New Concepts for Music And Sound – Part 5
(Excerpt from my e-book about this topic: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/537)
What the pioneers of electronic music worked on, emphasised more than before or even discovered, and how to translate this to our situation today:
The meaning of sine waves, additive synthesis and the real nature of sound
There isn´t anything in the world of sonic phenomena that would be more basic than sine waves – nor more static. Whereas the objective sonic character of a saw wave changes with changing pitches (more or less higher partials fall into the range of human audibility), the spectrum of a simple sine wave doesn´t change with the pitch – it´s always simply itself.
Additive approaches by simply layering (a lot of) sine waves (of dedicated amplitudes) upon each other also only lead to rather static sounds. It´s the dynamic of changes of all these layered sine waves where the magic happens. I think we have to abandon the idea of a merely physical basic building element of sonic phenomena, and turn our attention to HOW HUMANS PERCEIVE sound: in little chunks, each of which containing a minimum sonic development in time. Yes, you guess it, I´m talking about sonic grains. And here, on the field of granular sound processing, we may allow physics to step in again, physics and physiology as well as psychology of perception. Here the first steps are already made. If we want to be innovative, well, let´s follow the patch and penetrate deeper in how things are working here. Just by the way: there´s a quite remarkable neighboorhood of granular sound processing: noise music.
The (not only sonic) relation of real world happenings and music
Well, this aspect is not really a new one, nor was it completely new in the 1950s. The goings on there outside in the real world had always had their influence on the music of their time. Whether it was the motivation to write a certain piece of music, or whether the happenings in the world outside of the musical world inspired the composers – music had never been without being entangled with reality. One of the perhaps most famous examples is Beethoven´s third symphony “Eroica”, which was inspired by the spirit of the French Revolution.
No, it was not the mere fact of the existing of the relation “world and music production”, it was the intensity and directness which the outside world jumped into music with. Sonic material, which had not been seen as musical, as having musical potency before was taken (recorded), manipulated (sometimes even not that) and put into music. Quite often this happened with the intention to make the listener better understand his physical and social world, to show aspects of this world, which were ignored more often than not.
I promised to make it short. Let me jump to the question: “And now, and we?” therefore. Here the answer seems easy to me. When we want to go further even in this aspect, we will have to let the world in even more: we must let the goings on there outside of our studios taking part in the process of composing and producing itself. The step ladder of importance as it is so far looks like: “The World motivates/initiates the composing and production process → The World delivers sonic material”. Let´s add a third step: “The World composes/produces (a part of) the music”. How would that be possible? Easier than you might have thougth. What about – just one example – taking the rate and order of cars going by on a busy road to derive a rhythm from? Or what about taking the changing volume levels of a field recording and translate it to pitches (or to whatever you want)? Whether we use real world goings on to create only (pseudo-) randomness, or whether we take these events, these happenings outrside our musical comfort zone to base our (more conventional) composition on: the motto is: Let the real World step in.
Enjoy your day!
New Concepts 1: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/503
New Concepts 2: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/528
New Concepts 3: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/529
New Coccepts 4: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/542
New Concepts 6: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/548