Music 32N

Assignment 2

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
-Emily Dickinson

A major theme in human history is the dichotomy between causality and chance, and between lines and cycles. It is said that there is a causal chain of deliberate events that led to the world as it is today, yet it is also said that things happen by sheer dumb luck. It is said that what is passed will never come again, yet it is also said history repeats itself. This piece examines some of these ideas by playing with the idea of time by representing each of these themes in its medium.

The major element of the piece is a recorded lecture from Professor Ian Morris. Words related to the flow of time have been extracted, such as "chronology", "an hour a day", and "last few thousand years", The use of recording explores the idea of repeated time, as the act of playing back a recording is to bring back a sound that was otherwise lost to the flow of time. Twelve of these clips were extracted, representing the number of months in a year. These clips were played back in a sequence randomly determined by the computer, representing the random nature of time. The other accompanying elements were found sounds recorded around campus. The bell is taken from the clock tower's chimes, marking the passage of time. The birdsong is symbolic of the dawn and of the natural cycle of time. The hum comes from a electric generator, representing modernity. Woven into a coherent piece, these elements suggest that these elements of history could all be true in their own way.