ear / radiant. music / all / is.

sound recording
typewriter score
letterpress print
7″ record (eventually)

ear/radiant. music/all/is. is a re-working/translation of marcel duchamp’s erratum musical – a musical score/work which he created circa 1913. duchamp’s work for 3 voices includes a text and a musical score, giving each syllable of the original french text a musical note equivalent. the order of the notes came about through chance operation by drawing 25 different notes out of a hat.

using duchamp’s original score, i intuitively translated the french into english – something i have done with many text projects using languages i do not understand. in this case, since i don’t speak much french or have a french dictionary… i used the duchamp’s french to generate an english equivalent based on the sound and structure of the french words and their potential towards english. in this way, “per une eme prein” became “for one moment rain”.

because i can’t read traditional music notation, i also needed to find a way to translate the 25 drawn numbers into instructions for generating music. duchamp originally wrote this work for three voices (himself and his two sisters); so i worked with three voices as well.

first voice:
i used my own voice twice – first singing the text as written with the melody improvised – and second, i divided the first recording into 25 equal sections and re-edited them in the order of the 25 numbers drawn from the hat.

second voice:
a harmonium upon which 25 numbers were added to keys in sequence, and then played via the 25 drawn numbers.

third voice:
my father’s guitar, upon which i notated 25 different positions on the neck and strings and then played the sequence in order of the drawn numbers. i modified these sounds by combining the note with its reverse in sound – creating a strum and its mirror – offering a swell instead of a pluck.

each of the four voices are of different lengths.

in the midst of everything, i managed to add an “is” at the end of duchamp’s title – erratum musical(is) – perhaps confusing it in my mind with cage’s atlas eclipticalis… of course it’s like an association that grew out of something unconscious…!

this piece was initially created as a web work, where the different lengths of each voice allowed for numerous permutations between the parts. after the temporary web exhibition closed, i started to work with the parts towards two final mixes, and eventually putting two versions on a 7″ record, and also creating a letterpress print of the score on very old music manuscript paper.