Project – Cecille N and Zoe A-Z

Description: Cecilie Nellemann – and Zoe Reich-Aviles –

For our final project we hope to explore the act of translation between movement, text, and music. We will start with excerpts from Terry Tempest Williams’ Finding Beauty in a Broken World and a movement alphabet that is generated by creating a movement for each letter of the alphabet. Using this as our base we will create various scores to discover the connections, resonances, and juxtapositions between body, text, and sound. One score, for example, will involve translating an excerpt of text using our movement alphabet, thus exploring how the moving body connects letters into words into sentences. We will additionally give consideration to how we can treat sentence structure, line breaks, punctuation, word and letter sounds, and general meanings and moods form the text. We will then play with different ways in which we can layer the speaking of the text on top of the movement. Ultimately, we hope to preserve both the poetry of the spoken language—for which the recording of voices may be useful—and the poetry of the body in motion. Other exercises could involve translating a text with movements unrelated to our alphabet and describing a movement series (derived from our movement alphabet) with words other than the ones the movements “spell.” We hope also that music might play a role in translating the mood and quality of a text and the mood and quality of a movement sequence. In short, we aim to delve deeply into each mode of translation—movement, language, and sound—exploring the different ways that each can be used to accomplish the same task, namely, translating one another. Put together, manipulated, and transformed, we hope that in the end they will express something none could do alone. We imagine a close collaboration with the composers.

Response: Hari Ganesan –

Cecilie and Zoe:

I like the focus of linguistics in your proposal. I’m not sure how you imagine various language structures – such as letters, words, etc. – to be represented by music, but I’m certainly open to ideas. The first thing that comes to mind is pitches and their relationships. For example, I could write a score where each pitch is represented by its letter and intervals are combinations of letters (an H, therefore could be an A and a G together), and so on. I do like having either a code or patterns for the music that I write, and if you came up with one you liked, I would probably be down to do it. I am also pretty open to how you would like the text to be encoded in the music.

I like a wide variety of music – I’m a pianist at heart; however, my favorite genre of music probably lies somewhere between progressive rock and metal (I also play guitar). I would say I’m mostly driven by complex harmonies and interesting chord progressions rather than rhythmic detail and unique timbres. I have experimented with electronic music as well, and for this project, I would probably like to use a lot of spacey-reverb effects with some dependence – e.g., the length of the word or sentence, or how strong it is, what it resembles, etc

Hari Ganesan

Response: Alex Vourtsanis –

Hi Cecilie and Zoe:

I really like the role that linguistic thought/reinterpretation has in your piece, and I think this could really lend itself to expressive and closely-correlated music. In particular, I imagine that textures/timbres with a percussive element (not necessarily actual drum/percussion at all) could interact really nicely with both the text and movement, provided that the composer finds a way to make sure it does not get in the way of the intelligibility of the text. I can also see slower-evolving textures such as pads and strings as a really nice aural contrast in the piece.

As a composer, I write a lot of tonal music, mostly either orchestral or EDM, but I would be interested to hear what kinds of music interest you personally, and for this piece in particular.

Alex Vourtsanis

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