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Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Aux Chemins de Fer
Musique concrete occurs when specific, usually “found,” sounds are arranged into a musical composition. Pierre Schaeffer makes a good attempt by integrating variation suspense and interest in developing the piece. This is no ordinary piece since it generates a thrill that takes you outside town. Contrary to the first impression of common every evening sounds, the piece is deceptively obvious to the ear and reminds the listener of a moment they have all encountered in their lives. It stands aside from the all too common EL-Dabh’s 1944 piece that gained prominence only in Egypt but not enough of presence in the outside world.
The timeliness of its presentation and emergence has gone a long way in ensuring that it gets worldwide face. The metallic and rather distant pondering of items introduced by a mysterious whistle completes the set. It sets the mood of activity and aggression and wild intrigue from the far off sounds of birds. The varying whistles blend a modern set up with spoiling the wild scene that filters through the piece. He has blended the peculiar sounds of the journey of the train, preferably a steam engine. Undeniably this is a good piece.
Edgard Varèse – Poème Électronique
Edgard Varèse has, for the longest time, been misunderstood for his lack of obviousness and discreetness. That makes his pieces much more original and storytelling. The piece dies and creates death from the beginning, then streams to blend secular salvation with an ambiguous touch of selfless aggressive twist. Church bells often associated with ambiance and misery is made to play the role of a bystander. He maintains a touching gravity and intense fright with screeches and scratches from metal soothed by the wild squeaks. This is no simple ordinary edited sound, and it has the original feel of death in life.
The dead walk and bring life to its knees, but the dead mean no harm. The smooth equalization merges the scenes into a rather solid texture of mixed impressions and tales. 1958 has seen the rise of several other artists like EL-Dabh’s whose pieces were left to slip through the view noticed by a few. It is not a reproduction of programmed sounds. This piece is original and inspired and undoubtedly refined with a sense of experience and expertise. The execution is motivating and generally impressive to listen to.
Herbert Eimert – Klangstudie II
The echo can not fail an artist in making their point. However, this should be regulated to avoid monotony and abstract obviousness. The magnetic feel and texture that clears in for a winding harmony of sound, lacks regulation and tuning, creating a fine but irregular texture. This piece tows the lines of concrete work, so it would be an understatement to suggest otherwise. However, due to the timing of its production, it convincingly falls under acoustic pieces.
Unity is created through the similarities in the source, but he uses many advanced techniques to change the sounds for variation. I think I hear some metal plates falling together just as they do in the natural environment. This sabotages the artificial outlook that the piece creates at the beginning. The piece employs plenty of transition into the sound patterns to impress the final execution of unnoticeably conflicting sets of sound in the music. By equalization, the piece manipulates the magnetic set of sounds to generate consistency and progression. The dimensions within the sounds also seem to sway and vibrate back and forth as well. A short but very interesting piece
Barry Truax – The Blind Man
Based on a poem and reading by Norbert Ruebsaat, Barry Truax begins his piece with a crescendo of bells that set the stage that fades into a narration that is infected with repetition of the same words that emphasize the message. “No one has ever heard again of a secret place,” repeated into regulated bits of natural sound in a background of a wild distant drum that makes the piece memorable and captivating. The story continues, “The wind is invisible, it doesn’t want to know.”
Borrowing from poetry rather than ordinary narration, the sounds enhance suspense with gaps between the tale and story. The fizzling whizz of the wind on the bare nakedness of the objects with a distinct fine touch. It excites into bobbling but edgy bits of words that insist on the effect of the wind of tapping. The symbolism of blindness is brought to the listener’s attention by a concrete narration that clears the suspense and ambiguity. “The wind will come like a blind man tapping his cane.”
The sound of chairs screeching on the floor and the tap of a cane. The story continues of the blind man’s conflict with objects on his way likened to the wind and connected to the wind’s texture by the sound of moving objects. The door opens and bangs (just like an actual door), objects move, the lock snaps, the bar shuts, the gate closes, metal hits metal with the narrator emphasizing the exit and lockdown, and the mystery of the unknown stranger who comes like a blind man.
The sounds are crafted and nursed to create the appropriate feel and texture as they would be in real life. The scratching and filter of individual objects are very meticulous, and it takes more than one attempt to ascertain the actual sound from a representation of the same. Save for the use of words and narration, I think I hear the whirling of the wind just like it does in the actual sense.
This draws the piece closer to a concrete set. The refined narration suggests to the listener a concrete original and provocatively interesting story, and even an ordinary ear would undeniably listen to it again. The story is original and catchy. It places the piece in its own rating by developing a well-stimulated sound collection. Barry Truax made a well thought off attempt at invoking the subconscious through strictly selected and filtered sounds. He embraces environmental sounds and has separated the influence of computer-based sounds from the real and actual production of the sound in the environment. It cultivates and creates soundscape alongside sensitivity to the environment. I listened to it several times, and I can still hear it now.
Robert Ashley: Automatic Writing
The speech is influenced by the artist’s fascination with involuntary speech. It is directed and pointed at the third self in the subconscious that more often than not vents at the true self. The piece brings the conscious against the unconscious by the use of words and sounds as well as music. This is a distinct way of recording music and requires a lot of time and effort to give results. He begins by introducing words that matter and blend into a background of harmonized tapping of tin cans.
The short and distant words that whisper their way into the sounds are vividly blended into the conflict between the more conscious voice and that of the unconscious and rather sleepy self. However, the whispers are more authoritative and clear, presenting the right message that does not seem to get to the unconscious self. This kind of pattern appeals to a smooth conflict of harmony and edgy conflict. The conscious self seems to guide the conscious throughout the piece.
The sounds grow more aggressive as the piece progresses, keeping a strict sense of sensitivity to the mood and tone of the piece. The distant background organ harmonies sway the mood to create a new mode of storytelling. He inspires the piece by maintaining consistent texture that presents an adequate conflict between the two states of mind. He does not allow the use of words to dominate the music in as far as value and meaning are concerns. He maintains a clear and balanced margin that ensures that the meaning is derived as a construct of both music and words. It is an extraordinary piece that develops a new way to tell a story. He successfully introduced a new method of narration.
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Morton Subotnick – Silver Apples of the Moon
The piece enters the mind as a progression of events that begin with the first step. As it progresses, it turns into a volatile aggressive yet interesting acid trip that is motivated and fueled by a conflict of sounds and beats from a computer program. The unregulated and untimely aggression of sound props furthers the intended confusion and conflict. The sounds are made to move back and forth to enhance movement and progression, creating the impression of changing circumstances. It raises the sound to a higher beat and maintains a high tempo. The piece builds on this line of the story to provide the listener with an adequate opportunity to adjust to the new turn of events.
It lifts the listener from the ordinary, casual, and normal atmosphere and takes us deep down into a void that leads to a whole new world. The lack of equalization suggests a sense of freedom, space, and empty lawlessness. Morton is surely made adequate use of all the instruments at his disposal and all computer options that were accessible to him. This piece has gone to its extremes to provide a forcefully built musical production that needs no further review in as far an execution of its intended object and purpose is concerned.
The above pieces have a similarity in their objectivity and clarity as far as the message is concerned. The use of words alongside music has worked to the advantage of most of these pieces since they help make sense of the piece. However, this does not underscore the importance and value attached to the music that accompanies the words. It is inevitably clear that each of the pieces reflects carefully crafted and prepared music and they remain a valuable and elegant source of reference.
Barry Truax – The Blind Man. (2009). ElectroCD. Web.
Herbert Eimert: Klangstudie II (1952). Web.
Morton Subotnick: Silver apples of the Moon (1967). Web.
Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Aux Chemins de Fer. (2007). Web.
Robert Ashley: Automatic writing (1979). Web.
Varèse: Poème Electronique. (2018). Web.