Thursday, August 10, 2006

The EMU Train

All on board, this week Luke Digance and John Delany.

First cab off the rank, guinea pig, whatever you want to call it, Luke Digance was the first degree student to give a presentation. His work, titled Concrete Harmony, is an attempt to extract a western sense of harmony from the his sound objects. He takes a basically traditional approach to musique concrete before analysing the fundamental frequencies of each sound object and referenced them to a pitch (Digance 2006). Exactly what that entails, (shifting pitches maybe?) I'm not quite sure, but at the end he had enough pitches to create chordal structures and furthermore chord progressions.

The end result was surprisingly soothing I thought, and while it was hard to hear the sounds as chordal structures I could make out the intention once I had been told. It's perhaps an unusual idea - taking melody to a music concrete piece, I've always considered Pierre Schaffer something of a harmonic anarchist, but I do like the idea that even a humble degree student can turn things around.

John Delany was next with a piece called
Performance Symmetry, which he describes as an exercise in timbral variation (Delany 2006). From two original recordings a vocal performances emphasising sustained harmonics (sung by fellow students Patrick McCartney and Benjamin Probert), the original recordings where shifted in pitch, one higher and one lower, within a range of 3 octaves.

The piece was quite entrancing and my only complaint was that it didn't go for long enough! John cut it quite short at the end and it meant that the piece felt unsatisfied. Mind you, how do you satisfy a piece like that? I suppose the voices would have to be shifted outside of our hearing range. He also achieved an interesting effect by way of distorting the higher pitched vocals. Very interesting.


Delany, John. "Performance Symmetry", @ EMU, University of Adelaide.

Digance, Luke. "Concrete Harmony", @ EMU, University of Adelaide.


Post a Comment

<< Home