Skyline: acousmatic music in 8 channels
- Submitting institution
Bangor University / Prifysgol Bangor
- Unit of assessment
- 26 - Modern Languages and Linguistics
- Output identifier
- J - Composition
- Supplementary information
- Request cross-referral to
- 33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
- Output has been delayed by COVID-19
- COVID-19 affected output statement
- Forensic science
- Number of additional authors
- Research group(s)
- Proposed double-weighted
- Reserve for an output with double weighting
- Additional information
- ‘Skyline’ continues a tradition of acousmatic birdsong music initiated by Pierre Schaeffer’s ‘L’oiseau RAI’ (1950), bringing new dimensions to the genre through the application of digital technologies. The aim was to reveal the complex inner-music of a Blackbird’s song (in recordings made as part of the research) using a variety of novel signal processing tools developed especially for the project. These were realised as extensions to the BAT software suite (Bangor Audio Toolkit) and include the phase-vocoder-based freezing technique used to elaborate the melodic contours of the Blackbird song heard in the middle of the work.
The novelty of these technologies lies not in the originality of their algorithms (they are very well known) but in their unique focus on practicality and ease-of-use in the composition of multi-channel acousmatic music. Technical and compositional aims are seamlessly integrated in the design of each tool. This is embodied in ‘Skyline’ as the output of both the technical and creative aspects of the research.
The artistic aim of the research was to use birdsong to develop the concept of ‘democratic’ music: a music that is both original and familiar; accessible and complex; heard in the grandest gardens and the bleakest slums; transcending cultural and historical context; belonging to all and owned by none.
To explore this theme of democratic music effectively, and avoid inherent contradiction, it was essential that the piece was not itself esoteric or elitist. It had to communicate in an immediate way to the non-specialist listener, as well as offering something to the expert ear. ‘Skyline’ does this by making extensive use of ‘raw’ Blackbird recordings, transforming these in a gradual way that leads the listener from the concrete to the abstract, and back again.
‘Skyline’ was awarded First Prize in the 2017 Destellos Competition, Mar del Plata (Argentina).
- Author contribution statement
- English abstract