Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 54: Post-Rain

Franklin Park, JP/Dorchester, MA, 6:30am-7:30am
rainclouds, comfortable temp, moist air

Trust the Boston weather to make me eat my words...Today's weather suggested we are not quite in winter yet!

The air was fragrant, not cold, and palpably moist this morning, with lovely bluish rainclouds sprawled over the sky.

Neither expecting nor needing more, I was happily surprised when a meandering sunrise peeped through chinks and crevices in the clouds. Little brilliant glints of gold-white, tiny sprays of pink "heavenly" rays from a distant cloud break, and an array of shifting colors created dozens of scenic moments across the sky. To top it all off, the entire cloudscape was very slowly shifting north - awesome!

I settled under a tree on Scarborough Hill for a nice meditative listen. It was warm enough that I was perfectly comfortable sitting on my bulky jacket in just a hoodie. Such a respite from recent frigid temperatures, which make it hard for me to stay still for long.

Today's Bird of the Day, probably a robin, was just one in a tapestry of sounds. Here's a short clip of him relatively isolated:

Here he is with his mates, including geese, nuthatch, chickadees, and squirrels:

I marvelled a-new at the experience of three-dimensional spatial listening: not only the 360 degrees of surround sound (an element I like to explore in my performance projects) but also the great depth to the points of sound - some distant, some very close. Decibels only tell a tiny part of the story- it's amazing that our ears can perceive the difference between a loud sound far away versus a soft sound close by.

I dreamed up a musical performance for this very space, or one like it, that mimics this natural deep-listening experience: like a Flash Mob for nature, with camouflaged musicians tucked away in the trees and hillsides, making little calls and sonic colors. It would be an improv-based score, with simple instructions and some element of interaction (musical responses to the environment, audience, and/or other musicians). I would mix bird calls with more abstractly "musical" sounds, trying to blur the line between the natural world and the human one.

Would be a good project for a spring/summer month when it's very comfortable to be outside. Will need lots of players!


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