Surface Resonance…

Phase 5: New approaches to the interaction between the senses and use of vibration material in making sound. March 08 - July 08

During this phase I resolved some of the challenges raised during earlier compositions, primarily concerning the dialogue between the senses.

I investigated the ways perceptual focus can shift depending on the way sound and sensation are presented. This included developing my process for composing sound with sensation. I also expanded the sonic palette I was working with from vibrating materials.

I moved outside the compositional comfort zone established in earlier work.


Phase 5: Overview

I made a new work 'March table project' with different vibrating materials, greater layering of sounds, and different vibration effects. I approached the compositional narrative in a new way, leading from vibration rather than sound.

I presented the acoustic component of the work to Berlin based sound curator Elke Moltrecht. Feedback from her and others highlighted the shortcomings and lessons from the composition, and validated my intended approach for installing vibration with sound.

Overview of research outcomes

This period explored the following principal research aims:

The main development was in my understanding of how perception shifts focus depending on the makeup of the sound and sensation elements in a composition.

I started by focusing on engaging sensation components/phrases. However, when I introduced sound into the composition it 'sidelined' the amount of engagement or focus a listener could have on the sensation experience. The audible sense took primacy, even where the content was meant to support the sensation experience.

This had an important bearing on my approach to structuring compositions. It was also challenging when moving back and forward from sensation generation to audible vibration generation, as these both couldn't always be experienced at once.

I thought about the narrative arc that I wanted to employ. With gutterglass, I found a comfortable area based on drones and closely aligned, simple passages of sound and sensation. In the 'March table project', I aimed for smaller phrases of sensation such as stutters and pulses, and more complex sound/sensation interactions. I tried to avoid staying within the comfort zone of the earlier work, and to establish a greater the range of inter-sensory experiences.

I also worked with new sound-making materials including wires and metal sheeting, made harsh and discordant vibration sounds, and layered many sonic elements together.

I found that I needed to limit the complexity and layering of sounds given their (in)harmonic makeup, and that I didn't need to reach full discordant vibration from materials. I also improved my understanding of microphone technique and eq'ing.

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Research detail subpage:   5.1 - The dialogue between hearing and sensation - felt and audible aspects affecting awareness and perception of each other

Reference Material