Icsa 2017
Sep 7th to 10th, 2017
Graz, Austria


ICSA 2017 4th International Conferenceon Spatial Audio | September 7th to 10th, 2017, Graz, Austria #vdticsa

Mystery Landscapes / Finalist in Category 1: Contemporary Music, Computer Music

Mystery Landscapes is a contribution by Matteo Tomasetti (Italy, Conservatorio G.Rossini).


Original Documentation:

Title: Mystery Landscapes

Author: Tomasetti Matteo

Organization: Conservatorio G.Rossini (Pesaro – Italy)

The union among the instrumental music world, the electronic world of the vivid timbres, the purifying water sound and the Ambisonics’ technologies.

The relationship between different types of electronic synthesis discovered during XXIst century, short Spanish and Russian classical musical pieces performed with the piano by Araceli Avila and the excited and stormy water sounds.


A general view

We can divide the composition in 5 macro-sections:

1 - Exordium (Esordio/Beginning-Debut)

The piece starts with the sound of some water that flows in a small conduit, recorded by a Zoom H2N in the “Jardì of Turia” in Valencia. This sound has attracted me since the day I have recorded it because of its rich timbre and rhythm and for this I have decided to use it as material of “Exordium”.

The second part of the beginning is made of the timbres FM ( I’ll explain it, in details, after) and algorithms of “Time Stretching” by loops of the drums used to create some “pauses - sighs” among the sound events.

It’s important to remember how all these audio materials used for this piece were created inside the programming language Max/MSP and then they were inserted, edited, made inside D.A.W. Logic Pro X and finally spaced through plug-in Ambix inside of the D.A.W Reaper.

2 - Narratio Brevis ( Short narration)

The second part is made of a short “sketch” of composition by Sergej Vasilevic Rachmaninov recorded and performed with the piano by Araceli Avila and from the Opera 39 n°8 (Allegro Moderato - after the score will follow).

In this section I wanted to create a sort of illusion into the listener and for this I processed many times the recording, adding delying lines and working a lot on space.

My intention was to be able to create a great separation between the Exordium, mainly made of electronic sounds, and this part that should be the most “traditional, classical” section in the piece.

Moreover I created some slight effects of phase displacement inside the same recording reproducing ,more times, the track.

3 - Argomentatio

The third part is mainly made of the sounds of water that reappears, together with a long sound “drone”, that you can perceptively link to the new artistic-musical trend called “Drone Music” or at least, in general, to the artistic trend of the “Minimalism”.

The definition of “drone sound” was born together with the artistic and philosophical trend of the “Minimalism” in 1960s, in America, thanks to some composers and researchers such as Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Steve Reich.

In this part I used a “drone” as a base in C1 made with the VST (Virtual Studio Technology) “Serum” (Advanced Wavetable Synthesizer) by the American company “XferRecords”.

I also used the granular synthesis that I had created using a patch of mine in Max/MSP to obtain movement effects, swarm,excitement in the passage from the second to the third part, which is made of natural water sounds and the electronic ones, as stated above.

Here the sounds of water come into algorithm of delay and I tried to take care of their spatial point of view to obtain a very wide and varied sound image. In this section the “drone sound” loses its main feature in terms of perceptional because it is not fixed and static but in its inner part it’s always modulated and processed to be as much “deep” as As concerning the granular synthesis I employed a Max/MSP patch of mine that uses 30 sinusoid oscillators (through the Poly~ & Abstraction concept in Max) that produce grains “X” where duration, length, and other factors are chosen by the composer final user.

To do this, in this piece I used this patch: Algorithm of grain prototype generation using only a sinusoid oscillator (Cycle~) possible.

4 - Digressio

In the fourth part you can notice the concept of “Improvisation”: actually this is the only section which goes away from the point of view of the style and the general meaning of the piece/song.

This is the section where I used my voice recorded by a microphone Rode NT-1A.

Using my voice, I say some onomatopoeic words, such as “Boing, Boom, Tschack, chchch, Buah” (see “La fontana malata” by Aldo Palazzeschi).

I wanted to insert even this section because on that period I was reading a lot on onomatopoeic words and was processing some patches in Max/MSP that were using microphone and voice to create sounds and very interesting “Textures” (word coined by K.Stockhausen).

For the production of this small part I utilized this patch that contains a Buffer~ of 5 seconds, a PFFT~ and a Pitch-Shifting to apply to a recorded signal (bottom up an acuter pitch, bottom down a lower one - see the object in Max/MSP that is called mousestate).

After having recorded different experimental takes I utilized some light phase displacements among the tracks to create a sort of counterpoint on different voices that pronounce onomatopoeic words. Moreover, in a composing way, I used the famous patch of granular synthesis created on July 2000 by the Japanese Nobuyasu Sakodna still using my voice transposed of many octaves (from -24 i.e. two octaves lower, to +22 i.e. almost two octaves above ) to create a sort of confusion and anxiety inside the listener before going to the last part of the piece/song.

5 - Peroratio (Supporting)

The final part is made of the same water sounds flowing in the conduit that are in the introduction and a short “sketch” of composition by Amando Blanquer, recorded and performed with the piano by my roommate Araceli Ávila that comes from the Opera

”Varaciones Para Piano – I Movimento” since 1964 (the score will follow).

In this section I doubled the water sounds because of my intention to create a great illusion as if the piano, during the first twenty seconds of the entire performance, would play inside the water: in fact, during the production, I have decided to add a granular synthesis very deep as frequency to have the role of “drone sound” making this part even more mysterious and grave to listen to.

Moreover, in the final part, I made all the piano recording enter in the plug-in “Ring-Shifter” experimenting with LFO and different frequency modulation and trying to give new colours inside the tone of the piano. I did the same way in the “Dry/Wet” about a repercussion: it means that in some parts I made the recording unchanged while in some others handled by the “Ring-Shifter” which made quite interesting effects.

Hereafter you’ll find the three music scores performed with the piano by Araceli Avíla and employed for the composition.