The Absent Minded Piano

“I have nothing to say
And I am saying it
And that is poetry
As I needed it” - John Cage

Music is my greatest love. And the piano, my first love. This is reflected in all aspects of my work and provides a constant but evolving canvas on which to project and explore new ideas and compositions.

I have reached a point where I am seeking a creative synthesis between the auditory and the visual dimension in my work, and also, a poetic vehicle to explore and express my interest in marginality, loss and absence.

Within the scope of my latest work The Absent-Minded Piano I am attempting to capture the sounds between the spaces, that is, the sounds between the notes on the piano. This idea has developed from my previous installation Decomposed, which explored the physical decomposition and re-assemblage of my childhood piano, which has been unplayable, and therefore, absent, for many years.

The Absent-Minded Piano focuses on the resonating and sustained sounds, or ‘reverb’, which is characterised “when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air."

Alvin Luciers piece ‘I am sitting in a room’ is an example of art that investigates resonating sounds and reverb. Initially, I have been working on a number of new compositions, all of them slow and requiring the use of the sustained pedal. I have recorded them on an Edirol by placing a microphone inside the body of the piano. This has enabled me to dissect the sound and extract the reverb from the rest of the composition using LOGIC PRO: my intention here being to subvert the original composition and prioritize the left over marginal and ‘lost’ music.

As the project progresses, I will be experimenting with other instruments, potentially including the piano accordion and double bass, in different locations using a contact microphone to amplify new sounds.
My ultimate aim is to create a site-specific sound art piece in which multiple, diverse instruments, including my childhood piano, will perform my own original compositions and recordings in unusual and new environments, such as, redundant buildings.

I am particularly interested in creating a site-specific piece to reflect the notion of marginality and absence implicit in the piece. And likewise, in terms of sound art, to reassemble a hybrid instrument from the fragments or bricolage of broken and discarded instruments that will not only illuminate the sense of loss and absence that comes with maturity and the concept of “away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11, The Bible) like my piano, but also, from a technical perspective, will provide a creative commentary on my compositional focus on ‘reverb’.

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