Cecilia Arditto

Post Term: objects

Musique concrète (2015)

Musique concrète makes music with second-hand objects, mostly bought in the markets or rescued from the trash. Two performers manipulate sound objects and slide-projectors in different spots of a dark room, producing performative installations in dialogue with the architecture of the space. Music, sound, and space design are organized in a score creating complete audiovisual scenes with simple means.

link to Musique concrète – project page

 

The dearest dream (2018)

anti concerto for percussion and ensemble of 10 instruments
2nd prize Wilde Lieder Marx Competition by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

The dearest dream is an anti-concerto for simple means based on concepts by Karl Marx.
The music has 4 sections displaying different relationships between the soloist and the ensemble.
I. Dialectic of the strings, a string-telephone quartet is in dialogue with the ensemble strings.
2. The song of the land makes music with grains.
3. The man (repetition and alienation) where the percussionist sweeps the concert hall floor with a broom.
4. The machine is characterized by 4 electric fans with rotating heads.

The sound architecture of The dearest dream is based mainly on one note: it uses the spectrum of the note F-1, starting with A 440 (20th overtone) which progressively opens to the complete overtone series.
The sound changes during the piece from sine wave at the beginning to noise at the end, making changes in color but always respecting the overtone hierarchy. The rhythms used in the piece are mainly repeated notes, just slight fluctuations of the fixed sounds: in other words, they represent variations over the same. The whole ensemble play basically only one note and its overtones represents the tradition that perpetuates itself (status quo), leading to movement but without real changes. The dialogue with the outside objects breaks the fixed order bringing an unorthodox musical dialogue. The percussion plays diverse objects that impregnate the rest of the music. He is a soloist, or better said, an anti-soloist. Some members of the ensemble also play some objects apart from their instruments, to show some sympathy to the percussionist.

• Audio
• Video
• Press

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Related post/s in my blog
“Barrer en quintillos” (Spanish)

Related works:
• Tissue (2019)
• Anthropology of trash (2020)

The air around (2012)

for 13 prepared electric fans

In my orchestration book, electric fans are classified in diverse instrumental families considering diverse features: they undoubtedly belong to the wind family; they are on top of that, noise generators; from a kinetic perspective they are members of the instruments “that spins around.” Multiple interpretations of the same allow a special interconnection between objects, spreading the chamber music experience into a unique personal listening.

“A choir of small ventilators, that like a mechanical garden, move their heads bringing sound and movement to the music.”

The more concrete, the more abstract

Rather than prescribing an ideal music of the future, Schaeffer’s didacticism
requires us to submit to a process in which sound is re-imagined or experienced anew, and new effects of listening are discovered and learned.

 Ian Stevenson, Schaeffer’s sound effects

The fan is attached to the sounds as much of the sound is attached to the fan. We cannot conceive the machine without the sound, or the sound without the machine: one refers to the other. But when the fan is on stage making music, the sound appears to lose its inherent connection to its source and becomes an independent phenomenon: we start hearing the fan as a music instrument. After this switch in our mind, we can focus on the sound itself: its overtones, pitch, colored noise, residual tones, and all kinds of glorious “side- effects”. Curious enough, the production of fresh air, the main purpose in any electric fan, becomes something completely irrelevant. When the fan goes musical, the sound can be undoubtedly routed with its source without losing its identity: it looks like a fan, it sounds like a fan, it is a fan!. Even the modifications applied to the sound by the use of “extended techniques” enhancing and preserve the nature of the sound as two sides of the same process.

“everyday listening, which identifies sound sources as objects or events; and musical listening, which focuses on the intrinsic properties or features of sounds.”

William Gaver, How do we hear in the world?

When a fan is performing in a concert hall, this new context brings new associations and displacements in our minds. We can concentrate more easily on the sounds because the device is on stage. Same as we focus on the textures, colors, size, and position of Duchamp’s porcelain urinal because it is shown in an art gallery. Context is substantial.

Matter matters
What is music? What is a sound object? This unanswered question triggers all kinds of different theories and works, inspiring not only the composition of new music but mainly changing our way of listening.

• Video (excerpts)
• Photo gallery

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Split piano (2011)

6 short pieces for piano, cassette players and props
+ optional activities

Split piano is an ongoing project that collects a series of short works where the piano is split off and perceived from a transversal perspective. The universe of the conventional piano is expanded by using objects, lights, gestures and recordings.
Chapter I: Live movies
#1. Licht / light
#2. Knipoog / wink
#3. Straal / ray
Inspired by the animation techniques created by Norman McLaren, these etudes for one hand, a stand light and sound objects, are thought of as short movies to be played live.
Chapter II: Tapes
#4. Zeef / strainer
#5. Dans / dance
#6. Potlood / pencil
These three pieces are based on intervened recordings of music by Robert Schumann. The piano (and the pianist!) interacts with the tape in different ways: drawing, performing choreographic movements, or using the music notation as part of the performance.
The recordings can be done using vintage cassette tapes or a mobile phone, representing different historical periods, in addition to the dialogue with the music of Schumann. The media devices modify not only the sound color but the act of perception, bringing back Marshall McLuhan s statement “The medium is the message”

(*) Straal / Ray was included in Guy Livingston´s project  One minute more; animation by Juan de Graaf.

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Related works:
• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano

Time machine (2011) – program notes

for violin, trombone, piano, radio, cassette player and a rocking chair
commissioned by NFPK, Holland

There are three people sitting in a room; they are just staying but also remembering the past and dreaming about the future all at the same time. It is always difficult to say what now and here means because our hearts gets always confused about organizing emotions on a timeline.
Koen rewinds, anticipates and plays the cassette player as a metaphor of past (and future?) memories. Bas plays a radio that catches the air in an ever-flowing present. Nora moves back and forth from the piano in a rocking chair, looped in her own clock.
Music is a powerful time machine, traveling through chronologically organized sounds, but mainly through the mixed archeology of our emotions.

 

Part of the composition process of “Time machine ” was shared in my blog
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo” (Español)
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo 2” (Español)
• Blog Post “La espuma de los días” (Español)
• Blog Post “Trio 7090” (Español/English)
• Blog Post “Gespleten piano o el piano escindido” (Español)
• Blog Post “La música del teatro” (Español)

 

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• Split piano (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)