Book 1. Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes
Label: WERGO - WER 6740 2 • Format: 4x, CD • Country: Germany • Genre: Classical • Style: Contemporary
Whereas Cage provides the impetus that brings a piece of music into being, the performer makes the score into sound. To listen to or analyze music is to enter a sound world with full attention, in a spirit of active engagement. Listening and analysis are not merely receptive, a matter of accurate perception and representation. They are also creative: we make music, through acts Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
- In Time (The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003) apperception and interpretation. Of course, the distribution of stars represented in the Atlas Australis is not actually random; it is governed by the laws of physics. But the mapping of points from three-dimensional space onto a plane, then points in a plane to musical Book 1. Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes different sorts of objects with radically different principles for interactionall filtered through and altered by the proclivities of human perception and cognition, is essentially random.
But music perception is local. The challenge it poses for the listener, and the music analyst, is not too little information, but too much. As chance tends to minimize repetition, it thwarts our ability to chunk, categorize, predict, and remember; it stymies our use of language, from basic semantics attaching labels to things through to complex description. Information overload has a way of forcing us into the present, where with muted memory we remain, taking in each new sound as it touches, then enters, awareness.
To hear in this way is to be in a state of music-consciousness; it is to experience listening in Down - Doc Shit / The Zombos - Split cdr manner of operation. Music analysis tends toward reduction to the extent that it assumes a prescribed repertoire of sound-objects, conflates repetitions as if they were interchangeable, and surrenders the particularity of individual sounds to their place in a group.
When we listen in this way, we indicate a willingness to re-open fundamental questions about the nature of musical sound. Is it a note? A note soaked in resonance? Two or more notes? Book 1. Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes these be struck at the same time, or just close together? How far can one sound reach into other sounds just heard, heard with, or to come?
When is a sound fully formed? And where is a sound? Can we point to it in a score? Or are sounds more diffuse sorts of things, dispersed in time and the web of contexts that embed them? Once we stop listening for our own expectations, we become more attuned to the strange richness of musical experience. Listening becomes a state of awareness poised in not knowing. What do we do? I cannot say what one should do; only describe, what I did do, more or less, with Book 1.
Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes changes of course. As I worked, I noticed a certain consistency in the way I heard specific notes as colored or refracted by one another, and moments as having certain qualities—qualities that seemed to sit just beyond my horizon of verbalization. I noted salient repetitions, transfers, and voice-leading in pitch or pitch-class. I marked gestural or other groupings and tried to put qualities into words.
These could be individual words or short phrases, nouns or adjectives, verbs or adverbs. What am I hearing subconsciously? What else might I hear, if I transformed subconscious impressions into conscious ones, and then listened again? A memory trace and visual aid, it helped me to stabilize some aspects of my hearing just enough to probe my impressions further.
I began to ask different questions, about the constitution and formative context for individual sounds. The process involved a constant cycling and exchange among three kinds of activities: 1 an attempt to identify and partially stabilize impressions; 2 a redirection of attention, which prompted new observations; and 3 reinterpretation and continual transformation of my hearing. Slide 9 provides a score for the first two systems of Etude VI.
Cage thought of the Etudes Australes as a duet for piano solo, notated on Free Range Rat - Nut Club grand staffs, one for the right hand and one for the left.
The score is determinate with respect to pitch in staff notation and rhythm proportional notationand indeterminate with respect to tempo, dynamics, articulation, Ich Zeig Dir Meinen Himmel - Stefanie Werger - Bzw.
(Beziehungsweise) gestural shaping. With the right hand reaching down to A2 a tenth below middle C and the left hand up to C6 two octaves above ithand crossings are frequent. Audio Example 1a. Audio Example 1b. Cage uses three types of noteheads. Diamond noteheads in the low bass at the very start of each etude indicate keys depressed by rubber wedges throughout e. They do not, themselves, provide resonance, but excite most of the sympathetic resonance associated with upper partials of diamond or open noteheads.
Note that sympathetic resonance can introduce shadow pitches, with no notational correlate. For example, coincidence between the fifth partial of a struck note black or open notehead Book 1. Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes the sixth partial of a sustained one open or diamond notehead can generate a shadow pitch in the third octave above the fundamentals striking C2, with E 2 held, produces G5.
Thus sympathetic resonance can be activated in seven ways. The fundamental or harmonic of an open notehead can activate permanent sympathetic resonance from partials of a diamond notehead two ways ; so too can the fundamental or harmonic of a black notehead two more, 1—4.
The fundamental or harmonic of a black notehead can activate temporary sympathetic resonance from an open notehead 5—6. And finally, because there are no dampers above E6, the fundamental or a harmonic of an open or black notehead can activate permanent sympathetic resonance from any higher note 7.
Overtone trails and shadow notes emerge, speak, and retreat below the threshold of audibility; at times there is only a hazy backdrop of inharmonic vibration. Whether or not one focuses on the sympathetic haze, one listens through it, as a spectral environment that envelops and colors the sound of every new note.
To improve visual clarity, Sultan attaches a long stem to each note. The stems settle questions of simultaneity, succession, and precedence; they also better convey a sense of attack rhythm, which in turn inspires interpretive decisions for physical and musical gestures.
Interestingly, her representation of these pitch-class channels is selective: accounting for only sixty percent of those available, she omits some of the most audible connections, but shows some of the most obscure. Whatever they meant to her, what might we, as listeners and analysts, make of them? Working first from the recording, I later compared my draft with her performance score and added some of her markings. Six colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet represent six levels of loudness from fortissimo to pianissimo.
The Tanker - Marvin Hamlisch - The Spy Who Loved Me (Original Motion Picture Score) is no red, for ffin this excerpt. Connecting noteheads, solid magenta lines highlight some pc channels; solid cyan bright light blue lines, show strong pitch voice-leading. Brown slurs or lines represent a few gestures formed by succession or connection.
The rearranged score better represents aural stream segregation by register and so is easier to follow. Brown text conveys my impressions of certain moments; black text uses standard technical language to make analytic points.
Magenta lines connect pitch repetitions within the same register; maroon lines, pitch-class repetitions in different registers. From C4 as a base, the minor tenth C4— E 5 projects up two octaves: C6 nestles in as overtone of C4 which is still sounding, as resonance. All three of these notes have the potential to excite permanent resonance, but they are quick, high, and soon overcome.
Activity resumes with a high G 7, followed by A4, (Our Love) Dont Throw It All Away (Stereo) - John Gates - (Our Love) Dont Throw It All Away I hear as a point of elision, as it both recalls the A in the previous chord by octave transfer and reactivates the middle register originally occupied by the prominent overtones C4 and G4.
Way up, pianissimoa chromatic line slinks into space; in the middle register, A presses down to G in a sort of counterpoint, then slowly falls to C. That the line should find its way down to this C is interesting for two reasons. The semitone move from G 4 to A4 makes these paired fifths easy to hear. All three excite permanent sympathetic resonance; A4 also reaches forward, falling by semitone to an unsettling G 4.
While the ensuing move from A5 to D6 might be heard as a sort of projection from notes in the A—D—A segment, I find it too weak to bridge the gap. Still, there seemed to be more to it. But what lines of continuity might I have been following? Slide 13 uses a combination of color coding and solid versus dashed lines to highlight repetitions and voice leading in pitch and pitch-class. Solid raspberry lines indicate the strongest relation: a pitch repeated, in register.
Solid maroon lines connect a pitch class with its repetition in a different octave. Together these constitute the complete network of pc channels described earlier. Solid dark blue lines represent pitch-class voice leading by 9 or 11 semitones i. Dynamics, timing, and articulation can bring notes into contact with one another or force them apart, perhaps outside the window of working memory.
An interesting aspect of this representation is the way notes seem to group into constellations: some parts of the piece look tighter than others. Significantly, the nexus of relatively strong connections in pitch and pitch-class that bind Etheric Bubbles - Various - Subself Personalities 2 (File) of the first system into force fields largely dissolves around the rift.
But only a few tenuous threads reach across the rift, three by pitch-class voice leading with octave displacement D3— D 4, F3— F 4, G 4—A5and one semitone motion B 6—B6which is very weak due to temporal distance and the extreme high register.
In a sense, this representation complements that for pitch and pc force fields: instead of showing a network of connections, it shows the identity of points—which pcs are present, and the degree of pc turnover at different temporal scales. Color mapping makes it easy to see pockets of repeated pcs; it also suggests something about I Rushin - Various - Buzz Chart #8 type, as chromatic pc sets concentrate Book 1.
Etude VI - John Cage - Sabine Liebner - Etudes Australes a region of the color spectrum e. One of the things I find interesting about this image is the way pc distribution a pretty raw representation of the musical surface and one which, given the compositional process, is random conveys something of the individuality of each moment: the distribution of the twelve pcs is in constant flux, not only in its particulars which pcs, and in which proportions but in the kind of distribution concentrated or even.
The harmony is fairly easy to hear, and easier to see on the rearranged aural score that groups notes by register, since the pc repetitions cluster in the two middle registers. It turns out that these five pcs are relatively common at the level of the system as a whole. But only five belong to one of the four pitch-classes 3, 4, 6, or B. Or do they? I assume that each of us will notice different things and express our impressions in different words.
The point is not to assert my hearing over others but to characterize it well enough to be able to share it. I expect that we will find some common ground in basic principles for music perception, including pitch repetition, octave equivalence, pitch proximity, pitch-class voice leading, grouping based on temporal proximity, and chunking supported by repetition. Slide 15 graphs the length of each of the eight etudes in Book I across these four recordings.
Length is in seconds; the slower the tempo, the higher the point on the graph. Sultan, Drury, and Liebner choose tempi that are fairly consistent from one etude to another. Each performance is a unique encounter among the score, a pianist, a specific piano, and a recording engineer.
Liebner balances a much slower tempo with a tendency toward louder dynamics and sharper attacks. While Sultan also makes good use of resonance and Liebner of voice leading within and across registers, the two performances create different sound worlds, with implications for the listener and analyst.
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