Friday, October 10, 2008

Listening sample - Xenakis

Last week I brought in some listening samples, but we had limited time, so here is the main thing that I intended to share.

This is "Diamorphoses II" by the composer Iannis Xenakis, from 1957. It was an early musique concrète composition using recorded sounds and various techniques of tape-based manipulation: editing, speeding and slowing of the tape, etc. He did actually use a multi-track recorder for this piece, contrary to what I said in class.

He intended to present various "ugly sounds" in interaction, to exhibit extremes of the frequency spectrum, and to create a metamorphosing change in density throughout.

None of the sounds are synthesized or generated, per se. They were all recorded sounds subjected to the phenomena of electronic manipulation. The tape recorder and the mixing console are the musical instruments.

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