Social Interpretation Repertoire

Can approaches from (experimental) music/sound to social interpretation of text shed any light on our thinking about Prism? Let’s get the Praxis Band together and find out:

1. Significant Rhythm Hocket

Text: a poem, perhaps a poem that has some repetition, text as well as a recorded reading.

Additional Materials: a sound playback device with headphones and a musical instrument for each participant. Instrument can be small percussion/found object/otherwise improvised or homemade.

Instructions: Mark the one word (or syllable) you find most significant in the poem. Mark each occurrence of that word. Group listens to recorded reading of poem simultaneously (all press play on your iPods at the same time). Devise a sound of appropriate length on your instrument. Make this sound (always the same sound) each time you hear your word.

2. Inverse Rally

Text: a political speech.

Materials: Sound recording equipment and sound playback device with speaker for each participant. (Or a multichannel playback system with one channel per participant.)

Instructions: each participant rehearses the speech and records their own performance. Recordings are assembled and played back simultaneously on a loop through a multi-channel sound installation. Correlation between sound file data (or sonograms? normalized in some fashion?) is visualized.

3. Laugh-o-meter

Text: A recorded text that’s meant to get laughs. Perhaps a comedy record?

Additional Materials: Sound recording equipment. A situation in which group can be recorded together as well as separately. Playback with headphones for each participant.

Instructions: Participants’ vocal reactions are recorded while listening to comedy. Ideally they are recorded with a high quality microphone in a quiet space (like a recording studio) so that subtle subvocal reactions are recorded as well as laughing proper. Group is also recorded while listening to the text together for comparison. Sound recordings are correlated with the text and visualized. And, of course, we compile the separately recorded laugh tracks, mix them, and listen to them without the original comedy.

Chris Peck is a composer/performer whose work has been presented extensively around the US and internationally. His works involving collaboration with contemporary dance, audience participation, various mixtures of trained and “untrained” performers, and site specificity have been performed at the Venice Biennale, Performa, ImPulsTanz, Improvised and Otherwise, The Whitney Museum, and The Kitchen, and reviewed…

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