Music

28th April 2006 at 01:00
Make a recording that uses contrasts: slow and fast, high and low, loud and soft, thick and thin textures. Use acoustic means, for example, moving a cymbal slowly away from the microphone, as well as whatever digital resources are available, including mobile phone rings and the programmable keyboards which often lie neglected in instrumental cupboards. Avoid using a narrative such as journey into space or thunderstorm, concentrating instead on the transition between the sounds themselves.

Create a sound track for an event in history as it might have been captured had modern technology existed at the time. Use short rather than long segments and focus on the most effective way of ordering them, eg, a snatch of "Greensleeves", street vendors' cries, horses' hooves and laughter for an introduction to Shakespeare's London, or an extract from Weill's Threepenny Opera, marching boots and shouting for Berlin during the rise of Hitler. Use the internet, musical dictionaries and online library catalogues to expand the repertoire of sounds.

Explore the work of IRCAM, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique Musique, which was founded in Paris during the 1970s by the composer Pierre Boulez. IRCAM pioneered the use of real-time audio processing, as well as other innovations such as recording and electronically modifying the strings of a cello. Listen to music by composers who worked at IRCAM, such as Magnus Lindberg ( Joy for orchestra and electronics), Tristan Murail and above all Boulez himself (explosante-fixe for flutes, midi-flute, orchestra and electronics).

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