Thursday, March 27, 2014

Christchurch lecture

Saturday 22 March 2014
Canterbury Christchurch University

This was part of CCCU's new MA in "Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred" (presumably raising eyebrows in certain quarters) organised by Angela Voss (who knows a lot about Ficino, used to play in early music consorts, is now becoming a jazz and rock drummer). There's another blurb here.

It seemed to go very well. The 3:4 polyrhythm clapping exercise (which involved dividing the audience in halves, rather like at old-skool hiphop jam..."I want everyone on the left side of the mixing desk to say shout 'ho-oh'", etc.) wasn't 100% successful, but broke the ice and got the basic idea across. What I discovered in the process of putting this talk together is that if you speed polyrhythms up you hear harmonic intervals! It would be a perfect fourth in the case of the 3:4 polyrhythm. It's pretty obvious once you understand the basic physics of what's going on, but I was astonished to realise this. I assumed someone else must have noticed this by now, and later Googled it to find that (it seems) only Stockhausen had. I think he may have based some experimental composition on the idea, but no one else seems that bothered. Which I find incredible. Harmony is polyrhythm speeded up 100's of times and polyrhythm is harmony slowed down 100's of times!

I spent quite a lot of time putting together a slideshow presentation and sound files for this, so it'd be nice to do it again. Fortunately almost none of my local muso friends who said they intended to come actually showed up, as I'd told them it was going to be free (it wasn' was an "open lecture" to the public, but £9.50!). Only Jamie and Josh from Kairo, and the organisers kindly let them come in. But I would like to do this presentation for a bunch of musicians (rather than academics, astrologers and New Age-y types). I'm sure that will happen.

My next unusual speaking engagement (I keep getting asked) is as Professor Appleblossom, my even-more-eccentric alter ego, supporting Lapis Lazuli for their Alien album launch tour at the Penny Theatre on April 21st. They've asked me to talk on the theme of aliens and alien consciousness, so that should be fun...


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