Feagufd: music/noise--21st-Century Alternatives|
Opera / Internet / Noise
TM: Yet aren't you also interested in exploring possibilities for converting visual images into music? Converting a PICASSO into music or . . . ?
SR:Well, eyes and ears are quite different sensory apparatus. The number of bits involved are different. The speed of processing is quite different. The incremental values that you need to assign before you can recognize the differences in the stimuli are something like two decimal places. For example, your eyes can concentrate on something for two hours, but if you tried converting this thing to sound, you would find that your ears simply aren't able to focus for that long.
TM: Did you notate?
SR: I couldn't. You're not allowed to move. The idea is to restrict the subject, because when you move, other stimuli get recorded, such as the part of the brain that controls your musculature, for example. But when you compose while strapped into that machine, the activity in your visual field can be clearly isolated, because you're really "looking." When I compose, the score is in my mind, and from that music other landscapes and symbolics and abstract figures are invoked, and these become the basis for the composition. I'm hearing music in my head, so both the auditory and visual fields are finding expression, in addition to the physical. The associations that arise when I'm composing affect my musculature, making it tense up and loosen. My brain is getting a full workout.
TM: Would you say that using technology like IWAI's system, then, makes composition easier for you?
SR: I don't know if it would make composition easier, but it would make different music than having not employed it. A good example might be STRAVINSKY's The Rites of Spring, or some of the other early ballet pieces he was so prolific with. They are very odd pieces to look at. They seem filled with extraneous repetitions and awkward sudden changes. They were completely revolutionary for their time. When they were first staged half of the audience would throw garbage onto the stage. There was, literally, a real stink raised about them. But they were written to be danced to. So it was only normal that once a dancer had walked to a certain point on the stage, that they would pirouette or leap, or some other choreographic command would act upon him. Well, STRAVINSKY was merely writing to this subtext, and his composition reflected it. Film scores have a similar set of issues. Once the choreography is removed and the piece is made to stand as a purely musical statement it may be structurally odd, but it is still valid as a composition.