Reasoning leads to ideas. As I began my degree process here two years ago, I didn’t know if I would do music as performance, record ambient sounds or compose scores. I plan to concentrate now in improvisation as a central theme, but what I described below has caused a few restless nights.
Musicians obsess over sound and, as such we compose & orchestrate calling it scoring, but it’s also controlling, but as artist compose a scores to anchor the performance piece of any kind, the implied anchoring of a score to sound is just one way to look at it.
By the way, sound can also mean silence. Silence gives meaning to sound and sound to silence. By the way again, there’s not really any such thing as silence. If one zooms in to “silence” new content begins to emerge.
Turns out that phonography is a word for the recording of existing sounds— sound as a material, or field recording.
Caught between worlds: record/score/play, I came into our program having to struggle with this challenge. Recorded music seems fundamentally to be the opposite of live performance. Improvisation seems to be the opposite of scoring. Music seems to be the opposite of field recording.
The idea of simultaneity is where two or more ideas are scored to coexist, neither one intended to control the other, to demonstrate the idea of sound for sound’s sake.
MIDI, Fluxus, performance, conceptual, free jazz, even looking at computer, code-based composing are all directions I could taken here. Another direction would be extended techniques on an instrument. Another direction could be ethnomusicology being an historian– so think of Alan Lomax. Another direction would be to invent instruments and tuning systems– such as in Harry Partch.
Phonography is a corollary term for a visual document, or the documenting of sound. Another idea that caught my attention could be found in Foley sound effects, something which is the art of reproduction of natural sounds for movies. To paint the picture of sound with its wide variety of ideals could all be pursued here in the MFA.
Fabrication, instrument making, microphone technology, Logic, ProTools, MIDI in general, film sound effect, free jazz, and ambient sound recordings, even therapeutic work and music education, all these are Sound Ideas. To an intermedial sound-artist, which is what I aim to be someday, there is so much that I can and should try.