Found Sound Proposal Draft

As musicians we often hear from others that we must be so happy to be “doing what we love.”  The life of a classical musician seems charmed on the outside, but in reality there is a lot of negativity that most people never see. I want to create a piece that embodies the stress, pressure, frustration, and doubt that classical musicians experience on a day-to-day basis.

There are two main categories of found sounds I will use in this project:

a. Playing of etudes and exercises. These sounds represent the part of classical music that non-musicians never see. These are the sounds I am surrounded by every day.  To the non-musician, the musical excerpts probably sound pleasant.  To us, they are necessary exercises for survival in our line of work. They take a great deal of physical and mental effort and we often have a hard time seeing the payoff.

b. Spoken word.  I want to interview musicians and collect spoken samples of them retelling stressful or discouraging feedback they have received about their musical playing.  Our peers, relatives, teachers, and potential employers remind us every day of our limited possibility of success and of the techniques we still lack.

I plan to structure the piece in a “classical” way, with a form analogous to a sonata-allegro form.  The first part of the piece will introduce the themes, the middle – and longest – part of the piece will “develop” them, and the end of the piece will be a restatement (with some changes) of the first part.

The piece will be ultimately rendered as an audio file that can be listened to anywhere.  The optimal space for listening is a space where the listener can be immersed in the sound.  A room with a well-amplified stereo system or a good pair of headphones would both be effective.

There will be several simultaneous modes of listening:

* Causal listening – what instrument is playing?

* Semantic listening – what is the speaker saying? (This will be difficult as words will be layered/distorted)

*Reduced listening – what new sounds are created when the sound sources are overlapped in this specifically organized way?

My goal is to create a piece that conveys the tension and self-doubt that classical musicians experience.  The listener’s background in classical music will influence his or her perception of the piece – it will probably be more relatable and stress inducing if the listener can directly relate to the sound sources.  Regardless of background, the listener should still experience some level of the emotion and atmosphere I am trying to convey.


One thought on “Found Sound Proposal Draft

  1. Hi Allyson,

    Lots of great ideas here! Immediately I’m curious about what stress sounds like. Also, is it that you want to convey the idea of stress, or that you want the listener to feel stressed or both? Is there a particular reason you chose sonata-allegro form as opposed to any other form? Do you want it to be pure, or do you want to explore how stress might alter the reality and/or perception of the form? I’m also curious about the intended audience and listening context. Is this something people will listen to on their own? Together? Is it a site-specific piece in a practice room, for one person to hear at a time, or a concert hall experience? How would this impact the nature of the experience?

    Great start!

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