Measuring and representing Counterpoint


This is 19th Century physicist, John Tyndall’s diagram describing the propogation of sound waves. Sound (and consequently music) - due to the invisibility of the medium - can only be described through analogy. In this case, the analogy is social in origin and describes sound’s effect rather than its physical properties in abstract.

One of the first ideas we had to translate into an alternative form of expression was that of counterpoint, which serves as the fundamental structure behind the composition of the piece.

Freya’s composition would be a recorded contrapuntal piece in 6 parts. It was important that from the very beginning we could find a way to understand and measure these parts, in order to help us understand their acoustic effect. We were interested in finding a way of responding to the physical properties of these parts in the scale of the acoustic space and development of it’s physical characteristics.

Dissecting the multiple counterpoint parts enabled us tobegin thinking about how they might be expressed physically.  We were interested in creating a spatial experience where the audience could enjoy the solo, duet, ensemble and full-counterpoint, all contingent upon their movement through the space. 

The vital ingredient in the experience of the performance is the participation of the guest or visitor, whose subjective experience and movement re-invents the piece each time; their interaction forming a fundamental part of the overall composition. Consequently, this has been a critical determining factor in the spatial organisation of the 6 parts and their hierarchy.