Matsumushi

(The chirp of the crickets)
  1. Euclid's Chapel. [11:36]
  2. Einstein's Closet. [14:01]
  3. Fibonacci's Flowerpot. [19:19]
All Selections 2005 Allen Fogelsanger

Matsumushi is the name of a Noh play, the story behind which is related by Kikkawa Eishi ("The musical sense of the Japanese," Contemporary Music Review 1 (1987): 85-94):

Once, on the outskirts of what is now Osaka, two men were walking through a pine grove near a place called Abeno. The sounds of the chirping insects were so captivating that one of the men, leaving the path, ventured deep into the pine grove in order to hear them better. The second man, waiting for a long time, became anxious when his friend did not return, and searching for him found him lying dead on the ground. Overcome with sadness for the fate of his friend, he later fell into the habit of returning to the place, compelled to do so by the sounds of the insects.

Matsumushi is music originally composed for a dance concert, Reflections in an Eye of Titanium, presented at Cornell University by the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance during March 10-13, 2005. Two sections of music from the concert are not included in Matsumushi; otherwise there are only minor changes. Reflections was directed by Ed Intemann with choreography by Kathleya Afanador, Jumay Chu, Janice Kovar, Joyce Morgenroth, and Byron Suber, all of whom greatly influenced the sound composition. Additionally sound designer Warren Cross helped me with some crucial observations. I am very thankful for all their feedback. Thanks are also extended to Syau-Cheng Lai for being a recorded source, to Tom Erbe for his freeware Soundhack, and to Bob Wilkins for helping to record the piano in "Fibonacci's Flowerpot."

The second half of Part I is music that accompanied a section of Reflections called Emerging Perspectives choreographed by Kathleya Afanador. It was later used by Artichoke Dance Company for the performance of U R HERE in Brooklyn, New York, June 14-15 and 21-22, 2008.

Part II, Einstein's Closet, was selected for presentation at the 2006 national conference of SCI in San Antonio, Texas, September 13-16, 2006. This is music that accompanied a section of Reflections choreographed by Joyce Morgenroth.

Part III, Fibonacci's Flowerpot, was selected for presentation at the 2006 national conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, March 30-April 1, 2006; it was also included in the Listening Chamber electro-acoustic concert Free Play 6 at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, January 25, 2007. This is music that accompanied most of a section of Reflections called Titanium Fractures choreographed by Jumay Chu.

Sound sources include crickets recorded in my backyard at 3 a.m. on August 27, 2004; rubber bands; train sounds from Network Music, Inc., Sound Effects Volumes 92 and 93; numerous other samples from the Sound Ideas Sound Effects Library Series 2000; the voice of Syau-Cheng Lai; and an Epson Stylus Color 600 printer. In "Fibonacci's Flowerpot" there is a piano and Moog synthesizer adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude in C major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 846. It was composed and recorded at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, in 1983.

The funny insect-like sounds at the end of "Fibonacci's Flowerpot" are originally from rubber bands. No animals contributed sounds to Matsumushi except for human beings and a few birds. And the crickets.

Software used included Digital Performer, Excel (for computing random and exponential distributions of time points and pitches), Final Cut Express (for adjusting sound to choreography), Music Creator, Peak, Sound Forge, and Soundhack.

Except as noted above, all music in Matsumushi was composed, performed, and recorded by yours truly from August 2004 to March 2005. CDs of Matsumushi are available on request. I am happy to see it copied, distributed, listened to, and used in return for proper credit. Please contact me if you know of potential collaborations or lucrative speaking engagements.

Compositions

I. Euclid's Chapel




II. Einstein's Closet




III. Fibonacci's Flowerpot