In Memoriam Jon Higgins (1984)
“The phenomenon of acoustical beating, the idea that rhythm can be created by tuning. I like that idea a lot.”
IN MEMORIAM JON HIGGINS is Lucier’s first piece for solo instrument and sine wave generator. The sine wave sweeps through the whole range of the clarinet, from low to high. The sweep is so slow that it can hardly be heard as a glissando. Since the sound waves produce minima and maxima in space depending on the frequency, the sound seems to move in space. The clarinet plays sustained tones against the sine wave lasting about one minute. If the clarinet is close to unison, the beating is slow, if it is farther away, the beating is fast. Since the sine wave constantly changes its frequency, the tempo of the beating changes in relation to it.
For our film, we decided to record the sound of the clarinet independently of the sine wave. In the audio editing process, the two signals, the clarinet and the sine wave, were panned to the left and right channels respectively. This allows you to hear the beatings and the movement of the sine wave more clearly, since the sounds now overlap directly in the playback situation, in the real space of the listener/viewer. To hear this effect clearly, it is not recommended to use headphones.
DESCRIPTION OF PIECES