Sound Collage Final Proposal

“Breath Talk”

I decide to make this collage as a monologue not using spoken languages but breath. Breath almost a noise, meanwhile contains so much information. For example, soft breath = calm, a long exhale = relieve, with combinations of inhale, exhale and silence, the expressions change. If we put breath in a musical context, a short and deep inhale could indicate a start and a long gradual inhale/exhale feels just like a string bowing.

I’ve been playing around with a breath sensor I made and realized that I could not only use it to detect breathing gestures but also record the sounds of it. I’m interested in the meditation property of of breath sounds and the idea of “listening to yourself” but at the same time also “blurring the content or add in more content” .  In the context of sounds, the idea is to use the sound to control the sound itself which I think might be an interesting feedback loop.

The sound content will include breathing sounds, silence, and muyu to add in more meditation elements and rhythmic potentials.

The Structure

The first step is to establish breathing phrases — different combinations of inhale, exhale and silence in various length and depth. Then a sentence, a paragraph or a statement will be made out of these phrases. After that is the abstract phase, and this is when the “sound controlled by sound itself comes in”. And it ends in a calm dialogue.

There’ll be a one performer that is using the breath controller and using her breathing sounds to construct the piece.A simple visualization would be there for better understanding. I think it’s more a semantic listening experience like I said before I would like them to hear it as a bizarre language.


Thanks very much for Abby pointing me to those inspiring resources.

Breathing Pranayama is a breathing exercise for meditation. It’s interesting to see

Breath – Samuel Beckett is a 35s short play that used breath as dramatic elements.

Flesh Protocol is a live interactive performance using bio-feedback information including breath. The interactions isn’t obvious but is still an interesting work to look at.


One thought on “Sound Collage Final Proposal

  1. Hi Ziyun,

    Lots of potential here — looking forward to checking in after break to see how it’s going. I mentioned a while back that I worked for a while on a breath controller…I just came across a bibliography I compiled while working on it, in case any of it is of interest. Not all of it will be relevant (some are about garment-based sensing of breathing movements, since that was my approach). However, hopefully some things could be useful:

    Bahn, Curtis, Tomie Hahn, and Dan Trueman. “Physicality and Feedback: A Focus on the Body in the Performance of Electronic Music.” Web. Apr. 2011.
    Chadabe, Joel. Electric Sound: the past and Promise of Electronic Music. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. Print.
    Dunne, Lucy. “Beyond the Second Skin: an Experimental Approach to Addressing Garment Style and Fit Variables in the Design of Sensing Garments.” International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education 3.3 (2010): 109-17. Print.
    Dunne, Lucy E., Sarah Brady, Richard Tynan, Kim Lau, Barry Smyth, Dermot Diamond, and G.M.P. O’Hare. “Garment-Based Body Sensing Using Foam Sensors.” Web. Apr. 2011.
    Dunne, Lucy. “Second-skin Sensing: A Wearability Challenge.” Web.Apr. 2011.
    Fitch, W. “The Biology and Evolution of Music: A Comparative Perspective.” Cognition 100.1 (2006): 173-215. Print.
    Hunt, Andy, Marcelo M. Wanderley, and Matthew Paradis. “The Importance of Parameter Mapping in Electronic Instrument Design.” Journal of New Music Research 32.4 (2003): 429-40. Print.
    Hutchings, William. Abated Drama: Samuel Beckett’s Unbated “Breath” 1986. Print.
    Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on Yoga. New York: Schocken, 1979. Print.
    Iyengar, B. K. S. Light on Pranayama: the Yogic Art of Breathing. New York: Crossroad, 2005. Print.
    MacLarnon, Ann M., and Gwen P. Hewitt. “The Evolution of Human Speech: The Role of Enhanced Breathing Control.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 109.3 (1999): 341-63. Print.
    Magnusson, Thor. “Designing Constraints: Composing and Performing with Digital Musical Systems.” Computer Music Journal 34.4 (2010): 62-73. Print.
    O’Loughlin, Niall. Review of Echanges, Res/As/Ex/Ins-pirer, Discours IV by Globokar; Di Donato; Noureddine; Portal.The Musical Times , Vol. 120, No. 1642 (Dec., 1979), p. 1008.print.
    Patel, Aniruddh D. “Language, Music, Syntax and the Brain.” Nature Neuroscience (2003). Print. Pourdeyhimi, Behnam, Edward Grant, and H. Troy Nagle. “Printing Electric Circuits onto Nonwoven
    Conformal Fabrics.” NTC Project. Web. Apr. 2011.
    Rebelo, Pedro. “Haptic Sensation and Instrumental Transgression.” Contemporary Music Review 25.1-2 (2006): 27-35. Print.
    ”Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin, Essay & Interview.”
    Shakuhachi-Traditional Japanese Bamboo Flutes.
    Traditional Musical Instruments of Japan Used for Zen Buddhist Meditation, Classical, Jazz &
    Folk Music.
    W eb.
    Sundberg, Johan. The Science of the Singing Voice. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois UP, 1987. Print. Waters, Simon. “Performance Ecosystems: Ecological Approaches to Musical Interaction.” Web. Apr.

    Bahn, Curtis and Tomie Hahn. “Pikapika.” 2000.
    Beckett, Samuel. Breath. Frankfurt Am Main, 1970. Print.
    Berio, Luciano. Sequenza III: per Voce Femminile. [London]: Universal Edition, 1968. Print. Berio, Luciano. Sequenza V: for Trombone Solo. London: Universal Edition, 1968. Print. Berio, Luciano. Sequenza XII: for Bassoon Solo. [London]: Universal Edition, 1995. Print. Berio, Luciano. “Visage.” Berio. 1961.
    Davies, Char. “Osmose.” 1995.
    Davies, Char. “Ephémère.” 1998.
    Ferneyhough, Brian. “Superscriptio.” 1981.
    Globokar, Vinko. “Res/As/Ex/Ins-pirer.” 1973.
    Harvey, Jonathan. 80 Breaths for Tokyo. Faber Music, 2010. Print.
    Holliger, Heinz. “(t)aire(e).” 1983.
    Kagel, Mauricio. Atem: Für Einen Bläser (1969/70). [S.l.]: Universal Edition, 1977. Print. Koonce, Paul. Breath and the Machine. 1999.
    Sciarrino, Salvatore, “L’opera del Flauto.” 2001.

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