Teoría Incertidumbre #4

Teoría Incertidumbre #4

January 2019


Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Aux Chemins De Fer
Steve Reich – Pendulum Music
Charles Dodge – He destroyed her image
Yoji Yuasa – Projection Esemplastic for White Noise

Final Piece:

Olivier Messiaen – Fête des belles eaux (1937)

Show keys:

A glissando in music is an adornment, a sound effect consisting in passing quickly from a sound to a more acute one, making all the intermediate sounds heard, a sweep of possible notes depending on the characteristics of the instrument.

The color in the music of Olivier Messiaen, the color underlies the heart of Messiaen’s music. Messiaen thought that terms like “tonal”, “modal” or “serial” are deceptive analytical comforts. For him there were no modal, tonal or serial compositions, only music with color and music without color for Messiaen, Mozart, Chopin, Wagner, Mussorgsky and Stravinsky, all of them wrote strongly colored music.

In some of his scores, Messiaen scored the colors of the music – especially in Couleurs de la Cité Céleste and Des canyons aux étoiles … – with the purpose of helping the director in the interpretation, rather than specifying which colors he should experience. listener. The importance of color is linked to the synesthesia that Messiaen experienced, which made him perceive colors when he listened to or imagined music (although he said he did not visually perceive colors).

George Benjamin, when asked about Messiaen’s main influence on composers, said: “I think of the escarpment – the word he liked – color as the most influential … rather than as a decorative element, [ Messiaen showed that color could be a fundamental, structural element … the fundamental material of music itself “.


About the Ondes Martenot instrument.


It is an electronic keyboard instrument designed and built by the cellist with the same name. The Frenchman Maurice Martenot (Paris 1898-Clichy 1980) began his musical education at an early age, giving his first violoncello concert at the age of nine accompanied by his sister Ginette. With time she would become the first soloist of the instrument created by her brother known as Ondes Martenot. Maurice was also a great passionate about science, an area in which he was a complete self-taught, and teaching. He also wrote books on relaxation and breathing techniques, and together with his older sister Madaleine, he developed the Martenot teaching method, widely disseminated in France.


To understand how the instrument works it is necessary to understand an acoustic phenomenon. The string of an instrument such as the piano, when the note La4 is played, has a frequency of 440 Hz, that is, it vibrates 440 times per second. Depending on the speed of this vibration, the frequency will be more acute or severe. The radio used by Martenot only operated at a very high frequency, emitting an inaudible ultrasonic note to the human ear, of around 40,000 Hz. Therefore, to obtain an audible sound, Martenot used the principle of frequency comparison by interference, system that the musicians use when they tune another instrument, producing shakes, by the combination of two oscillations with two slightly different frequencies to generate a third, whose value is the mathematical difference between the first two frequencies. For example, the note La can be produced by the simultaneous production of two inaudible frequencies of 40,000 and 40,440 Hz. The first frequency is fixed and never changes while the second is variable, modified by the interpreter who plays the instrument, either through a keyboard or through the movement of a cable or tape.


An example of the instrument made with the characteristics of Ondes Martenot, Ondomo designed by the Japanese Naoyuki Omo.