Guest Contribution from Randy Thom
It was announced that the people who run the Tony Awards have decided to cut two of their awards categories….the two sound design categories.
This is a sad piece of news for all of us in sound. It’s yet another slap in the face for an important art form that struggles for recognition. The people who run awards shows feel constant pressure to populate those shows with pretty people, famous people, and people who are highly entertaining when a camera and microphone are pointed at them. Advertisers pound their fists on tables in anger when their ad follows an unglamorous and unknown statuette recipient’s earnest “thank you.” One year when I attended the Oscar telecast, and left the building at the end of the show in my tux, a guy ran up to me in the middle of the street with a pen and paper in his hands screaming to me “Are You Anybody? Are You Anybody?” I said “Sure!” and he smiled big as I handed him my illegible signature. Though the Tony Awards have promised that they may, in the future, occasionally give an award to an especially noteworthy job of sound design, the message we should get loud and clear from their announcement today is that as far as they are concerned we, sound designers, are not ‘anybody.’ How sad, how dumb.
The fine gentlemen over at The Tonebenders Podcast have a new offering. “Soundbytes” are shorter, self contained, stories that they’ll be releasing in addition to the regular podcast. They saw our theme this month, and realized they had the perfect interview to go with it. So, give a listen to this interview about “circuit bending” with Moth Robot! [...and make sure you subscribe to their podcast, on the off chance you haven't already]
Image by flickr user woodleywonderworks. Used under Creative Commons license.
This article is not what I originally intended. I started it, nearly completed it and then decided to rewrite it from a different angle. It’s core subject remains intact, speaking to our collaborators…the people who hire us to make their pieces of media “sound good.” Whether we work in film, television, games, mobile applications, interactive art installations or any other existing or emerging medium, the majority of us work in service to another. Many a sound professional can be found lamenting the working situation they find themselves in; proclaiming, “ if only…”
We’ve got a location! We’ll be meeting at Alfie’s at 8:30PM Thursday night. Alfie’s can be found at 800 9th Ave. between 53rd and 54th. The nearest subway station is “50th St.” on the A, C and E line, but it might be just as fast to walk (from the Javits Center that is). It takes about a 20 minutes on foot from the Javits Center (map below), but they have craft beers and a space that they’re setting aside just for us. Please continue to sign up using the Google form, as we’ll need to keep an updated headcount.
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Hope to see you there!
Guest Contribution by Keith Lay
A special thank you to Keith Lay for this contribution which explores acoustics from the unique perspective of a musical composition and performance. Keith is a composer, producer, and educator based in Central Florida.
On October 20, 2012, musicians placed on rooftops, steeples, and lake boats in downtown Orlando, Florida performed “inSPIRE for 22 Brass, Carillons, C Bell and Distance” – the first experiment in “Distance Music”. The Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs department supported the project as a part of National Arts and Humanities month.
Distance Music Concepts
As sound travels to a specific location, it is delayed by the distance in which it must travel to reach the target location or specific site. Distance Music accounts for these delays by having musicians farther from the audience play earlier, so as to make up for the time required for the sound to travel the distance.
A Distance Music piece is intended to be performed at a particular location, such that a listener cannot hear it correctly at any other place unless the distance, altitude, and terrain between the listener and music groups at that place are the same as those at the original environment. For example, inSPIRE cannot be performed in any other city than Orlando, or from any other rooftops, steeples, etc., than those for which I wrote it. Furthermore, the audience can only perceive the composer’s intentions in balance and counterpoint from a premeditated site (what is referred to as the “sweet spot” in this article).
A map of Downtown Orlando, the venue for inSPIRE. This map indicates the musicians’ locations within the city and each location’s distance from the listening “sweet spot”.