtheoctaveiswithseventeenpartialsofalow fundamental.ThereisaradianceandinevitabilityinTenney’spresentationofthismaterial,descendingat theclimaxintolowerpartialsandgraduallyreturningtotheopeninghighregisterattheend. 21 Manyof Tenney’sotherworksusejustintonationinvariousways,includingthelesstransparentSpectrumPieces (1995,2001)thatarecomposedalgorithmicallythroughsoftwarethathedesigned. 22 Spectral CANON for CONLON Nancarrow (1974), for player piano, equates pitchand rhythmic relationships ina highlysystematic and discernible way. 23 The voices ofthe canoneachcontaina

harmonicofA1.Thepianohasbeenretunedsothattheseharmonicrelationshipswillbeaccurate.As

RobertWannamaker explains, “The music undergoes a gradual progressionfromstarksimplicityto chaoticcomplexityviaconcurrentincreasesintempo,registralcompass,numberofsoundingvoices, polyrhythmic complexity, and harmonic complexity.” 24 The perfectly synchronized acceleration of harmonicandrhythmiccomplexityiscompelling. PhilipCornerdevelopedamusicalvocabularythatderivedfromhisfascinationwiththegamelan.

GamelanCONCERT!O(1987),likeTenney’sSpectralCANON,equatespitchratioswithrhythmicratios

inexhilarating,layeredaccelerations.“Welllaidoutkeys,systematicallytunedscales,seemedtoaskfor somethingcomparablystructured.Thusrationaltimingswereintroduced,leadingtoanintricateweb connecting pitches and durations—and sometimes other parameters.” These principles are further

abstractedinGamelanANTIPODE(1984),whichoperatesthroughthejuxtapositionofextremes:high

andlow,shortandlong,softandloud.Eachplayerindependentlyjuxtaposestheseattributesatwillin

givencombinations.Cornerwritesthatthispiece“showstheclearest,andmostaustere,manifestationof itsprinciples.” 25 JuliusEastman’sCrazyNigger (1978) is for anynumber ofsimilar instruments, and is organized throughoutitsnearlyhour-longdurationasatypeof“organicmusic.”Eastmanclarifieshisuseoftheterm organic:“There’sanattempttomakeeverysectioncontainalloftheinformationoftheprevioussections, orelsetakingoutinformationatagradualandlogicalrate.” 26 Thelastsectionofthepieceisavertical presentationofthisorganicismusingaharmonicseriesbuiltonalowC#.TheC#fundamentalincludes alloftheeighteenovertoneswhicharesequentiallypresentedaboveit.(Additionalmusiciansarrive onstagetofillouttheensembleforthissection.)Furthermore,therhythmicratiosoftherepeatednotesare (liketheTenneyandCornerexamples)analogoustothepitchrelationships.Thesepitchandrhythmic relationshipsareunlikelytobeprecise,giventhelogisticsoftheperformance,buttheapproximationin thisrichcontextisstunninginitstexturaleffect.Eastmandefendedhiscontroversialtitle(andthoseof

twootherpiecesinthe1980Northwesternconcert)saying:

thatthing

whichisfundamental,thatpersonorthingthatattainstoabasicness,afundamentalness,andeschews

ThereasonIusethatparticularwordisbecauseformeithasa

basicnessaboutit

thatthingwhichissuperficialor,canwesay,elegant.

Inmusical terminology, the overtone series is literallybuilt ona fundamental. Throughthe use of persistentrepeatednotes,Eastmanhimselfeschewssuperficiality,orsurfacedetail.Theculminationof thissubstantialpieceinafull-bodiedharmonicseriesisamajorstatementthatisinextricablylinkedto thetitle. 27 AndréO.Möller works withthemoreexactfrequencies ofaharmonicseries,exploringboththe

regularitiesandtheirregularitiesofitspresentationinblue/dense(2003)forflute.Therearefoursections

ofthepiece,eachdrawingfromthesamearchitectureandcontent.Hewrites:

Thepieceisakindofanalysisoftheovertoneregionfromthefifthtotheseventhpartialsandthe correspondingregionsoneandtwooctavesabove(10thto14th,20thto28thpartials). 28

Thereisonesoloflute,andsomeofitstonesareplayedbackatdefinedintervals.Möllercallsforthese

sounds to be amplified, which makes difference and additive tones clear, putting these “sonic

peculiarities

complexcloudofharmoniesdevelops. 29

musikfürorgelundeine(n)tonsetzer(in)(2003)alsousessustainedtonesinwhole-numberedratios,

underamagnifyingglass.”Thegenerativematerialissimplystated,butastartlingly

but withthe organit is possible to include lower frequencies as well. The chords are massively sustained,andaredrawnfromthepitchesthataresixorfewercentsfromawhole-numberratiowitha

32HzCfundamental.Theorgan’spitches,evenonasingletone,seemtopulsateindegreesofpresence,

andthecomplexofpitchesthatresultsfromtheinteractionofpitchesneverlosesitsrichnessoverthefull durationoftheCD. 30 BrianOlewnickwrites:

Itbegins[with]afantasticallychurning,hyper-denseandrichchord,somethingonecouldsimplylollin forever.Aboutfiveminutesin,however,there’sabrightsplashofachord,brilliantandsurprising, whichaddsawholeotherrealmofpossibilities.It’sjustanenormityofsound,fillingeverynookand crannyofone’sauralspace,enveloping. 31

Theharmoniesderivedthroughthesenaturalrelationshipshaveapowerfulandvisceralimpact. CatherineLambhasstudiedbothexperimentalandHindustaniclassicalmusicinrelationto“elemental tonalmaterial”andjustintonation. 32 SingingbyNumberswasacollectiveformedbetween2009and 2011inLosAngelestofindwaysofexploringharmonicratiorelationshipsbetweenfemalevoices. 33

Lamb’sShapesof3and5(2010)beginswithaunisontuningbetweentwosingers,thenamovement

awayfromoneanotherwithinthespace.Eachoftheothersingersapproachesoneofthefirsttwosingers

andsingsina5:4ora3:2relationshiptothefundamentalbeforemovingtoanewlocation.Thatsinger’s

pitchthenbecomesthenewfundamentalintheirnewsite.Thephysicalandharmonicspaceismapped accordingtotheseoldandnewfundamentals. 34

JohnP.HastingsdescribesTheRocketshipinLangleyPark(2009)as“akindofreverseengineeringof

branchingharmony.”ThefundamentalofAisfinallypresentedaloneinits440Hzregisterandtuning.A

compositionaldecisiontofunneldowntothelowregisteroftheactualfundamentalwouldhavelimited theinstrumentationtoonlythelowestinstruments,wherewiththisapproach,thecenterofthetreeisina neutralrangeandcanbespunoutbyalmostanyoftheparticipatinginstruments.Theopeningofthispiece isacomplexandvibrantchord,andthegradualremovaloftheseharmonicbranchesseemsonlyto increasethatvibrancyoverthecourseofthepiece. 35 WalterZimmermann,whopublishedabookofinterviewswithAmericancomposersalignedwiththe experimentaltraditioncalledDesertPlants(1976), 36 hasanactiveinterestinothermusicaltraditionsas well, and combines these pursuits inhis work. The 10 Frankische Tänze (1977) are “sublimated” transcriptionsofFranconiandancesforstringquartetusingonlynaturalharmonics.Zimmermannsetup thisbrittleyetoddlypleasingsoundthroughtheuseofscordatura(retuning)onthefourstrings,bywhich

hewasabletouse64naturalharmonics.Thedisciplineandcareinvolvedfrombothcomposerand

performerscreateareproductionofsortsthatis,dependingonthelisteningperspective,eitherdistorted orpurified.Itisdistortedinthesensethatthemelodiesarenowshrillandseemtocomefromanewand strangelocation.Theywouldlikelybequitedifficulttodanceto,unliketheoriginalfolkmusic.Theyare purifiedinaharmonicsense:themelodiesnowconformtojustintonation.Zimmermanncallstheresulta “nature-culturefriction.” 37

Inmaterial/highlight(2013/14),CatherineLambsetsupaseparatescordaturaforeachofthestring

instrumentsandthennotatestheirpartssolelyasnaturalharmonics.Whilethisapproachseemstobe paralleltoZimmermann’sapproach,itisnotdoneinrelationtoexistingmelodies,butinsteadtoestablish otherharmonicrelationships,whicharefurtherenhancedbyapedaltoneanda“highlightingensemble.” 38 Whilemuchhasbeendone(andremainstobedone)withtheharmonicseries,ExtendedJustIntonation (EJI) is an exploration of the possibilities of harmony when considered as precise but malleable proportional relationships amongfrequencies. Itis essentiallyaffirmative, warm, and invitinginits character,andopentoanapparentlyinfiniterangeofnewdevelopments.Theonethingthatisdirectly negatedinitsexplanationsisequaltemperament.Tobrieflyexplain,thedivisionoftheoctaveintotwelve equalpartsisamoreorlessarbitrarycompromisetoallowforeasymodulationonaninstrumentsuchas thepiano.HarryPartchwasahugeinfluenceonthissetofpractices.Hebuilthisowninstrumentsto includeaforty-three-notescale,reflectingatypeofjustintonation.Theseinstrumentswerepartofhis

solutiontothetuningconstraintsofkeyboardinstruments,buttheyposedmanychallengesoftheirownin

transport,maintenance,andreplication.LouHarrisonfollowedhisleadinbuildinghisowngamelansin

justintonation,whichhewouldoftenpairwithspeciallytunedWesterninstruments.BenJohnstonalso

workedwithPartch,butwasattemptingtodosomethingverydifferent.

HarrywasouttoprovetomethatifItriedtoadaptthetuningofearlymusic,thatis,musiccomposed

thatIwouldgetbadresults.

AndIsaid,why?Andhesaid,well,youtakethisandsetittomusic,anduseyourjustintonationandtry

todoitthewayyoutoldme,andwe’llseewhathappens.SoIdidthat.AndIdiscoveredthatIwas goingtobedroppingbyasyntoniccommafairlyoften.ButIfiguredoutawaytogetaroundthat,by usingobliqueconnections betweenonenoteofonechordandanother noteofthenextchord,and connectingthechordsinsuchawayastobypassthatproblem. 39

UnlikeSpectralismandotherrelatedworksthatstartwiththeanalysisoftheharmoniccomponentsof

particularsounds,ortheuse,asinLaMonteYoung’sTheWell-TunedPiano,oftheextendedharmonic

seriesbasedonaverylowfundamental,thepractitionersofEJIapproachharmonyasachangingand

developingharmoniclandscape.Theiconicandpracticalrepresentationofthisapproachisalattice.The

functionofthelatticeissuccinctlyexplainedbyJamesTenney:

Althoughthepitch-heightaxisiseffectivelycontinuous,harmonicspaceitselfisnot.Instead,itconsists ofadiscontinuousnetworkorlatticeofpoints.AdistancemeasurewhichIcallharmonicdistancecan bedefinedbetweenanytwopointsinthisspaceasproportionaltothesumofthedistancestraversedon ashortestpathconnectingthem(i.e.alongthelinesegmentsshowninthefigures). 40

Whileintemperedmusicthelatticewillquicklyandinevitablyloopbacktoincludethesamepitch classes,thisisnotthecaseinEJI.Thescopeofharmonicrelationshipsitispossibletoprojectwithinthis frameworkispotentiallyinfinite.Thelatticeisamappingofharmonicterritoriesbasedonrelationships rather than fixed pitches. Once some initial compositional decisions are made, however, these relationshipscanbetranslateddirectlyintofrequencies.

somecenturiesago,butwithintheEuropeantraditionofwritingmusic

Figure 2.1 JamesTenney:JohnCageandtheTheoryofHarmony,figure1“The2,3planeofharmonicspace,showingthepitch-height

Figure 2.1JamesTenney:JohnCageandtheTheoryofHarmony,figure1“The2,3planeofharmonicspace,showingthepitch-height projectionaxis.”©JamesTenneyEstate

projectionaxis.”©JamesTenneyEstate Figure 2.2 JamesTenney:JohnCage andthe

Figure 2.2JamesTenney:JohnCage andthe TheoryofHarmony,figure 2“The 2,3plane ofharmonic space,showingthe pitch-class projectionaxis.”©JamesTenneyEstate

MarcSabatisacomposer,violinist,andprominentadvocateofEJI.Heexplainsthatin“Harmoniumfor

BenJohnston,”thefourthmovementofhisEulerLatticeSpiralsScenery(2011),heshapesalarge

sectionofsuchalattice(ninety-ninedistinctpitchclasses)intoaprogressionofmajorandminortriads thateachoccuronlyonceuntilthemiddleofthepiece,atwhichpointtheyarepresentedinretrograde inversion.Headds,“Thetriadsareorderedinsuchawaythatallpossiblecommon-toneprogressionsare explored,andalsothattheprogressionoftriadswhichopensthepiecerecursinthemiddleofthe movement,transposedupwardbytwocommas.” 41 Despiteitsintenselyharmonicconception,thispiece operatesinnowayasachorale,butisfullyanddelicatelycomposedoutintexturesthataddfurther expressiveimplicationstotheharmonies. 42 RobinHayward is a tuba player, composer, and improviser who has developed bothinstrumental resources(themicrotonaltuba)andvisualizationresourcestoenablerefinedharmonicexplorations.His seriesofrepresentationsoftheharmoniclatticeinfullcolorandmultipledimensionsreflectitsattributes andmakeitmoreimmediatelyusefultohimselfandothersintheoretical,compositional,andperformative settings.Onemodelofthistuningvineismadewithachildren’sconstructiontoycalledZometool.“Each ballisfixedwithanradiofrequencyidentification(RFID)tag,whichmaybetriggeredbyanRFID ‘soundwand’receiver.” 43 Thesecondmajorversionofthetuningvineisasoftwareinterface.Eachprime numberhasauniqueangleandcolor,andpitch-heightmapstoverticalheightofthemodelonscreen. Chordscanbeconstructed,changed,ortransposedwithinthesoftware. 44

4 4 Figure2.3

Figure2.3ScreenshotoftheHaywardTuningVine.Thissoftwareisdownloadableathttp://www.tuningvine.com.©RobinHayward

Figure2.4 RobinHayward: StopTime score, http://robinhayward.de/eng/comp/stoptime2013.php .©RobinHayward

Figure2.4RobinHayward:StopTimescore,http://robinhayward.de/eng/comp/stoptime2013.php.©RobinHayward

Someoftheimagesdevelopedthroughthissystemareusedasscoresinthemselves.StopTime(2013)

isastructuredimprovisationthatcallsforthemusicianstoexploretheharmonicspaceofthescore. Additionally,throughtheuseofsurround-sound,“Harmonicspaceisprojectedovertimeontophysical space,thus‘stoppingtime’.” 45 Haywardmakestheharmoniclatticesimilarlytangibleinperformanceintwopiecesthatareprecursors

oftheTuningVine.StainedGlassMusic(2011)modelstheharmonicspaceinthreedimensionsthrough

theseatingofmusiciansthroughouttheperformancespace.Thepitchestheyplaymirrortheirphysical

placementinthehall.PlateauSquare(2011)usesasimilarconfigurationbasedonthelatticeandsends

thepitchesproducedthroughHayward’smicrotonaltubatooneoffourspeakersaccordingtotheprime

numberbasisoftheirratio.Heexplainsthatinthisspatializedlattice,

Intervalsbasedontheprimenumber3arealignedhorizontally,thosebasedontheprimenumber5are

alignedvertically,andthosebasedontheprimenumber7arealigneddiagonally.Thespacebetween

primenumber3and7,lyingbetweenthehorizontalanddiagonalaxes,isthereforedepictedasaseries

of ascendingplateaus. Plateau Square explores the harmonic space implicit within one of these plateaus,whilstprojectingitontothephysicalspaceoftheperformancearea. 46

Figure2.5 Scoreexcerptof StainedGlassMusic ©RobinHayward

Figure2.5ScoreexcerptofStainedGlassMusic©RobinHayward

WheretheHaywardTuningVineisanaidtoperformersandcomposersinmicrotonalpractices,these pieceskeyintotheharmonicstructureasalisteningexperience. Oneofthepremisesofequaltemperament’swidespreadadoptionisthatitallowsforeasymodulation betweenkeys.Anynotecanfunctioninvariouskeysandoperateasapivotbetweenkeys.InPlainsound

GlissandoModulation(2006–07),WolfgangvonSchweinitzhasestablishedanothermethodofchanging

pitchcenters,inwhichafrequencythatoperatesasapartialofonefundamentalpivotstobecomea differentpartialofadifferentfundamental. 47 Thismethodisanalogoustopivottonesintonalmusic,but byemployingthesepivotsasovertonesoftwodifferentfundamentals,ratherthanasmembersoftwo keys,theysetupachangeincontextthathasfarmorepossibilities.Whileaharmonicpivottonecould leadtoaboutsixothermajororminorkeys,anovertonepivotcouldbecomeanythingfromovertonetwo totwenty-one(thehighestharmonicvonSchweinitzemploysonthedoublebass)ofthenewfundamental.

FrankReinecke,whohasplayedandrecordedboththispieceandPlainsoundCounterpoint(2010–11),

writesthattherequirementofthismusicis“tobecomeradicallysensitizedtoanewqualityofconscious intonationallistening,”andthatindoingsoweareledinto“newharmonicdimensions.” 48 Itisnotonly thenumberofpossiblechanges,butalsothemagnitudeoftheseshiftsincontextthatissocompelling. Throughouttheentirepiece,thelistenerisinvitedintoarecurrentlyliminalstate.Thereareshortsnippets ofmaterial—usuallyalternatingbetweentwonotes—thatoperateatthresholds.Wehavepaused.Where arewegoingnow,andwherewillwebepositionedwithinthatnewspace?Landscapesandclimates openupfromonemomenttothenext.

JamesTenney’slastwork,ArborVitae(2006),isnotsuchanopenlandscape,butdrawsontheimageof

a tree. As Michael Winter explains, it“explores the progressionofsingle tonalities expandinginto multipletonalities.Theharmonicstructureofthepieceissimilartothewaytreebranchesemanatefrom otherbranches.” 49 Thisstructureispresentedinreverse:themostdistantharmonicareas,orbranches, openthepiece.Thewholetree,withallofitsharmoniccomplexity,ispresentedbytheendofthework.

Somethingisglimpsed,andthenpresentedmorefully.Thechordsattheendofthepiecearemore sonicallycomplexthantheopening,andatthesametimetheyaremorecoherent. ThiscontradictionissymbolicofthebroadertrendsofthinkingbehindEJI. 50 Consonanceandharmonic relationshipsareoftenassociatedwithsimplicity,conservatism,orevennaïveté.Whatthesecomposers have done is to address harmony froma mathematical standpoint without compromising based on traditionalWesternnotationorresources. 51 In2004,SabatandvonSchweinitzdevelopedasystemof accidentalscalledTheExtendedHelmholtz-EllisJIPitchNotationthatwrapsaroundtraditionalnotation butaccommodatestheheightenedspecificityofEJI. 52 Newapproachesareoutlinedanddevelopedto make this specificitypossible. Subjectto suchrigor, pitchand harmonybecome fertile grounds for imagination.It’slikethedifferencebetweenmakingformsoutofred,yellow,andbluebuildingblocks andmixingoilpaints.Newschemesofcolorsandrelationshipsbecomepossible.

2.3Playingwithnumbers

2.3Playingwithnumbers

Mathematicalandnumericpatternsandthesetsofpossibilitiesyieldedbycombinatoricshaveprovento bearichsourceofmusicalinquiryinthehandsoftheEnglishsystemscomposersandTomJohnson, among others. 53 Iannis Xenakis is important to mention in this respect also for his mapping of

mathematicalphenomenatomusicasoutlinedinFormalizedMusic(1963,translated1971).However,

the composers discussed here are generally engaged in far more simple and transparent types of translationofnumericobjectsandbehaviorstomusicalresults.AsMichaelParsonswritesoftheworkof systemscomposers,“Rationalproceduresareseennotasameansofcompletecontrol,butasamethodof inquiry:withinadefinedfield,furtherrelationshipscanbediscovered.” 54 Thiskindofworkcanhaveadidacticquality,particularlyinthepiecesthatTomJohnsonnarrates.The listeneristoldexactlywhatisgoingonstepbystep,andtheycanfollowtheprocessinthemusic,tothe pointthattheycanjudgewheretheyareinthepiecebasedonwhatisbeingnarratedandwhatisunfolding

inthework.SomeexamplesincludeFailing,AVeryDifficultPieceForSoloStringBass(1975)(which

isanarrationofaperformativeprocess,ratherthanamathematicalproblem),BedtimeStories(1985),

EggsandBaskets(1987),andSquares:didacticmusicforasoloinstrument(2008).InNarayana’s

Cows(1989),listenersareeveninvitedtodothecalculationsalongtheway.Thepremiseofthepieceis

transparentlymappedtotheformofthepiece,andincludesallitsdetails—inthiscase,themultiplication

ofcowsovergenerations,eachgenerationbeingrepresentedbyalowerpitch.Thefocusturnsawayfrom

thecomposer’sdecisionstotheactualfunctioningofthepatternitself.Itisauniqueexperiencetohear

thisprocessunfoldintime,ratherthanasanumericpatternthatcanbetakenininamoment.Thepointis

nottolearnsomething,buttoconsiderit,tofindthebeautyinitsoperationandinhowitplaysout.

Whentheprocessissotransparent,somelistenersmayquestionjusthowmuchcreativityorhowmuch

workwentintotheformationofthework.Intuition,work,andcreativityareallsignificantlyatplay,but

notatthesamelevelthatalistenerisaccustomedtolocatingthem.Thecomposer’sworkisnotapparent

inthemoment-to-momentunfoldingofthepiece,sincethatwasclearlydeterminedbytherulesofthe process.ThewholepiecehasaDNA,awayoffunctioningthatcomesstraightfromthecomposer,who determineswhatpatternswillbeinteresting,overwhatscaleoftime,andhowexactlytheyaretobe translatedasmusicalelements.Atacertainpointthemusicalobjectissetintomotion,nolongerunderthe controlofitsoperatorbutsimplyplayingoutitstrajectory,asagolfballorbaseballorbasketballsetin motion. Howard Skemptonand Michael Parsons were the founders, alongwithCornelius Cardew, ofthe

ScratchOrchestrain1969.BothSkemptonandParsons,alongwithfellowmemberChristopherHobbs,

havesincebeenassociatedwithsystemsmusic.InSlowWaltz(1973),aone-pagepieceforpianothree

hands, Skempton presents a highly distilled set of materials in every possible combination. The accompanimentalternatesbetweentwopairsofnoteseveryfourbars.Intheupperpart,afour-note melodicconfigurationispresentedinfourbarsandrepeated.Twobarsfromtheaccompanimentoffset thoseeightbars,sotherelationshipbetweenthemelodyandaccompanimentchangesateveryrepetition ofthemelodicphrase.Therearethreeofthesetwo-notedescendingmelodicfigures,eachpickingup exactlywherethelastoneleftoff.Thispiece,initsbrevityanditsharmonicandrhythmicsimplicity, gives the impressionofbeinga simple surface. Butas Michael Parsons writes, “The simplicityis deceptive:correspondencesanddistinctionsarerevealedpreciselybecausethematerialissolimited.” 55

WithineachofParsons’SixPiecesinCounterrhythm(1974),eachsectionhasafixednumberofbeats,

whichisthemetermultipliedbythenumberofbarsandthenumberofrepetitions.Eachparthasthesame numberofbeatspersection,butallofthecomponentparts(meter,bars,repetitions)aredifferent.Asa result,thealignmentbetweenthepartsshiftswitheachrepetition,andwhatappearsonthepagetobe repetitionactuallyincludesnorepetitionintheaggregate.Startingwiththeinitialcalculationofthetotal numberofbeats,Parsonshasusedapparentlysimplemeanstoachieveacomplex,constantlyevolvingset ofrhythmicrelationshipsbetweentheparts.Parsonswritesthatthereis“noplannedcoordinationof details,”butthesystemallowsthiscomplexitytorevealitselfthroughouteachsection. 56 Theformofapieceisoftendeterminedinsuchawaybythesecomposers.Aparticularprocessplays outwithadefinedsetofobjects,andthatisthework.ChristopherHobbsdescribeshissudokupieces,

includingSudoku82(2008),inthisway.“IchoosethesoundsIwantandtheoverallduration,butthenlet

thenumbersdeterminewhatgoeswhere,howmanytimes,howlong,howmuchsilence,andsoon.” 57 The Sudokuseriestakesthesenumbersfromhexadecimal(sixteen-number)sudokupuzzles,incombination

withrandomnumbergenerators.Thesonicresult,especiallyinthecaseofSudoku82,isnottetheredtoa

senseofformorunfoldingormoment-to-momentintention,butseemstoswimfreelywithinthepoolof

materialsthatwereinitiallychosen.Sinceallofthelocaldecisionsaremadebythenumbersorgrids,

whichintheirowninternalsystemsallowforvirtuallyanypossibility,attentionisdirectedawayfromthe

localtotheglobal.

TwootherBritishcomposersofayoungergenerationsharethisinterestinprocess,buthaveconversely

useditsclarityofdirectiontofocusattentiononunstabledetailsofexecution.IndiscussinghisLogical

Harmoniesrelease,RichardGloverwrites:

Intermsoftherealisationoftheseprocesses,Ionlyeveranticipateforthemtobeperformedbyhuman

performers(onspecificsoundsources),suchthattheindividualnatureofthatperformer/ensemble’s

approachwillberevealed,andbecomeacentralfocusoftheexperience. 58

JohnLelydescribesTheHarmonicsofRealStrings(2006/13)as“averyslowglissandoalongthefull

length of one bowed string” with light finger pressure. His interest is in “the variety of sounds, correspondencesandexperiencesthatcanemergethroughtheuseoflimitedsetsofmusicalbuilding blocks,” 59 andthatisdemonstratedinthemultiplerealizationsofthispiece. 60 Another applicationofmathematical practices is inthe use ofcombinatorialityto determine what pitchesshouldbepresented,andinsomecases,inwhatorder.Combinatorialityisaknownpracticein

12-tonetechniques,andthatismostlydistinctfromtheseusessinceitisoverlaidonanentirelydifferent

systemicconstructionoftonerows.Theanalyseswithinmusicalsettheoryoftenlooksimilartothese explanations,buttheirapplicationisdifferent.

PermutationsareusedinadifferentwayinTomJohnson’spiecefororgancalled55Chords(2009),

whichhe writes was “based onthe combinatorial design(11,4,6). As one candetermine fromthe

numbers,itinvolves11elements(11notesinthescale),fourelements(fournotesineachchord),and

eachpair comes together sixtimes.” 61 Fromthis startingpoint, Johnsongoes onto make eighteen speculativedrawingsofthepossiblerelationshipsbetweenthesechords.Eachofthesedrawingshasa distinctpatternandmethodology,andiscarefullydescribedinPlayingwithNumbers. 62 Ashelater discovered,

Eachdrawingcould be somehow pushed and pulled and twisted into one ofthe other drawings. Mathematicallytheyareallequal,whichistosaythattheyareallmorphismsofoneanother.Ifthiswere

amathematicsbook,Iwouldhavetoeliminate10ofthese11drawings,butsincewearejust“lookingat

numbers,”I’llleavethemallin.It’snotonlythetruththatmatters.Variationsofthetrutharefascinating aswell. 63

Inwhatappearstobethemosttransparentandmethodicalmethodpossible,asistypicalofJohnson’s approach,hissolutionistotransposeeachoffivebasicchordseleventimes. 64 Throughaprocessof drawingandanalysis,hearrivedataseriesofconfigurationsofconnectionsbetweenchordsthathefound mathematicallyandmusicallysatisfying. JohnsoncreditstheDutchpianistandcomposerSamuelVriezenwithhisdiscoveryofthemusicaluses ofblockdesigns,whichcomeoutofthefieldofcombinatorics.ForVriezen,itwasalimitedprojectover afewpieces,whichheseesastakingafullerforminJohnson’swork.Hisarrivalattheuseofblock

designsforTheWeatherRiots(2002)isquiteinterestinginhisownnarration.

Myproblemwasthis:allthemotivesinTheWeatherRiots(eachwithitsowncontour&metricalfeel) haveasimilarharmonicstructure,beingallbasedonfivenotes.ThetimestructureinTheWeatherRiots wassupposednottobeabouthierarchicalrelationsbetweentheharmonies.Thatbeinggiven,how couldIfindharmonicfamiliesthatwouldrelatechordstooneanotherinaminimallyhierarchicalway —i.e.notwochordsweresupposedtohavea“stronger”relationthananyotherpair,sothatany progressionwouldhavethesamestructuralmeaning—whilealsoallowingforamaximumofvariation ofharmonicquality—sothattheharmonicfeelofthepiecewouldhavesomething“chancy”aboutit? Blockdesignswerethesolutiontotheproblem.InTheWeatherRiots,everythingisbasedoneleven setsoffivepitchclasses(youcouldsay“chords”),witheverytwosuchchordshavingexactlytwonotes incommon. 65

Inthispiece,then,theblockdesignservesasanequalizeramongharmonicrelationships.TomJohnson describesadistinctbenefitofthissortofmathematicalsolution:“Thenicethingaboutthisarrangement foracomposeristhewaythemusicstaysonanevenkeel.Itjustkeepsflyingalongatonealtitude.” 66 The musicalflowofTheWeatherRiotshasatrajectorythatisdetermined,notbyharmony,butinsteadby elementslikearticulationandtexture,whicharemorespontaneouslyinthehandsoftheperformersand theirlocal-leveldecisions. 67 JohnsonrelatesthatafterhearingTheWeatherRiots,hespokewithVriezenabouttheresourceshehad used,andthenwasdirectedbyamathematicianfriendtocombinatorialandblockdesigns.Thefirst musicalresultofhisowninvestigationwasapiececalledKirkman’sLadies(2005),namedafter a mathematicalproblemwiththesamename:

Fifteenyoungladiesinaschoolwalkoutthreeabreastforsevendaysinsuccession;itisrequiredto arrangethemdailysothatnotwoshallwalktwiceabreast. 68

Theproblemwassubsequentlyextendedtoaskifall455three-ladycombinations(5perday)couldbe

achievedoverthirteenweeks.Johnsontookthissolutionandtranslateditintomusicalfigures.Eachlady

becameanoteofafifteen-notescale,andthethree-ladygroupingsbecamethree-notechordsinafive-

chordphrase.Eachnewweek,andthenday,isannouncedbythenarrator,followedbyeachofthesesets of unique chords. 69 Anearlier piece of Johnson’s, The Chord Catalogue (1985) explores a more

straightforwardquestion:Howmanychordsaretherewithinanoctave?Theansweris8,178.These

chordsaremethodicallypresentedinasolopianopiece.Foralmosttwentyyears,Johnsonwastheonly

pianisttotouchthepiece,andaftermuchpracticegottheperformancedowntoanhour.Vriezen,inwhat

provedtobethebeginningoftheirfriendship,learnedthepieceandperformeditinunderhalfanhour,in

whathereferstoas“aspectacularroller-coasterride.”Johnsonrelates:

I’veoftensaid,Idon’twanttocomposethemusic.Iwanttofindit.AndTheChordCatalogueismaybe

theverybestexampleofthat,becauseIdidn’tfindthechromaticscaleof13notes.Ididn’tfindthatall

thecombinationsaddupto8,178.Ijustgotinterestedinthisphenomenonandwantedtolearnhowto

playit. 70

Numbers are bothfascinatinganduseful intheir representations ofbehaviors andpossibilities.The approachesthateachofthesecomposerstaketousingnumericalpatternsforcompositionaredistinct,and themusicalgamesandprocessesthatnumbersallowareessentiallyinfinite.

2.4Learningbymaking “Composingformeisbuilding.”

2.4Learningbymaking

“Composingformeisbuilding.”

—GordonMumma 71

Therapidadvanceoftechnologyhasbeenbothahelpandachallengetomusicalexploration.Processes

cannowbeeasilyautomatedthathadnotbeendreamedofinpriordecades.Butwheredoesthatleave peoplewhoareinterestedinthequestions,instabilities,andchallengesattheheartoftheconstruction process?Theyturnawayfromgivensolutions,optingtobemakersratherthanconsumers.Indoingso, theylocatemuchofthecreativeprocessintheconstructionorrepurposingoftheirinstruments.

DavidBehrmanwasamemberofagroupthatwasactivefrom1966to1976calledtheSonicArts

Union,alongwithAlvinLucier,GordonMumma,andRobertAshley.Theyeachhaddifferentprojects,

butworkedcollaborativelytoseeeachother’sworkthrough.Behrmaniscommittedtoado-it-yourself

model.Hewrites:

OneoftheearliestlessonsIlearned—itwasbackintheNineteen-FiftiesanditcamefromJohnCage andDavidTudor—wasthatthedistinctionbetweeninstrument-buildersandperformingmusicianscould beerasedaltogether.SomeoftheearlypiecesbyJohnCage,likeWaterWalkandCartridgeMusic,used instrumentsthatwereeithernewly-inventedor“borrowed”fromtheeverydayworld.AndintheSixties, fromDavidTudorandGordonMummaIlearnedthatyoudidn’thavetohaveanengineeringdegreeto buildtransistorizedmusiccircuits.DavidTudor’samazingmusicwasbasedpartlyoncircuitshedidn’t evenunderstand.Helikedthesoundstheymade,andthatwasenough. 72

Therearetwokeypointshere:(1)InBehrman’sview,makingismaking,whetheritismakingmusicor

makinganinstrument.Theconstructionofaninstrumentcanbeasignificantpartofthemusicalprocess.

(2)Youdon’thavetoknowwhatyou’redoing.Theprocessandtheresultarenotinvalidatedbyaninitial

lackofexpertise, butcanbecome evenmore interestingas a resultofbehaviors thatare notfully understood.It’sfinetobeanamateurbuilder,ortomakesomethingthatwillbehaveinunforeseenways. GordonMummawasapioneerinbuildingcircuitryformusicalperformance.Inadditiontohisown work,hecreatedthesekindsofsystemsforJohnCageandDavidTudor,andinstructedBehrmanonhow tomakehisown.Hewaswellawarethatinmanyofthesecases,whathebuiltwasnotusedasdesigned.

Hedidn’tknowwhatthatwas,buthehadusedonethatI

Andhehadthisthing,andhe

wasn’tusingitthewayitwasdesignedforuse.Therewereacertainnumberofinputsandacertain

numberofoutputs,andhehadoutputspluggedintoinputs,andhehadinputsgoingintooutputs,andother

thingsthathadnothingtodowiththeoriginalconceptionofit,ofwhatitwasfor.Buthehadawhole

thinggoing.Hehadaspectacularmusicalthinggoing.Andit’snotthathemisunderstoodme.Therewas nomisunderstandingatall. 73

MummawasnomoreinterestedthanTudorwasindoingsomething“correctly,”andhedwelledonthe drasticmisuseofthematerialshehadhandedoverasapositivedevelopment.Thecircuits,whetherused inatextbookwayornot,offeranarrayofpossiblecombinationsandinteractions.AsMichaelNyman

writesofMumma’spiececalledHornpipe(1967),theroleoftheconsolecircuitryisto

monitorthehornresonancesintheperformancespaceandadjustitselftocomplementtheseresonances. Duringthisadjustmentcertaincircuitsbecomeunbalancedandattempttorebalancethemselves;andin theprocessvariouscombinationsoccurwhichproducepurelyelectronicsoundresponses thismusicalresultisnotprogrammeddefinitivelybutdependsfinallyontheinteractionofthe opennessofthe(gate-controlled)circuitsandtheunaccountableacousticsoftheconcerthall,thewhole chainbeingsetinmotionbythesoundsofthehorn,whichareheardintheirturntransformed. 74

Imade

acircuitforDavidTudoronce

hadmadeforsomebodyelseandhewantedmetomakehimone

AsMummaexplainsit,theconstructionofthispiecebeganwiththesoundofthehorn.

Theelectronicthingsthatcamefromthatweresomewhatcoincidentaluntilthepiecegotunderway. Thenfromoneperformancetoanother,IbegantounderstandwhatIcoulddoelaboratelywiththe electroniccircuitry. 75

Theprocessisoneoftrialanderror,seeingwhatworksmosteffectivelyinagivenconfigurationbased onthematerialsthatarealreadyathand. David Behrmansays of his Music with Melody-Driven Instruments (1976) that the custom-built circuitryengagesinacycleofreactionswiththepitchesthatarepresent.“Theformofthemusiciskind ofaslowunfoldingofthepossibilitiesinthesystem,startingwithlesspossibilitiesandendingupwith themost.” 76 As itunfolds inthe performance documented inMusic with Roots in the Aether, the musiciansbecomemoreandmoreattunedtotheworkingsofthissystem,andarecarriedalongwiththe transformationtoagreatercomplexity.Butthereisakindofstillnessorstasisintheperformancetoo,as iftheperformersaremoreinvolvedinlisteningtoresults,totheoperationofthesystem,thantheyarein actuallyproducingsound.Theparticipantsarediscoveringthebehavioroftheentiretyofthesystem together. Behrmanquicklylearnedthevalueofsuchhandmademusicinhislifeasacomposer.Ratherthan “askingfavors”ofothermusicians,hemuchpreferred“theself-reliantfeelingofperformingoneself,and ofusinghomemadeinstrumentstocreatesoundsthatnohumanearshadeverbeforeexperienced!” 77 He recallsbeingtoldbyanengineerthathisworkwithcircuitstomakemusicwasfoolish,because“without anengineeringbackground,Icouldn’tpossiblyworkwiththosethings.” 78 Thecrucialdifferencebetween Behrman’sworkandthisviewpointisthatBehrmanwasnotlookingforaspecificcauseandeffector predictableoutcome.“HarunaMiyakeoncespokeofmypiecesas‘unfinishedcompositions’andIthink that’saninsightfuldescription,”hesays. 79 FigureinaClearing(1977) setupasetofinteractions

betweenaKim-1(aprecursortotheAppleII),ahomemadesynthesizer,andalivemusician.Hewrote

thatthemusician’s“only‘score’wasalistof6pitchestobeusedinperformance,andarequestthathe

notspeedupwhenthecomputer-controlledrhythmdid.” 80 Miyake’squoteisaccurate,inthesensethatthe pieceisfinished,oratleastadvanced,throughthecircumstancesofitsperformance.Thechoicesofthe performer, within certain restrictions, can be made spontaneously, and the interactions with the electronicsarealsospontaneous.Theresultswouldlikelyhavebeenfarlessinteresting—bothmore

restrictedandmorepredictable—withacommercialsynthesizer.Runthrough(1967–68)isanotherpiece

thatexistsonlyinitssetup.TomJohnsonreferredtothepieceas“actuallyjustacomplicatedsetofcheap

circuitry,”anddescribeditasfollows.

Several participants are allowed to improvise by activating photo cells with flashlights and manipulatingafew switches.Itmustbegreatfuntoplaythismusicalgame,andjudgingfromthe Mainstreamrecordingofthepiece,theraucousmusicwhichresultsisremarkablyinterestingjustto listentoatthesametime. 81

Themakingofone’sowninstrumentshasgoneonforagesatvariouslevelsofskillandcomplexity.Bart

HopkinrantheExperimentalMusicalInstrumentsjournalfrom1985–99,documentingavastamountof

theworkthathasbeendonealongtheselinesbyprofessionalmusicians,andduringthattimeandsince

has published instructional books including Musical Instrument Design (1999), Making Musical

InstrumentswithKids(2009),andSlapTubesandOtherPlosiveAerophones(2007).

Hopkinhascreatedhundredsofinstruments,andhasbeenengagedintheexplorationofthatentire universeofpossibilities.Notasmuchtimecanbedevotedtorefiningatechnique,butthatisnothisfocus. Conversely,EllenFullman’spracticerevolvescompletelyaroundthe“longstringinstrument”whichshe hasdeveloped.Wiresarestretchedacrossaspacebetweentworesonators,andsheplaysthemwith rosinedfingersassheslowlywalksdownthepathoftheinstrument.Itsdevelopmentinvolvednumerous collaborationsovermorethanadecade,allofwhicharecreditedinherartiststatement.Therefinement ofhertechnique,therefinementoftheinstrument,andherpracticeasacomposerarecloselyintertwined activities.Shewrites,“Practicingonmyowninstrumentandwithnotraditiontofollow,Idiscovereda newsound.” 82 A number of people have engaged in creating or modifying instruments as acts of combination. Sometimesthemechanismofanexistinginstrumentisreplicatedwithnewsetsofmaterials,asFrédéric LeJunterdoeswithhismachinessonoresinstallationpieces,emulatingobjectssuchasrecordplayers andxylophoneswithrough,automatedmechanismsandavarietyofmaterials.Hiscarillonusesrecord playerstospinsuspendedpiecesofwood,causingthemtostrikeflowerpots.“Thewholeiscarriedout withanonadvancedtechnology,”hewrites,“inaratherroughanddubiousway.” 83 Thesereplicationsare notmeanttobeefficient,buttoyieldunpredictableresultsoutofbasicmaterials.Headds,“Icannotplay asamasterwithbutratherwithakindofinstability,surprises.” 84 LaurieAnderson’stape-bowviolinisahybridofthestructureofthetraditionalviolinwithmagnetic cassettetapeusedinplaceofbowhair,andthetapeheadmechanismusedasthebridge. 85 AkioSuzuki hasmadeinstrumentsoutofbasicmaterials.TheAnapalosismadeoutofspiralcordsandcylinders,and heusesitasauniqueandsurprisingresonator.DeKoolmeesisareconceivedxylophone—glasstubes suspendedoveraframethatheactivatesthroughrubbingandspinning. 86 HughDaviescreatedhisowninstrumentsoutofeverydayobjects,andthenamplifiedtheminthecontext ofimprovisation.Daviesisalsoknownforhisdocumentationofearlyelectronicmusic,but“theonly ‘electronics’ involved in the vast majority of his instruments was amplification.” 87 Davies taught workshopstochildrenonhowtobuildtheirowninstruments,andencouragedmembersofthepublicto playtheinstrumentshehadmade. 88 Hisinterestwasnotonlyinbuildingwithinhisownpractice,butalso indevelopingthattypeofagencyinothers,discoveringcauseandeffectandthesurprisingfeaturesthat emergeintheprocessofmakingone’sowninstruments. RelatedapproacheshavebeenoutlinedinNicolasCollins’book,HandmadeElectronicMusic:TheArt

ofHardwareHacking(2006/09),whichisfilledwithinstructionsandvideodemonstrationsonhowto

createorrepurposehardwareformusicalpurposes.Itassumesnoproficiencyonthepartofthereader,

butgivesdetailedinstructions,alongwithmusicalexamplestoillustrateeachsection.Collinsmakesthe

pointrepeatedlythatthereisnoincorrectimplementationoftheseinstructionsiftheresultsareinteresting.

Mistakes,otherthanthosethatcompromisethemaker’ssafety,areencouraged.Collinswritesthisofhis

ownwork:

Ithinkthatalotofmymusichashadtodowiththeimplicationspresentinapieceoftechnology,even

verycommoncircuits,consumerelectronics:ItakeaCDplayer,Imodifyaradioorawalkman,trying

toworkataverylowtechnologicallevelandthencustomizeitalittlebit,cannibalizeit.ButI’vealso builtmachinesupfromscratch,andhavealsodoneafairamountofworkwithcomputerprograms.It’s all part of the same streamflowing fromthe notion of compositions or implications present in technology. 89

ReedGhazalapioneeredcircuit-bendingtechniquesasanoutcomeofhisownaccidentaldiscoveryof theminthe1960s. 90 Heintroduceshishow-tobook,Circuit-Bending:BuildYourOwnAlienInstruments

(2005)withthisinvitation:

Because no one canpredictthe outcome ofcircuit-bending, you’re takinga journeyinto unknown territoryhere.Allyoucandoisapproachwiththerightattitudeandtoolstogetthebestshotatgood results. 91

Theabilitytoplaywithsound,whetherinelectronicoracousticmedia,nolongerrequires(andperhaps neverrequired)significanttrainingorfinancialresources.ThereisastrongstrandofDIYinthefieldof experimental music. An interest in making one’s own materials tends to lead toward this kind of innovation, and in turn an interest in such innovation often requires making one’s own materials. Sometimesasimplelackoffinancialresourcescanpushacomposertobuildmaterialsratherthanbuy them.Ifsuccessisfoundindoingso,itmakesverylittlesensetobecomemoreofaconsumerwhen circumstancesimprove.Handmadeinstrumentstendtobefarmoremalleabletoone’sintentionsthan commercialproducts,whicharedesignedformoregeneralusecases.

Synthesizerinnovationsataprofessionallevelwereintheirformativestagesbefore1970,butinthis

contextanactiveDIYcultureisrelevant.LintangRadittyaechoesbothCollins’sandBehrman’sfindings whenhereflectsonthereasonshegotintobuildinghisownsynthesizers.“Notonlyweretheytoo expensive,butthereweresoundsthatIcouldn’tmakeusingthosesynths.” 92 Heisself-taught,andbuiltup hisskillsthroughresourceshefoundonline.Inadditiontoafewmakershenames,hehasfoundmany anonymousdesignstobeequallyuseful.“Idon’tknowtheirnames,becausetheydon’tgivethemontheir websites,butIlovethedesignsthey’veuploaded.” 93 Radittyadocumentstheseinnovationsandactivities inIndonesiaonhisblog,Synthesia-id. 94 Apartfromthefinancial benefitsofaDIYapproach,thereisoftenaninterestinamoredynamic input/outputrelationshipthancanbefoundininstrumentsthatwouldbecommerciallyattractive.Founded byMichelWaisviszinAmsterdam,theStudioforElectro-InstrumentalMusic(STEIM)isamajorhubof suchactivity.Waisviszandmanyothersatthecenterhavedevelopedinstrumentsparticularlyfortheuse of children, such as the Crackle Box and the LiSa, as well as various interfaces and software applications.Theyalsohostregularresidenciesforcomposers,musicians,andinventorstohelpthem realizetheirparticularmusicalintentions.Whileotherinstitutionsofferasimilararrayofresourcesand programs,STEIMisparticularlyalignedtothiswayofthinking,inthattheireventsandideologycircle

aroundthenotionofTouch,whichwasarticulatedfortheirfirsteventsin1998inarousingessaycalled

“Touchstone.”

WhiletheITmajorssteamrolltheirdigitaltoolkitstoproduceperfectlyISO-normalizedoutputs,arace of stubborn artist-engineers remains bent on designing instruments to elicit decidedly abnormal performances.

AtSTEIMwehavecometotheconclusionthattheresultantstreamlinedaesthetics,purgedofthe

seamyresiduesofphysicalexertion,istotallyartless:unfeltexecutionhasgivenrisetounfeltand

unfeeling work. One man’s ergonomics is another man’s

explorationisbeingopenedup,aswefighttoreinjectfriction,constraints,inshort,asenseofeffort,

intoourtools. 95

Avital area of creative

Perfectionisdevaluedinthesecases,alongwithanycommercialsenseofvalue.Theeffortthatgoesinto makingsomethingis rewardedbythe unreliability,inconsistency,andmysteriousness ofthe musical activitytheproductenables.

ofthe musical activitytheproductenables. 2.5Findinghiddensounds

2.5Findinghiddensounds

BeforeIwasmixingalotofinformationtogether,butnowtherealworldisjustlikethat,especially

Anyonecansample

cheaplyandeasilynow.SonowIwanttofocus,tofindawholeworldintinythings 96

inJapan.Peoplearebarelysurvivinginaseaoftoomuchinformation

—OtomoYoshihide

Asinescapableassoundseemstobeingeneral,manyspecificsoundsareconsideredinaudible;buttheir audibility may simply need to be accessed in an innovative way. The choice or construction of microphones,decisionsaboutwhatandhowtorecord,andsubsequentdecisionsrelatingtoamplification, playbackrate,andvisualortextualnarrativeallhavethepotentialtoprovideaccesstosoundsthathave notbeenpreviouslyimagined,letaloneheard. RichardLermanhas madealarge-scaleprojectoutofattachingpiezoelectricdisks toobjects of variousscalesandsignificances,includingbicycles,supportbeamsofbuildings,CTscans,cerealboxes, polaroid photos, and evena rejection letter to make thembehave as loudspeakers. 97 He has also developedacurriculumtoteachchildrenhowtobuildandusetheirowncontactmicrophones,andto appreciatethesonicresults. 98 DavidDunnwrites,“Newinexpensivetechnologiesthatcanfacilitateanincreaseinourcollective environmentalsensitivityanddiscoveryofunknownnaturalandhumanmadephenomena,providingnovel toolsforsoundartist[s],andcontributingtowardspracticalenvironmentalproblemsolving.” 99 Someof Dunn’smicrophonesincludeahydrophone,anultrasonicboundarymicrophone,andtwotypesofinsertion microphones,oneofwhichisarepurposedmeatthermometer.Dunnconceivedofandconstructedthis microphoneforaveryspecificpurpose.Hehadlearnedaboutthemassivelydestructivehabitsofbark beetlesonforestsofpinionpines,andhewonderedwhathecoulddotohelpasasoundartist.This microphonewasdrilledintoaninfestedtree,andthesoundsofthesebeetleswererecorded.Notleaving itatthat,hereadnumerousscientificarticlesandusedthatinformationalongwithhisrecordingsto simulatethepresenceofthesesounds,drawnfromrecordingsmadeovertwoyears,inasinglecontext.

Thecompositionwasorganizedaroundtheideathatitwouldbepossibletohearallofthesesounds

withinonelargetreeifenoughsensorscouldbesimultaneouslyplacedthroughoutitsmyriadbranching

structures.

Dunnusesthisonetreetostandformanytrees,or,infact,anytree,andthedepthanddimensionsofits

soundworld.

Myintentioninthecomposingofthiscollagewastoconvincethelistenerofthesurprisingcomplexity ofsoundoccurringwithinonespeciesoftreeasemblematicoftheinteriorsoundworldsoftreesin general. 100

Heexplainshisreasoningforpresentingthismaterialincollageform,ratherthaninalinearfashion.A

directrecordingmightseemtobemoreinformative,butitwouldfailtoeffectivelysuggestthedynamics

ofactivity.

Whenstrungoutinalinearfashion,twoyearsoffieldrecordingsonlyallowthelistenertofocuson theirimmediatenatureandnottheirinteractionovertime.Byjuxtaposingthem,whilerespectingtheir localsonicintegrity,weperceivetherichnessofhowtheyresidewithinamorecomplexandresonant context.Webecomemuchmoreawareoftheirtrueinterrelationshipanddiversitywithintheirarboreal environment. 101

Theresultingrelease,TheSoundofLightinTrees(2006)soundslikeaterrifyingdrama—awholeworld

ofinteractionsthatisstrangeandmagnificentinitsaccumulation,andastonishinginitscomplexity.Dunn hasalsorecordedants,underwaterinsects,andbats,whichsharethetraitofemittingsoundsthatare difficulttoaccess. 102 ButthebeetleprojecthastakenonalifeofitsowninitsfulfillmentofDunn’sbelief that“itisessentialatthispointthatartiststakearoleincollaborationwiththescientificworld—that artists and scientists work together towards real-world problemsolving.” His investigations were

practical,firstofall,inidentifyinginfestedtreesforlandowners,andsecondly,infindinganovelsolution

tothisproblem.“Wealteredbeetlebehaviorbyplayingbacktheirownsound

themintocannibals.Wecreatedunprecedentedbehaviors.” 103 Inallofthesecases,thesourceofthesoundisidentified,butwhenhearingitshiddendimensionsitis natural to want to see the specific conditions fromwhichthese sounds emerge. JohnGrzinich, an AmericanmixedmediaartistbasedinEstonia,hasanticipatedthaturgebeautifullywithSoundAspectsof MaterialElements(2006–10)includedonthevisuallystunningTwoFilmsrelease. 104 Thefirstofthese filmsisinblackandwhite,anddirectsfocusontheformsandshapesofthematerialsthatareproducing sound.Theseenvironmentsseemtobestill,evensilent,butthesoundworldsrevealedinthemeachhave adistinctrichness.Reflectingonhispractice,Grzinichsays,

Wemanagedtoturn

Therearemanylevelstotheforcesthatshapeourworld,yetwetendtofocusonthemostdramatic elements,theonesthataffectusimmediatelyorareusefulinsomeform.I’mgenerallyinterestedtogo beyondtheordinarylevelsofperceptionoratleasttoexercisetheabilitieswehave,beitwithor withouttechnologicalenhancements.Thisalsoappliestotimeandtiming,toquestionthechronological orderingofeventsorusual breakingofprocessesintosegmentedorrepetitivestructures.Thereis alwaysachallengetosurprisemyselfwhichIoftendoevenwithlocationsI’vevisitedmanytimes. 105

Theexactpairingoftheimagewiththesounddrawsthelistenerfurtherintothedetailsofthescene.Ifthe

soundisbeingdrawnoutthroughsomesortofaction,weseeithappening.Ifnot,weunderstandthatitis

hiddenwithinitsnormalfunctioning.

PeterCusackthinksofhisworkas“SonicJournalism

theauralequivalenttophotojournalism,”

106

andhasmadeacompendiumofsoundsandtextscalledSoundsFromDangerousPlaces(2012).Ona

differentproject,thelongesttrackonBaikalIce:Spring2002isanunderwaterrecordingoficicles

hittingeachotherintheenormousLakeBaikalinSiberia,creatingastonishinglycomplexlayeringsof rhythm,timbre,texture,activity,andresonance.Whilesomeonestandingattheedgeofthelakecouldhear someofthissound,itscomplexityisfarmoreeffectivelycapturedthroughtheuseofthehydrophone. Severallatertracksonthealbum,theiciclesaresplittingofffromeachother.Theobservationandtiming requiredtodifferentiatethemomentswhentheicicleswerebreakingupfromthosewhentheicicleswere hittingeachotheriscrucial,andthisdifferenceisapparentthroughsound.Cusack’sprojectisnota recordingoficicles.Rather,itisadocumentationofprocesses—verbs,ratherthannouns.Apartfromthe internaldifferentiationwithineachrecording,thesetwoprocesses(breakingupandbumpingtogether)are documentedashavingvastlydifferentsonicprofiles. Fieldrecordingemphasizesthatsoundshappeninspaceeverybitasmuchastheyhappenintime. Geographicallocationsareoftenincluded,particularlyforoutdoorrecordings.TheCDtrayofBaikalIce showsamapofthelake.Theimagesconjuredupinthefirstmomentsoflisteningarelikelytobe memoriesorimaginationsofthelocationoftherecording.Butasustainedstudyofaplacethroughfield recordingagainmakestimetheprimaryaxis.Whatispresentinonemomentisabsentinanother,orashift intheinteractionbetweenelementshasadrasticimpactonthesound. JanaWinderenwritesthat“Sheisconcernedwithfindingandrevealingsoundsfromhiddensources, bothinaudibleforthehumansensesandsoundsfromplacesandcreaturesdifficulttoaccess.” 107 The

soundsofthetitletrackofherEvaporation(2009)releasewerefoundthroughtheuseofhydrophones

insideandundertheiceonasiteinGreenland,andrevealauniversesorichwithdimension,soaliento humanexperiencethatitcouldnothavebeenimaginedorconstructed,butmusthavebeenfound. 108 WhileCusackandWinderentraveledtorecordtheirsounds,MarcNamblardrecordedthesoundsof LacdePierrePercéeclosetohisownhome.Hisobservationsovertimeofthelakeanditssurroundings

helpedhimtodeterminetheparticulardaytorecordit.ThesonicactivityofthelakeonJanuary16,2006

iscompressedontothesingletrackofChantsofFrozenLakes(2008).Afrozenlakeevokesimagesof

desolation,stillness,andastarknaturalcondition.Surprisingly,thatisnotatallwhatitsoundslike.More thanonereviewerhascomparedthecharacteristicsoundsonthisrecordingtolasers.Thesesoundsresult fromtheconditionsoftheice:“Thetiniestcracklesinsidetheiceoffrozenlakesproducemechanical vibrations.Underspecificatmosphericconditions,theseimpulsespropagateintheice,whosetension makesitsimilartotheskinofadrum.Theacousticresultisanunbelievableblendofdrummingsounds andetheral[sic]resonances.” 109 LeePattersonhasalsodonemostofhisrecordingworkclosetohome,takingaspecialinterestinthe pondsthatareclosesttowherehelivesinnorthernEngland.Hehasfoundthattheyhaveaforeignquality ofsound,evenwhentheyareverylocal.“Incontrasttotheroad,rail,andairtrafficsoundsofnorth Manchester,theaquaticsoundworldsometimesseemedmorelikethatofatropicalrainforest,denseand busywithavarietyofsonicactivities,albeitonaverysmallscalewithmanysoundspossessinglow