(In “The Cataract of time” Daniel Tammet describes how the modern time-keeping has forced us to partition our experiences into discrete units of hours, minutes and seconds – a filling of elemental “holes”. He continues by saying that this is a mistaken way of viewing the world, as “one hole is much the same as any other, whereas each day is different. . . it is more like dough that we can sculpt into infinitely varying shapes”. (p251). As a simple experiment into the relative sensation of time, this score is to be performed by a single soloist over any number of days. The resulting soundscape reveals the subjective experience of time and it’s relation to pitch; subsequently, to harmony as a psychological construct that reflects the emotions, anxiety and activities of the soloist. Heraclitus is quoted as saying “No man ever steps into the same river twice” – like water in the river, time is not fixed but constantly expanding and contracting, thus our experience of it is not stable idea, but something that changes and consistently renews itself every moment. The irony inherent to this piece is the more focused we are on the objectification, and ‘outside-ness’ of time, the more we realize it to be subsumed within the rhythms, emotions, distractions and proclivities of everyday life. This sculptural piece invites multiple renderings and recordings and can be extended to a group activity)
Thinking in Numbers (on the emphasis of harmony and time) (2014)
(This activity is to occur without the presence, visual or audible, of a clock or timer, in a quiet place with an audio recorder. Turn the recorder on at the start of the counting, and turn it off at the end of the last vocalization)
Hum a steady tone at 155Hz for 20 seconds
Count in your head to 15.5
Hum a steady tone at 440 for 10 seconds
Hum a steady tone at 880 for 2 seconds
Count in your head to 4.4, and then count out loud from 1 to 8 at a steady and normal pitch – each number occupying approximately 1.14seconds
Make 10 utterances of exactly 2 second each between 100Hz and 1kHz for 20 seconds
Count out loud from 10 to 1, starting at 1000Hz and moving down in scalic fashion to 100Hz. Feel free to use any scale of your choosing, and extend the duration of each vocalization gradually from 1 to 5 seconds.
Stop the recording.
Repeat this activity as many times over the span of as many days as necessary. Overlay the recordings on each other to create the final soundscape
End when the soundscape exhibits an undulating or wave-like shape.
2. In an interview with Xenakis, David Rosenboom discusses a way to quantify the musical ‘universal’ – the forms, and perception of these forms in music as being very close to natural forms of expression of man: sorrow or pain; In the work of Manfred Clynes, “he claims to be able to detect responses in the electrical signals of the nervous system and muscles in respect to (people) expressing some of those natural things that (Xenakis) enumerated and also in respect to music. He has this pressure transducer, and people tap out time while listening to music. And if they’re sufficiently familiar with the music, a certain curve appears; and that curve appears to be the same no matter who is doing the tapping.
SO, the question is if there are such universals of time perception/output forms that are embedded in the music – an innate pulse of the music that is transmitted to the listener. Or is it entirely subjective. Science/mathematics argues that there is a mix of both, and that these universal forms can creep up in entirely unconscious forms in the way we measure numbers, pitch, in the octaves; mystics claim that these are not just abstractions, they are ways we understand the universe, and to appreciate its immense scale beyond the immediacy of the human perception. So how are we understanding the universe? what ratios are important to the movement of planets, and what good does it do to be able to hear them.
OR there seems to be a fundamental problem with the way we learn about the human brain. Do psychologists and neuroscientists communicate much? (do they engage in telepathic resonances)