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I am sitting in a room

Alvin Lucier is a composer of experimental music and sound installations whose main field of exploration is the acoustic phenomena and auditory perception. I am sitting in a room (1969) is one of Alvin Lucier’s best known works, featuring Lucier recording himself narrating a text, and then playing the recording back into the room, recording it again. This new recording is played back and recorded again, repeating this process over and over.

alvin_lucier (1)

Every room has different resonances due to its physical characteristics, so the objective of this piece is to emphasize certain frequencies as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself. In fact the recited text by the composer describes this process in action:

“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.” [1]

Lucier also specified that the performance of this piece did not need to use his text and the performance may be recorded in any kind of room.

In its repetition and limited means and in its ambient conversion of speech modules into drone frequencies, the piece unites the two principal structural components of Minimal music in general.

I am sitting in a room from Brodo on Vimeo.

[1] Album notes online: http://www.lovely.com/albumnotes/notes1013.html

Acerca del autor

Marta Lozano Molano
Presidenta Wazo Sociedad Cooperativa-Directora Wazo Magazine | Web

¡Hola! Soy Marta, compositora de música social y activista. Actualmente aplico mi creatividad a la innovación social generando igualdad de oportunidades, desarrollando talento y creando un impacto positivo en la sociedad con la entidad sin ánimo de lucro que presido: Wazo Coop.

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César Vallejo
6 Años hace años

It’s fascinating how a so simple idea can produce a so radical outcome.

César Vallejo
Responder a  Redacción Wazo Magazine
6 Años hace años

That lead us to a question: what’s perfection? Is ‘perfection’ ‘perfect’?

Marta Lozano Molano
6 Años hace años

I think that in this case his imperfections are perfect for the idea of the whole piece. Don’t you think César that without these «imperfections» the piece would be less interesting? Too perfect?

César Vallejo
Responder a  Marta Lozano Molano
6 Años hace años

Yes, the piece would have been too controlled. It’s unique and perfect in its way. I found very interesting the proposal the composer makes: making a different recording with a different text in a different room. Maybe it’s worth trying it out!

6 Años hace años

I don’t know what perfect is and for the love of life and, a Lucier, I hope I never find out.

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