Andrey Smirnov :: lectures


 

Selected Lectures
and Cources
   

The History, Aesthetics and Practice of Electroacoustic Music
=annual course=
Basic annual lecture course on music, technology and composition. Includes the overview of the history and aesthetics of sound art and musical technology, acoustics, psychoacoustics, techniques and practical aproaches of electroacoustic music and interactive arts. The course is practice oriented and includes the 'Acousmatic Studies' focussed on experiments with sound and composition of short acousmatic pieces.

 

Forgotten Future.
The Archeologies of Sound Art and Musical Technologies

=5 lectures, 3 hours each=
+ up to three hours of film documentary and sound (optional).

This lecture series is based on the private archives and collections mainly related to the history of Russian sound art and musical technolgy from the 1910-30s. It makes an overview of the almost forgotten history, censored and lost ideas, forgotten historical instruments, genuine foreseeing, which outstrip time. By analysing the complex dynamics and relationships of the early concepts and ideas, coming across examples of genuine creativity, it strives to find the way out of the "cultural fractal" of contemporary culture, out of cliches and stamps, libraries and data bases, back to the nature of sound and roots of creativity.

In the beginning was the word
> Ferruccio Busoni: Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music (1907). Microtonal music;
> Russian Futurism, Nikolai Kulbin and the concept of Free Music (St.Petersburg, 1909);
> Free microtonal scales, introduction of any natural sounds as a basic musical material;
> Italian Futurism, Luigi Russolo and the Art of Noise (1913-14). Intonarumori;
>
Dada (1916-1922). Visual and Sound Poetry;
> Dziga Vertov and his Laboratory of Hearing. The early attempts to make sound collages by means of a phonograph and pre-recorded sounds (Petrograd, 1916);
> Arseny Avraamov and his microtonal, ultrachromatic Welttonsystem (1914);
> Avraamov and his article ‘Upcoming Science of Music and the New Era in the History of Music'. The view on future methods of sound synthesis including the method of physical modeling (1916);
> The Leonardo da Vinci Society, Moscow (Summer 1917);
> Evgeny Sholpo: a science-fiction essay 'The Enemy of Music' (Petrograd, 1917-18);
> Sholpo' Mechanical Orchestra as a spectro-morphological tool;
> A graphical score as a sonogram of musical piece;
> Early developments in the framework of sound-on-film techniques;
> Optical sound synthesizers patented in Russia in the 1920s.

Leon Theremin and his inventions
> Leon Theremin: invention of the Theremin (Petrograd, 1919-1920);
> Leon Theremin: overview of main inventions (1919-1960-s)
> Music and colour experiments (1923-30-s);
> Sound and rhythm: the Rhythmicon (1931);
> Music and gesture: the Terpsitone (1932);
> Body movement and gestural control over sound;
> Leon Theremin's eavesdropping systems and the art of vibrations (since 1945).
> Overview of other important inventions: harmonium, polyphonic theremin, spectral analysis tools, audio thermal delay lines, time stretching devices, audio compression tools, piano testers, monitoring of piano pedalisation, noise reduction and restoration systems (1920-1960-s).

Projectionism, Biomechanics, Noise
> Solomon Nikritin and the theory of Projectionism (1920s);
> Alexei Gastev: concepts, poems and projects (1920s);
> The Central Institute of Labour (CIT) and biomechanics (1921-1938);
> Nikolai Bernshtein and the concept of Alive Motion (1920-1940-s);
> Solomon Nikritin and his Projection Theatre (1923);
> The scores of sounds, gestures, movements and emotional states;
> ‘The Cartogram of the program' as a kind of proto-algorithm;
> New trends to organize sound (1920s);
> Noise Music and Noise Orchestra;
> The revolutionary sound machines. Russian patents from 1920s;
> Arseny Avraamov: the Steam Organ (1922);
> Arseny Avraamov and the Symphony of Factory Sirens (1922-23);
> Parallel trends in the West: the 'liberation of sound' and a new view of 'spatial-temporal' relationships;
> Ballet Mecanique by George Antheil (1924);

Graphical Sound
> The Sound-on-Film technology and Graphical (Drawn) Sound;
> Arseny Avraamov, Evgeny Scholpo, Mikhail Tsihanovsky and invention of Drawn Sound technique (1929);
> Ornamental Sound: Arseny Avraamov, Boris Yankovsky, Oskar Fischinger, Rudolf Pfenninger (1930-32);
> Multzvuk Laboratory, Moscow, 1930;
> Paper Sound: Nikolay Voinov and his Nivotone tool (1931);
> IVVOS Group (1931-1934);
> Evgeny Sholpo: Automated Paper Spond and Variophone (1930-31);
> Laboratory for Graphical Sound, Leningrad (1930-1950);
> Boris Yankovsky: Audio Computing in the 1930s;
> Laboratory for Synthetic Sound Recording, Moscow (1934-35);
> Yankovsky' Syntones and spectral mutations (1932-1939);
> Yankovsky' Vibroexponator and spectral templates (1934-39);
> Achievements by 1940 and future prospects;
> Evgeny Murzin and the ANS Synthesizer (1938/1957);
> Murzin' Visual prosthesis for the totally blind and the artificial synaesthesia (1958);
> Drawn and Graphical Sound in recent projects and developments.

Noise vs. Organised Sound
> Invention of the Sound-on-film technology (1920s);
> The radio theatre and the early sound cinema in Russia in the late 1920s;
> New radiophonic technologies of the recording and montage which were originally associated with cinematographic practice;
> The concept of the Cinema for Ears;
> Walter Ruttmann - Weekend (1930);
> ‘The Future of Sound Film. The Statement' by Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin and Grigory Aleksandrov (1928).
> Montage. The contrapuntal method of combination of sound and imagery;
> Between the Hammer and the Anvil: political situation in the USSR in the early 1930s.
> Some archeologies: various forgotten experimental soundtracks from 1930-1933;
> The theremin and synthesized sound in the early Russian sound movies;
> Musical sound vs. noise. Arseny Avraamov's view on different ways to organise sound.
> Arseny Avraamov: noise music for the first Russian sound film ‘Piatiletka. The plan of Great Works' (1930);
> Dziga Vertov. The soundtrack for the film ‘Enthusiasm. The Symphony of Donbas' (1930-31) as the Proto-Musique Concrete;
> Vladimir Popov and the new technologies of Noise (1920-30s);
> Composer Nikolai Krukov and his noise music for the early Russian sound movies ‘Dela i ludi' (affairs and people) (1932), ‘Iziashnaya zhizn' (the graceful life) (1932) etc.;
> The concept of Vertical Montage by Sergei Eisenstein (1939) and the structuring processes in the art works based on interaction of various simultaneously present multimedia contrapuntal layers, lines and tensions.

 

GRAPHICAL SOUND

=2 lectures, 2 hours each + up to two hours of film documentary and sound=

Graphical (Drawn) Sound is a technology of synthesizing sound from light that was invented in Soviet Russia in 1929 as a consequence of the newly invented sound-on-film technology, which made possible access to the sound as a trace in a form that could be studied and manipulated. It also opened up the way for a systematic analysis of these traces such that they could be used to produce any sound at will. The laboratories that were soon created became the first-ever prototypes of the future centres for computer music. While most inventors of electronic musical instruments were developing tools for performers, the majority of methods and instruments based on Graphical Sound techniques were created for composers. Similar to modern computer music techniques, the composer could produce the final synthesized soundtrack without need for any performers or intermediates. At exactly the same time similar efforts were being undertaken in Germany by Rudolf Pfenninger in Munich and, somewhat later, by Oscar Fischinger in Berlin. Among the researchers working with Graphical Sound after World War II were the famous filmmaker Norman McLaren (Canada) and the composer and inventor Daphne Oram (UK). More info.

> Arseny Avraamov and his microtonal, ultrachromatic Welttonsystem (1914);
> Arseny Avraamov and his article ‘Upcoming Science of Music and the New Era in the History of Music' - Ultrachromatic Music and the future approaches to synthesize sound (1916);
> The Leonardo da Vinci Society, Moscow (1917);
> Evgeny Sholpo: a science-fiction essay 'The Enemy of Music' (1917-18);
> Sholpo' 'Mechanical Orchestra' as a spectro-morphological tool;
> The graphical score as a sonogram of sound;
> Optical Sound synthesizers patented in Russia in the 1920s;
> Sound-on-Film technology and Graphical (Drawn) Sound (1926-1930s);
> Arseny Avraamov, Evgeny Scholpo, Mikhail Tsihanovsky and invention of Drawn Sound technique (1929);
> Ornamental Sound: Arseny Avraamov, Boris Yankovsky, Oskar Fischinger, Rudolf Pfenninger (1930-32);
> Multzvuk Laboratory, Moscow, 1930;
> Paper Sound: Nikolay Voinov and his Nivotone tool (1931);
> IVVOS Group (1931-1934);
> Evgeny Sholpo: Automated Paper Spond and Variophone (1930-31);
> Laboratory for Graphical Sound, Leningrad (1930-1950);
> Boris Yankovsky: Audio Computing in the 1930s;
> Laboratory for Synthetic Sound Recording, Moscow (1934-35)
> Yankovsky’ Syntones and spectral mutations (1932-1939);
> Yankovsky' Vibroexponator and spectral templates (1934-39);
> Achievements by 1940 and Future Prospects;
> Evgeny Murzin and the ANS Synthesizer (1938/1957);
> Murzin' Visual prosthesis for the totally blind and the artificial synaesthesia (1958);
> Drawn and Graphical Sound in recent projects and developments.

 

Leon Theremin and his inventions
=2 lectures, 2 hours each + up to one hour of film documentary and music=

The goal of lecture series is to represent the wide spectrum of Leon Theremin's inventions. It is based in part on Smirnov' reconstruction of several lost or unavailable devices, including the famous 'Buran' eavesdropping system, capable to monitor the sounds by means of the detection of the vibration of windows.

> Leon Theremin (1896-1993);
> Invention of the Theremin - 1-st commercialy available electronic musical instrument (1919-1920);
> Leon Theremin' TV system "Dalnovidenie" (1925);
> Music and colour experiments (1923-30-s);
> Music and gesture: the Terpsitone (1932);
> Body movement and gestural control over sound;
> Sound and rhythm: the Rhythmicon (1931);
> Leon Theremin’ eavesdropping systems and the art of vibrations (since 1945);
> Overview of other important inventions: harmonium, polyphonic theremin, spectral analysis tools, audio thermal delay lines, time stretching devices, audio compression tools, piano testers, monitoring of piano pedalisation, noise reduction and restoration systems (1920-1960-s).

As an option: the Theremin Sensors Workshop
Convert your laptop into the digital Theremin. 3-5 days.

 
More info:
GENERATION Z. Booklet. OSA Archivum, Budapest, 2011. (English and Hungarian).
Smirnov A., Touchless Music. Theremin. (pp. 134-136); Dancing in Tune. Terpsitone. (pp. 137-139); Rhythm' n' Light. Rhythmicon. (pp. 188-190). The book “Zauberhafte Klangmaschinen. Von der Sprechmaschine bis zur Soundkarte”. Schott Music GmbH & Co. KG, Mainz, 2008 (English and German).
Download video about Lev Theremin, Graz, 2005 (27 mb)
Power Point presentation at Hangar, June 2007 (9 mb)

Good Vibrations lecture series
Musical Applications of Eavesdropping Techniques
=8 hours=

Normally these lectures accompany workshops on theremin sensors and "eavesdropping". In these lectures I introduce Leon Theremin's research into small scale vibrations of objects using laser monitoring systems, thermo-delays, interferometers, and other sensors as well as different approaches to measuring and monitoring variations in the vibrations of sound waves, light beams, temperature, air flows, mechanical vibrations to produce unusual feedbacks, cross-media interferences and interactions which can be used in musical composition, performance and installations. The goal of lecture series is to inspire participants to develop unusual ideas by representing wide spectrum of inventions, unique ideas and concepts by different scientists, artists and inventors, to learn how to create sound by means of wind and air flow, flame, water, body movement and gesture, light, paper, wax, clay, graphics and painting, electromagnetic fields, space radiation etc.

> The basics of musical acoustics. Sound wave and spectrum;
> Psychoacoustics and paradoxes of perception;
> Ecological aproaches in composition and analysis;
> Rudolf Koenig and his acoustic instruments and tools (1860-s);
> William Du Bois Duddell and the Singing Arc(1899);
> Nikola Tesla and idea of resonance (1910-20-s);
> Leon Theremin: overview of main inventions (1919-1960-s);
> Leon Theremin’s eavesdropping systems and the art of vibrations (since 1945);
> Musical applications of eavesdropping techniques;
> Alexei Gastev, his concepts, poems and projects (1920);
> Arseny Avraamov and the Symphony of Factory Sirens (1920-s);
> Music and Colour experiments (since 1910-s);
> Drawn Sound and related developments and inventions (1929-1930-s);
> Evgeny Murzin and ANS synthesizer - proto-Metasynth in the 1930-50-s;
> Concepts and works by James Tenney and Alvin Luciere (1960-2000-s);
> Acoustical paradoxes. Reasearch and music by Jean Claud Risset (1960-80-s);
> Yanis Xenakis and Stochastic Music;
> Paul Demarinis and his works (1990-2000-s);
> Don Garnett and sounds of space from the University of Iowa.

 
More info