NEW WRITINGS OF SOUND AND MUSIC// Jeff Brown// Motion Harmony #3
* Titre de l’œuvre : Motion Harmony #3
* Instrumentation ou modalités d’interprétation : 4 sound pendulums, percussion, Jean Tinguely’s Fata Morgana
1. How would you describe this form of writing sound and / or music?
In my music, pitches are set in motion, so that – due to the Doppler Effect – each listener perceives slightly different harmonies. Often the effect is achieved with homemade instruments called sound pendulums which can be seen in the video of Motion Harmony #3. Though the Doppler Effect changes are very small, only about 1/12 of a tone, they can radically change a chord through motion. « Neutral » thirds, a quarter tone between a major and minor third, have a strange character – but set in motion, swing in and out of a clearly audible minor color.
Since the exact pitches of my pieces are different for each listener, I have developed a form of notation with Excel spreadsheets which only details the actions of the players.
2. How do you think your proposal can be interpreted?
Though the performer’s actions are fixed in Motion Harmony #3, there are many possibilities to expand the « relative » aspects of the work: performer placement, size and location of the pendulums, etc. These possibilities can be integrated into the concert space. Additionally, there are many ways to substitute for the actual presence of Fata Morgana, which cannot be moved from its home in Basel.
3. What meanings or additional level provides this particular form of writing to the performance and / or to the interpretation of the work?
Music is never perceived objectively or absolutely, a fact that classical Western notation ignores. One can see this reflected in the artistic aims of instrumentalists: the « objective » notation seems to require an objectively perfect performance. My score indicates time, the pitches of the pendulums, the players’ actions, and little more. Each member of the audience perceives a slightly different harmony as the Doppler Effect occurs for each of them at a different time. The score, therefore, does not force the interpreter to search a specific result, but allows them the freedom to explore the varied perceptions of the audience.