This piece is inspired by the following piece of text by the poet Rilke in 1919 "The coronal suture of the skull (which should now be chiefly investigated) has let us assume a certain similarity to the closely wound line that the needle of a phonograph cuts into the receptive, revolving cylinder of the machine. Suppose, for instance, one played a trick on this needle and caused it to retrace a path not made by the graphic translation of a sound, but self-sufficing and existing in nature – good, let us say it boldly, if it were (e.g.) even the coronal suture – what would happen? A sound must come into being, a sequence of sounds, music...Feelings of what sort? Incredulity, awe, fear, reverence yes, which of all these feelings prevents me from proposing a name for the primal sound that would then come to birth?"
Ur-Geräusch (Rilke 1919, p 1087)
The coronal suture of the skull of an unknown Victorian woman was used as source material for the composition, the pattern of seam translated directly using MAX/MSP and Jitter into amplitude, frequency, harmony, timbre, musical event and spatialisation.
All visual-audio translations were created using MAX/MSP and Jitter, and recorded into Logic 7 for compositional structuring, panning and mixing. Some modulation effects, using fragments of the suture as automation data, was also incorporated. An audio extract of the piece appears on Core Works (CD2.1) and the complete work on Hidden Music (CD3.1).
Primal Sound is essentially an isokinetic expressive contour study, and a demonstration of the extensive use of tightly limited musical material However, despite its specificity, it has been employed successfully in contexts divorced from its aesthetic origin - most notably in Martino:Unstrung as a representation of Martino’s geometrical musical vision and prolific creativity.
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