[June 9]Tying the Wind / Harmonic Constellations

Mari Kimura presented two world premieres at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, as a part of the New York Philharmonic CONTACT! New Music Series. The program consists of Kimura’s audio/visual chamber ensemble entitled Tying the Wind, and a work by composer Michael Harrison entitled Harmonic Constellations.   In addition, this concert would act as the CD release event of Mari Kimura’s solo album from the New World Record, entitled Harmonic Constellations including Harrison’s work. The CD, which features American composers writing for violin and electronics, includes works by Harrison, Kimura, Michael Gatonska, Eric Moe, Eric Chasalow and Hannah Lash.


National Sawdust Jazz Williamsburg Brooklyn 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY‎ (646) 779-8455


Mari Kimura: Tying the Wind (Kaze-o Musubu)

Tying the Wind (2016) is an interactive audio/visual chamber ensemble, featuring a string quartet, vocalist, violin and an interactive computer. “Tying the Wind” is a Japanese saying for such expressions as “unattainable, unable to grasp, no clue.”    The word ‘wind’ in Japanese is also used in many context and meaning, such as “unpredictable” or “unstoppable”, a trend, or a force.  A celebrated 11th century Japanese author and a Court Lady, Sei Shonagon wrote in her famed essay, “Makurano Soshi” (The Pillow Book), “a wind is a storm…Wind is better to be strong” (“Kaze-wa Arashi”)   In “Tying the Wind”, the multilingual vocalist uses words and verses related to the wind in Japanese and in Chinese as musical elements, and I aim to ‘tie’ them together with the musical gestures of the violin and the string quartet, and with interactive audio processing.  The computer graphics illustrates the movement of such musical gestures, interacting with the musicians with real-time pitch analysis and with the original motion sensor µgic, warn by the musicians.


The motion sensor introduced in this performance is called µgic (pronounced ‘mu-zic’), developed by Mari Kimura and Liubo Borissov.  µgic is a wearable music controller that enables the creation of seamless motion-driven interfaces for real-time multimedia performance.  µgic includes a gyroscope, an accelerometers and a magnetometer. For the performance of “Tying the Wind”,  µgic, a fully wireless Wifi device, is housed inside the gloves worn by the performers.  µgic will be commercially available at affordable price for musicians in the very near future.

Tying the Wind was commissioned by Harvestworks Media Arts Center, with the generous grant from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).  µgic project has been partially funded by itac.org (Industry+Technology Assistance Corp) that is supported by NYSCA, Governor Cuomo and the NY State Legislature, The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Michael Harrison: Harmonic Constellations (2016)!
Harmonic Constellations (2016) was commissioned and composed for Mari Kimura and is scored for multi-track violin with computer generated sine tones. The work is comprised of nine constellations of complex just intonation harmonies that gradually shift and evolve over time. The durations, envelopes (fade-ins, sustain, and fade-outs of each tone), and structural elements are all generated from the same whole number proportions that determine the frequencies of each note. I am calling the concept “Integrated Proportionality.”! Works using the technique known as total serialism are among the first to create interrelationships between pitch, rhythm, dynamics and structure; however, the aesthetic approach is completely different, and since the pitch relationships are in equal tempered tuning, the interrelationships are based on correlations with sets of pitches rather than the frequencies of the notes themselves. Since all the pitches used in equal temperament are multiples of the 12th square root of two, the resulting intervals (except the octave (2:1) do not create whole number proportions. As a result all of the frequency relationships in equal temperament produce irrational numbers with non-periodic waveforms.
All of the tones in Harmonic Constellations are perfectly tuned in extended just intonation, with each tone creating a whole number proportion in relation to every other tone. This creates an invisible geometric formation of periodic composite waveforms which can be experienced as a sonic hologram in which the listener can move, or slightly shift the position of their head, to hear different tones in every part of the room. In this way the listener becomes an interactive participant, and unless headphones are used, the work will never be heard the same way twice.
The rhythmic pulsations heard in the work are the result of interference patterns perceived by the brain as acoustical beats. When we hear two sounds of slightly different frequencies, an acoustical beat is perceived as a periodic variation in volume whose rate is the difference of the two frequencies. Because each constellation includes between seven and thirty frequencies, and the constellations overlap with each other, the acoustical beats continually shift and evolve over time.
Harmonic Constellations was composed using only math and a few keywords to program the computer generated sine tones. To create a homogeneous sound world and harmonic experience of time, all of the frequencies, envelopes and durations are generated from multiples of the prime numbers two, three and seven. After completing the sonic architecture, the data was organized into spreadsheets to create a more traditional score with the exact frequency of each note specified in Hertz. This project was supported by fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.