11:30am: Finally caught up with the blog posts. I like writing; it’s hard to not spend hours on doing this as its own outcome, but still keep up. Working on it!
2pm: Just finished a couple of hours on this other piece that’s due in a few days.
Last night when I was riding home, or maybe in bed I don’t know, I had another thought about the score-mapping. Map-scoring? Maybe for the really species-complex parts of the site (you know, the ones I haven’t mapped yet, like in the photo and film from day 3), I can use a colour code or colour gradient. I could assign sounds or sonic gestures to several base colours, and then it would be up to the musicians to musically navigate through the gradients between the base colours in the map. While they couldn’t read 70+ colour codes, I reckon they could read 4 or 6 or something. Something like this:
So I’d assign, for example:
Yellow – ground-covers – ephemeral scratchy but warm tone.
Orange – annual plants – tremolo, flutter tongue or similar, quite high pitched, constantly moving between 2 or 3 different tones.
Green – trees – long low pitched notes, sonorous and rich.
Blue – bushes – moving between 3 or 4 notes within a perfect 5th, in the middle of instrument range, slurred, about 2 notes per second.
Purple – vines – glissando, slippery sounds, hard to “get a hold of”.
And then the musicians would do a different version of these sounds for each of the different oranges, greens, etc.
I suppose I’ve been focusing on doing the initial mapping. I guess I thought that I would still at least categorise and probably map all the species anyway even if I don’t make it the whole work species specific. But then why still categorise and map it all? It’s a big task. I don’t feel very satisfied with this, but maybe I’ll do a few separate small pieces using the species = a sound method, for the veg. strip by the pianos and the 3 circle gardens. And then use some other method for the more complex vegetation communities like the wide strips along the site edges. Like that one above, which incorporates colour coding and categorising by veg. structure.
4pm: 43 species + in the 3 garden beds and the piano strip. The “+” is because I have skipped some that were too tiny, and at the moment all the succulents are just “succulent” which isn’t right but damn this is hard! My rusty and never-expert but at least serviceable botany skills are being str-e-e-e-tched. I want to but don’t have the time to do any more maps this way.
If you’re in Melbourne this weekend, I just found out about this amazing sounding event: Bushland – “a visually evocative audio work that connects you to the biochemical processes that will continue long after you’ve lost consciousness, as you’re slowly and gently subsumed by the earth over thousands of years.” More audio artist/science mashup stuff! So exciting.
Ok for the last bit of today I’m going to get over the hump of what’s next, and create 16 sounds and sonic gestures to apply to the first map I did of the piano strip. Just as an exercise.
It’s going to be time-based (not tempo-based).
And it’s going to be read left to right, like a regular old score. I know, not very adventurous, but it’s just an exercise! And it means theoretically it could be read using this cool thing that helps musicians read graphic scores. At its simplest it’s basically a line that moves across the graphic score at a preset speed – so instead of following a timepiece the musicians just watch the score and play the material as it passes the line. It’s developed by Cat Hope who did the talk I went to last night. Here’s a direct link to Cat’s TEDx talk about it with some examples – go straight to 5’56” to see an example.
This piece is going to be for any 2 instruments, a duet. Octaves etc will be flexible. Ok, let’s maths this:
- There are 16 grid divisions within each square; the map has 2 squares, so 32.
- I want the piece to be about 4 minutes/240 seconds.
- If each grid division is 8 seconds, that’s a 256 second / 4 mins 16 seconds piece.
Actually when I look at the material, this would be quite slow-moving. How about:
- Each grid division is 5 seconds, so the piece is 160 seconds / 2 mins 40 seconds. Just a short piece!
Ok, here’s the sounds/gestures:
||Middlest Bb in your range. No vibrato. Volume loud.
||Windy whistling sound, low-high-low pitch. Volume soft.
||Highest clear tone in your range. No vibrato. Volume soft.
||Middlest A in your range. Vibrato. Volume medium.
||A delicate tinkling sound. Volume soft.
||A low distorted sound, made quite differently to however you make regular notes! Volume loud.
||Tremolo second highest C in your range. Volume loud.
||Repeated rapid staccato oscillation between your lowest range note and a 9th above. Volume medium.
||Second-highest A in your range. Vibrato. Volume loud.
||Pitchless or barely pitched whispery tone. Volume soft.
||Pitchless or barely pitched slow scratchy tone. Volume medium.
||Glissando from middlest Bb to G below. Volume loud.
||Glissando from highest G to A above. Volume loud.
||Slow repeated pitchless rhythm. Doesn’t have to involve instrument (you can hit something!). Volume loud.
||Second lowest Db in range. Volume growing from nothing to loud and returning to nothing.
||Tenuto repeated middlest G in your range. Volume growing from nothing to loud.
And here’s the score-map. Pardon the scrappiness.
So, please comment suggestions of how I can use all this to make an actually readable score for musicians. I need your help! Thank you!