Sound Analysis and Aural Experiences from Music

Subject: Art
Pages: 8
Words: 2073
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

Luc Ferrari – Presque Rien No.1

Luc Ferraris’s works transcend the mid and late 19th century ushering in the 20th century. The 1970 piece it is regarded as a piece in its own rating that invites the listener to a slow but solid environment of the activity that filters into the sound of activity. The work is regarded as an enhancement of John Cage’s concept of music happening around us. The beginning sets the stage for a relatively rural scene marked by the sound of a truck or tractor, which fades into active commercial activity.

The utterances are used to maintain a touch between the activities in the foreground and background. The piece progresses into the day, allowing the repetition of the sound of an engine to resonate and transition the change of events of the day. The influence of concrete work merges and filters in through the second part keeping a safe but close distance with pure un-influenced expression.

The French utterances by children and women identify the setting of the piece as a mid rural mid urban setting full of activity and commerce. The conversations suggest a town like setting that has a climax in the second part. The third and last part transitions the piece’s mood into a separated and a rather lonely stream of cricket sounds that crescendos into a regulated mix of high pitched sounds to suggest an afternoon a late-night abrupt ending. The piece has a lot to tell as far as the background and event is concerned. This is a good piece.

Jonty Harrison – Klang

John Harrison retrieved the name Klang from the German word for sound. The piece allows the listener to find the creation and development of casserole sounds from raw statements made by the sounds of lids and bowls. The work maintains an onomatopoeic family of sounds that is richly mixed with concrete sounds of cowbells and metal rods. Since its first recording in the University of Anglia in the summer of 1981, the piece has suffered the enrichment of modern methods such as electronically generated analog and digital sounds smoothly blended into the piece to maintain its original texture timbre. The continuous rolling of sounds with varying pitches keeps the piece in a constant state of attention to a rather abstract environment.

The piece has more than one climax, which keeps the listener more interested. The first climax filters into a static section that merges into a glissando structure and buildup. The piece maintains this pace to the central climax and a subsequent slow release into the sudden end. I would be tempted to term it a concrete piece, but it bears the influence of other musical impressions. The mixing and filtering go a long way in ensuring that the principle means of regulating and equalizing the timing and rhythmic articulation is the montage.

This piece offers a lot to learn from and is, therefore, a classic worth listening to over and over. It has received several awards, such as Euphonie d’Or at Bourges, for being among the best twenty works for two decades of the Bourges awards. It has also received worldwide broadcasting over the years.

Paul Lansky – Her Song

The 1979 piece begins in the usual musical manner and retains the original nature and texture of the music. Paul Lansky makes the combination of sounds into music and allows the piece to keep the original timbre of musical melody. The piece sways the sound into unregulated abrupt increases in sound loudness. The uneven sound keeps the listener alert while the harmony keeps them interested. This form of division is similar to Charles dodges work in Cascada, composed between 1972 and 1983. It employs the all-pole technique that was synthesized between 1978 and 1979. The sounds are easily recognizable as that of a musical choir since they have not been majorly interfered with.

The long sounds allow the music to narrate the text musically in a vivid but consistent manner. The piece has two layers that sway the notes near and far in a reverberating way. The piece begins and remains at a single climax that is maintained all through the piece. The piece has silent sections that allow the text to end and start again while still maintaining the climax. The piece makes a smooth and slow exit from the listener in the typical manner in which a song comes to an end. This is a rather obvious piece, and it bears no concrete material. I listened to the piece more than twice, and in the end, I felt more or less let down. It leaves the listener hoping for an end yet still left wondering for more.

Pauline Oliveros – Bye Bye Butterfly

The piece begins with a dull, high-pitched sound of an oscillator, which is quickly penetrated by its own sharper staccato inflections. The sounds proceed into a rumbling wave that is made up of several layers of complicated sounds of repetitive echo. These sounds then filter into a rather slow and low done that fades in and out, allowing the high pitched wave to merge out and back in to dominate the mixture again. The harmony of an operatic human voice engages the wave and infects the mixture through a string section. The high pitched wave makes an un-spirited fight against the interruption before it tapers off into the background to become indistinguishable.

It then returns alongside a longer drone with the aggression and oomph of a cocoon distracting the light around it. All along, the atonality of the opera voices grates along with the oscillations of the wave and fades into the background as the piece comes to an end. The wave becomes longer with consistent sound patterns that make a slow, high-pitched exit to a smooth exit. The 1965 piece makes adequate use of the drone texture and explores all angles to the technique. The influence of the operatic voice creates a rather strange complexion of the piece, making it a restrained but impressive piece.

Peter Hannan – Moment

The piece makes use of musical notes to introduce and develop the piece. It begins with a sharp, fast start. It is a classical representation of Texas-born Peter Hannah’s history and background as a composer, performer, and humanitarian. It was produced in the most aggressive two decades of the 19th century and was awarded for being the most significant pieces in the 1970s. It engages in a fast and fierce conflict of sounds that move at an increasing speed to the piece’s central climax. Peter Hannan uses more than one layer of sounds mixed and harmonized to rhythmically filtered and equalized to meet the listener from where they are seated.

The firm and aggressive melody engage a variety of string and electronic sections motivated by a background of eco and a wave of ambiance. The short sudden beats interrupt the alternative of a unified set of sounds that have been carefully harmonized and scrambled into dense and thin layers of sound mixes. The background is made to reverberate, keeping a far but significantly blended presence into the fore ground. The musical instruments work together to reach the first climax of the piece and rise to maintain a higher climax in the central climax. The piece makes a sad and smooth exit sliding off the listener from the musical sphere and back to reality. This is a good piece that is often regarded as a farewell to the 19th century.

Michael McNabb – Dreamsong

The piece first produced at Stanford in 1978 as a computer processing field recording begins by a rather short anonymous sound of bells that filters into a smooth and highly synthesized family of sounds accompanied by recorded natural sounds. The piece reaches its first climax and proceeds to a smooth exit into the background. A gloomy harmony of equalized sound begins the second part representing a mixture of several layers of high pitched and low-pitched sounds that move on to a second lesser climax.

This set of sounds filters into a complex set of high-pitched sounds that consistently maintain a sonic continuum of a family of un-adulterated sounds into real natural sounds. The piece speaks to the imagination and makes the transition to the real world. The short sounds and mysterious detached background is contrasted and narrowed down to the natural and present foreground sound. The piece makes a sudden exit in the middle of the performance and fades into the smooth sober, and long sound of string instruments that continue to the third and last climax.

The piece makes a smooth and slow exit from the stage and leaves the listener satisfied and fulfilled. It mixes the familiarity of the musical vocal and environmental sounds and merges it with the newness of the unexpected sonic manipulation. Since its first audience in the center for computer research in music and acoustics in 1977 and 1978, it has been performed to thousands of audiences in its 1993 revised version

Robert Normandeau – Le Renard et la Rose

The piece begins with an aggressive climax of high-pitched sound that sinks into a slow and increasingly sharp stop to allow the second set of sounds that are characterized by tapping that is caused by the friction of a fast-moving object on a rigid object. It was composed of music adopted from music commissioned for the presentation of the book The Little Prince by Antonie De Saint Exupery in 1994 and was the third piece in a cycle that was started in 1991.

The piece gains momentum and reaches several climaxes that are then reduced in speed to allow for a different marriage of sounds to set in. the piece repeats the same rhythm and gives the listener enough space to analyze each short climax. The mix of sounds keeps a small margin between the various layers of high-pitched sounds that are keenly equalized to maintain a vivid presence, taking foreground only during the climax. The mixture of high-pitched sound stakes the foreground to the main climax and then filters into a slow exit. The third part begins in the same way as all others with the slow tapping that continues in magnitude and speeds, paving the way for the waves of speed that sway the pitch high and low, creating an interactive harmony of mood swings.

The environment is distinctly familiar to that of an object that moves, such as a machine or train. The sudden exits and entries in the piece maintain a unified common thread that keeps alongside the sway of the wave. The piece makes a sudden and abrupt exit leaving at its final climax. This is a very inspired piece that mixes the unity and variety of natural sounds to maintain a stable and likable melody.

Hildegard Westerkamp – Breathing Room

The audio artist, composer, and teacher piece begins the piece with a slow and soothing mixture of natural sounds that filter into a breath of natural alongside artificial sounds that transcend across the three-minute piece. The waves and short climaxes between the breaths propel the time gap within layers of sound, allowing it to sway between the fore and background with a fine finish. The piece is a true expression of nature and accompanied by a skillful blend of a family of acoustic sections.

The familiarity in which each breath comes in leaves is distorted and influenced by the blend of natural sounds, separating it from a yawn and satisfying the listener’s curiosity. Hildegard Westerkamp is well known for her use of urban and rural themes and setups blended to create a familiar personalized landscape. The breaths are heard throughout the piece, enhances accompanied by a variety and unity of acoustic sounds and natural noises. The piece develops a nourishing musical space and makes a unique statement to the listener. The ending is called for and clearly satisfying. This is a piece that reveals nature in its naked sense in a specific place in time.

The acoustic influence comes from her experience as an associate researcher with R. Murray between 1971 and 1991 before deciding to compose her own works. The environmental phenomenon reflects her encounter with environmental issues in her short experience as a coordinator and researcher with the noise abatement project between 1974 and 1975, whose aim was to promote environmental conservation in Vancouver. It is a very sensational piece and worth listening to more than once.


Breathing Room (Hildegard Westerkamp). (2014). YouTube. Web.

Harrison, J. (2015). Klang. YouTube. Web.

Le renard et la rose (The Fox and the Rose). (2015). YouTube. Web.

Luc Ferrari – Presque Rien No.1. (2018). YouTube. Web.

Michael McNabb-Dreamsong (1978) HD. YouTube. Web.

Paul Lansky – Her Song. (2010). YouTube. Web.

Pauline Oliveros: Bye Bye Butterfly (1967). YouTube. Web.

Phh!k: No. 13. Moment. (2015). YouTube. Web.