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The Falling Man - (2977 parts of remembrance)

James C Wilkie on January 10, 2014 20:56

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    “The Falling Man” is based upon numbers as symbols, and serial techniques to generate composition. For meaningful numbers, the attacks of 911 came to mind. This number, like a touchstone, lead to other meaningful numbers and images surrounding the incident, these became the materials used:

    2977 victims, 9th Month, 11th day, The Falling Man, a jet engine, the number sequence 3*n*(n+1)+1, 4 places of incident, 60 parts of remembrance.

    Eliane Radigue’s “Kyema” inspired the use of drone as form for this piece. Radigue is said to have composed “Kyema” for her dead son. This permitted me to consider drones perhaps, as a sonic place of remembrance.

    Laurie Spiegel’s “Music of the Spheres” uses data but I believe convinces the listener into contemplation of the material. The purpose of “The Falling Man” became to create a space for meditation on the 2977 victims of 911.

    Any number is part of a sequence. 2977 is part of Hex numbers : 3*n*(n+1)+1
    I took the number 2977 as a frequency value. The nearest pitch in our tempered scale is an F#. I performed this note 4 times to represent the four places of incident using an electric guitar.
    The material was analysed and processed using Spear. The note was modified based upon the numbers 9 and 11: A series of the notes were modified by omitting 9 partials, and a series of notes were modified by conforming 11 random partials to the number sequence 3*n*(n+1)+1.

    This processed signal was then cut into 2977 discreet pieces. Each one represents the extenuation of a victim’s life. Their duration was conformed to 60 bits (to represent 60 minutes of silence) so that each victim is represented in the composition work. This increases the magnitude of loss and the sensation is better evoked than, 60 minutes of silence.

    There are 9 and 11 bell tones in the piece. The Falling Man is a symbol of 911. This represented by processing the 2977 through reverb (memory) and pitch shifter (the fall). The effect of a plane was a by-product of the processing, nevertheless, eerie that it occurred in this exact context.

    I wrote this piece in an effort to work on methods I am not comfortable with using normally. I found the process longer than I am used to however am pleased with this result, and see a potential in continuing the methodology in other works.

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