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Page 346 ï~~Organization of CLANg INOT Curtis Roads Center for Computer Music and Music Technology Kunitachi College of Music 5-5-1 Kashiwa-cho Tachikawa-shi 190 Tokyo Japan Fig. 1. Horse + Rider of the Artemision (Large). 1990. Star Brothers. (Actual width5 meters.) "A compound [sound] color...is produced by the admixture of two or more simple ones, and an assemblage of tones, such as we obtain when the fundamental tone and the harmonics of a string sound together, is called by the Germans a Kang....May we not, like Helmholtz, add the word color or tint, to denote the character of the clang, using the term clang-tint as the equivalent of Klangfarbe?" - John Tyndall (1875) This brief presentation describes Clang-tint, a composition for eight-channel digital tape and performers commissioned by the Japan Ministry of Culture (Bunko-cho), in conjunction with Kunitachi College of Music (Kunitachi Ongaku Daigaku). The paper divides into five parts: 1. Origins-from visual inspiration to sound signals 2. Sound sources-from acoustical instruments, industrial noises, sounds of nature, synthesizers, computer-generated sounds 3. Recordings at Kunitachi-from ancient Chinese bells to the Ondes Martenot, recorded at the Gakkigaku Shirokan (Institute of Organology) 4. Composition tools-sound editors, synthesizers, traditional and exotic signal processing techniques 5. Architecture and organization-in five sections: Overture, Purity, Filth, Robotic, Organic Origins The inspiration for the overall structure of the composition Clang-tint followed a visit in November 1990 to an exhibition of photographic works (fig. 1) by the Starn twins at the Akron Museum of Art (Ohio USA). 2P.03 346 ICMC Proceedings 1993
Page 347 ï~~These works combined prints and large transparencies with other media to create three-dimensional sculptures. Several aspects of this installation struck me: (1) the use of sampled" imagery in conjunction with odd materials and innovative methods of construction (tape, clear lacquer,wood, metal pipes and clamps); (2) unusual spatial frameworks (twisted, diagonal forms, threedimensional convex and concave projections); (3) quality as a parameter-in the Starns' work, image quality can vary from high to low within a single piece. Clang-tint extends these principles into the domain of composition, starting from a large collection of sampled recordings. The work is conceived in three dimensions-spatial projection is an especially important organizing principle; the performance version features playback in eight discrete channels including vertical projection. Sound quality plays the role of an aesthetic variable in Clang-tint, from pristine recordings made carefully with high-quality equipment to garbled signals transcribed from broadcasts of decades past, or distortions imposed willfully in the studio. Sound Sources Varese's conception of music as organized sound (Varese 1971) appears relevant today. The sound palette of Clang-tint is indeed open, rather than bounded. It takes in acoustic and electric instruments, industrial and mechanical noises, sounds of nature, human and computer voices, animal, bird, fish, and insect cries, analog and digital synthesizers, and computer-generated textures (Roads 1991). Each ofthe five movements of Clang-tint takes its identity from a selection out of this broad palette. Recordings at Kunitachi I was fortunate to have access to the extraordinary Gakkigaku Shirokan (musical instrument museum, or Institute of Organology) at Kunitachi. There I recorded 45 instruments, some two millennia old, some as modern as the Ondes Martenot (-1950, a vacuum-tube keyboard synthesizer). These long recording sessions (fig. 2) resulted in a database of ten hours of sound. Special care was taken, using high-quality microphones, preamplifiers, and an external oversampling analog-to-digital converter unit brought to Kunitachi for this purpose. The output from these converters was transferred to a DAT recorder via its digital input port, bypassing the converters of the recorder. Figure 2. Sampling a Javanese jecogan. Composition Tools A cornucopia of new tools for music and sound processing appear regularly, replenishing the kit of implements for painting sound color onto the canvas of time. Analog electronic music systems offered a broad brush. In contrast, digital sound tools directly access the extremes of auditory phenomena, from microsurgery on individual sample points, to rearrangement of high-level architecture. With the proper software, nothing more than a personal computer is needed for advanced composition in the electronic medium (Roads 1994). Using the MacMix editor on the Studer Dyaxis, for example, one can hone a note until it has precisely the right weight, proportion, and shape within a phrase. This editing goes beyond cuts and splices, to microfiltration of waveforms lasting 100 ms or less. By selective use of signal processing programs (SoundHack, Lemur, Hyperprism), one can construct animated musical phrases using waveforms never seen in nature (fig. 3). For the final production, it is, of course, a convenience to work with a professional power tool like the Studer Dyaxis II at the Center for Computer Music and Music Technology at Kunitachi, for real-time mixing of the eight-channel master recording. ICMC Proceedings 1993 347 2P.03
Page 348 ï~~Amplified and Pitch-shifted twang of gopi yantra, sculptedanticipated by backward ambient noise reverberation Percussive attack, extracted from next attack Delayed twang Figure 3. Unusual time-domain signal created by waveform microsurgery. Architecture and Organization Table 1 outlines the organization of each section of Clang-tint. Section Musical Organization Typical Material OVERTURE Hybrid form: (Clang-tint melody) PURITY Melodic, harmonic, metrical, pulsating FILTH Dense sound masses, vast spaces ORGANIC Gently crossfading, intimate spaces RoDoTic Mechanical waltz, polyrhythms staccato intercuts Uses materials from all sections plus new material and montages Bohlen-Pierce scale, sine waves, glissandi, gong, slit drum Granular synthesis, processed rock music, television Bird songs, animal cries, human voice, "insect music" Polyphon, machine sounds, ALPHA-60 soliloquy drum machine, computer singing Acknowledgements I am grateful to many people for the opportunity to realize this work, but especially to Bin Ebisawa, President of the Kunitachi College of Music, and Cornelia Colyer, Director of the Center for Computer Music and Music Technology at Kunitachi. I must also thank Kuzika Kuryiama for his kind assistance and hospitality in Tokyo, and Professor Sumi Gunji and her staff at the Kunitachi Ongaku Daigaku Gakkigaku Shir~kan for allowing me access to their wonderful museum of instruments. Finally I would like to express my thanks to the Bunka-cho for providing the fellowship and commission that brought me back to Tokyo. References Roads, C. 1991. "Asynchronous Granular Synthesis." In G. De Poli, A. Piccialli, and C. Roads, eds. 1991. Representations of Musical Signals. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. pp. 143-186. Roads, C. 1994. Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.(Forthcoming.) Tyndall, J. 1875. Sound. Akron, Ohio: Werner Company. Varese, E. 1971. "The Liberation of Sound." In B. Boretz and E. Cone, eds. Perspectives on American Composers. New York: Norton. 2P.03 348 ICMC Proceedings 1993