David Fennessy: The sound inside a seashell is not really the sea

David Fennessy The sound inside a seashell is not really the sea
The sound inside a seashell is not really the sea

David Fennessy: The sound inside a seashell is not really the sea

Year of composition:
2007
Scored for:
for ensemble and electronics
Composer:
David Fennessy
Commission:
For my friends and colleagues of the International Ensemble Modern Academy.
Duration:
15’
Dedication:
The sound inside a sea-shell is not really the sea was written for members of the International Ensemble Modern Academy and first performed by them at the HFMDK, Frankfurt on October 6th 2007 conducted by Nacho De Paz.
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Audiosamples

The sound inside a seashell is not really the sea
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Work introduction

Listening … and listening … and listening.

Having amassed hours of recordings from my exploratory sessions with the musicians of the IEMA my first task was to listen back to them all. And listen again – and again.

I knew that somewhere there were connections, things in common (though at first it was difficult to tell). How did the high piccolo, hovering in the cracks between notes relate to the sub-bass rumble of am amplified timpani? How was the smooth surface of a string’s natural harmonic related to the crystal-clear attack of the piano?

I had worked on a technique of manipulating the feedback loop created between a timpani, microphone and speaker by changing the tension on the head of the drum. With the addition of a volume pedal I found that the pitch, intensity and duration of the resulting sound could be readily controlled. However, one factor which would change every time was the environment. The room itself; its shape and characteristics and the number of people or objects inside would have a direct influence on the outcome of the sound. The player had to learn to play the environment as much as the instrument.

Debussy apparently once said that “Music is the space between the notes” and maybe he was right. I eventually realized that all these sounds were in fact related to the same object – it was just that the object was the space between them.

David Fennessy

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