Wednesday, February 13, 2013

sound is man and man is sound

Is Music (Movement)

Is Music (Still)

Please use headphones to listen to these!

Two of the quotes that jumped out at me from the John Cage quote in McLuhan were "Man is man and sound is sound" and "everything we do is music". These two seemed a little contradictory to me, so I wanted to explore them further.

I started thinking of what music is to me: a tune? a harmony? rhythm? And I quickly realized that for me, music needs either a tune or, more basically, a beat.

A heartbeat, perhaps.

This train of thought led me to think about how humans can be music: we have beats and rhythms, even tunes inside our bodies. I decided to work with the most basic of human rhythms, the heartbeat and the breath, as the base of my project, and fill in the rest with rhythmic spoken word based on the quotes.

I ended up remaking the song about four times due to corruption in the save files - thankfully I had a backup of the original recordings saved! - so it's gone through some changes, especially to create the two separate versions. It was hard for me to decide what to do for those, because I didn't want to add anything artificial or non-human-made to the recordings, but taking anything away to make a more simplistic version didn't sound the way I wanted it to. I finally ended up playing with the panning, making one movement-filled by changing the panning of each track save for the heartbeat throughout the song, and keeping the other still, without any panning. I like the way they turned out, even though the difference isn't entirely obvious (and I have no idea how well the youtube video of the converted video file of the mp3 of the original song will convey the intent).


  1. This is freakin' great! I really like the repeating phrases put with the subtle heartbeat thumps. Using the human sounds to make music definitely fits with McLuhan's contentions of what music really is.

  2. This is beautiful. The repetition makes you internalize the words, just like a heartbeat. The slight alteration later on helps build our emotions and attachment to the piece. I LOVE the is perhaps my favorite part. I also REALLY love how you cut out everything but the heartbeat at the brings us back to the man...and his/her sound.