NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1913 __ La mariée mise à nue par ses célibataires même, Erratum Musical''' (The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, — Erratum Musical)
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Comment : In 1913, the artist Marcel Duchamp composed a "musical erratum" made up of the random selection of 88 notes on a piano keyboard. No note is repeated; this series resulting from mere chance is performed without any particular modulation, "with uniform rhythm and devoid of accents". The work was published in 1934 in the celebrated "boîte verte". With regards to the development of compositional techniques that incorporate chance, the Dadaist Marcel Duchamp is important. Although he only composed two pieces of music, calling them both Erratum Musical, they contain the origins of the principles later adopted by Cage. The piece allows for some interpretational leeway; if pitches turn up outside the singer’s range they maybe performed approximately. The score of the second Erratum Musical exists as a description of how the piece should be carried out. It can be performed on virtually any instrument. In addition, some peculiar bits of equipment are required: a large funnel, five toy train wagons (open and connected) and numbered balls, one for each timbre or pitch the instruments can produce. The performer assigns a time period to each of the five wagons. The balls are then poured into the funnel and allowed to fall at random into the wagons as they are pulled underneath. Balls that fall outside the wagons are discounted. Upon completion of this task, balls are removed from each wagon, at a rate proportional to the time period allocated to the wagon. Dynamics are left to the performer to decide. The final result is a piece of music in five sections, however, Duchamp allows the process to be repeated any number of times, making it essentially unfinishable.The Erratum Musical bears the same title as Duchamp's "Large Glass". It proposed an elaborate compositional process utilizing chance operations to create a new musical alphabet. The score consists of a manuscript that describes the compositional process and how to realize it. Duchamp states that the composition may be performed on a player piano, mechanical organ or any other new instruments for which the virtuoso intermediary is suppressed. Once an instrument has been chosen, the compositional process may begin. The process requires the following: a large funnel, five open-connected wagons and numbered balls. There must be one numbered ball for each sound (timbre and/or pitch) the chosen instruments) is capable of producing. Each one of the five wagons represents a predetermined time period. The balls are all placed into the funnel and fall at random into the wagons which are pulled under the funnel. Once the funnel is empty, and all the wagons have passed under, the balls are removed from each wagon and notated in sequence of removal. The duration of each note is determined by the number of balls in a given wagon in relation to the assigned time period of that wagon (e.g., numerous balls in a wagon = less proportioned-space between notes; fewer balls = more proportioned-space between notes). Dynamics are left to chance in each performance. The completion of the process yields one period with five sections. The process may be repeated if additional periods are desired. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : En 1913, Marcel Duchamp compose un « erratum musical » consistant en un tirage aléatoire des 88 notes d’un clavier de piano (aucune note n’est renouvelée, la série proposée par le hasard est jouée sans modulation particulière, « uniformité du rythme, inaccentuation»). Cette œuvre a été publiée en 1934 dans la fameuse « boîte verte ». Les expériences de Marcel Duchamp, notamment son Erratum musical de 1913 (The Entire Musical Work of Marcel Duchamp, Chicago, Ampersand, 1976) dans lequel les notes sont données par des boules tombant dans les wagons d’un petit train pour enfant constituent l’acte de naissance des recherches surréalistes et de l’exploration des processus aléatoires dans la composition musicale. (Compiled from various sources)
Urls : http://nujus.net/~locusonus/site/arch/2004doss/dossn.html (last visited )

No comment for this page

Leave a comment