Observations: Glass on Strings

Observations: Glass on Strings

Four-channel fixed media and amplified piano (2014/15)

8 mins

Premiere: February 8, 2015, Studiosaal, Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, Germany

Adaptation for Wave field synthesis: March 14, 2015, Kühlhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Performance as modern dance score: June 28, 2019, Solo Dance Festival, CerModern, Ankara, Turkey

If done correctly, when you set a glass bottle on top of the strings of a grand piano and set it in a rocking motion, the bottle hits a physical equilibrium and will continue rocking for minutes. The sound that it produces together with the piano strings is very soft, but provides an incredibly rich and ever-changing sound, yielding new rhythmic and tonal patterns in waves. I recorded this sound closely, using the microphone as a sonic microscope, and put my recording through various methods of electronic processing, and then used these results to create a four-channel, spatialized composition. The performance begins by setting the bottle rocking and listening to its live amplification. The live sound subtly expands to the pre-recorded but unprocessed sample, shrinking the listener to a fraction of the size, with the sound of an enormous bottle rocking overhead. Following the many organically arising variations in this vibrating sound, a process of increasing electronic processing of the sound is set in motion, continuing until the piece’s end.

Excerpt of “Observations: Glass on Strings” used as score for a modern dance piece in Ankara, Turkey. The result of a workshop led by Ruben Reniers within the Solo Dance Festival.