Thursday, November 1, 2012

Those Who Make Sound - Part II: All Those Who Contribute

Recently I was given a fantastic experience that really shed some light on the second of the three questions asked in my last post.


Are all those who make sound also making art?

On Friday, Oct. 26th I had the opportunity to improvise 3 hours of ambient music for The Minneapolis Photo Center's Photo Exposure Lotto event. I brought a pocket recorder so I could listen back later.

Shortly after beginning the first set, the room filled up with about 100-120 very noisy patrons who quickly became happily imbibed on flowing spirits and even more noisy.  My initial thought was, "there goes my recording – but no big deal, I’m glad there are people here.” Upon listening back, I found that the sound of the crowd added a really great ambiance and whole new level of interest to the overall sound.


Fading from foreground to background the murmuring crowd blends perfectly with the other parts of the music. When somebody walks near the recorder with loud shoes (good one around 18:58)...the clacking falls perfectly in time (or perfectly out of time) with the other percussion. The bursts of laughter (starting at 16:25) are outstanding contrasts with the otherwise subdued sounds with which I was then filling the room. I can't help but smile when I hear them.

In the first entry in this blog a questions was asked. Are all those who make sound also making art?

My response, although not addressing every instance of sound making, is a response none-the-less: All those who made sound in that room contributed to this piece of improvised art.
Now, is my above statement only true because I am the “creator” of the art and I have the right to say so? Probably. 

Would it be a completely different scenario if the music were not improvised, and the sounds that made their way into the recording where a random cough or sneeze? I think so.

Is it time for another open ended question without an answer? Of course.

If the audience adds enough of their own sounds during a live performance, can the overall output of sound be considered to be a different piece of music?

A special thanks to The Minneapolis Photo Center for having me, Sara Horishnyk for booking me at the event, and Kate Schumann for her amazing trumpet playing.

Until next time,

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