The Sounds Between the Cracks

In a Large Open Space gets physical with sonic explorations

  • Mar. 9, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The vibraphone (Alexie Paish) and the glasses (Tina Pearson) are only two of the several instruments to be performed during In A Large Open Space

In a Large Open Space gets physical with sonic explorations

Tina Pearson is giving me a physics lesson. True, I called her up to talk about music — specifically, LaSam Music and Montreal’s Quatuor Bozzini’s upcoming performance of In a Large Open Space — but the talk quickly turned to the physics of sound. Why? Well, In a Large Open Space, penned by the late Canadian-American pianist and composer James Tenney, is an exploration of the harmonic series, a sequence of naturally occurring frequencies.

Lost? So was I. “If I took a violin string and plucked it, say it was vibrating at 200 cycles per second,” Pearson explains. “If I divided that in half, it’s going to vibrate at 400, which is about an octave above. If I divide it in three, it’s going to vibrate three times as fast, so it’s now going to be 600 per second. If I keep going up like that in this pure mathematical relationship.”

So, what makes this interesting, you might be asking. Well, as it turns out, the widely used 12-tone equal temperament tuning method — the tuning you’d hear on a piano today — is quite different.

“In order to accomplish [12-tone equal temperament], a lot of the natural harmonics are out of tune,” says Pearson. “So James Tenney was really interested in exploring the actual harmonics series and its relationship to 12-tone equal temperament … I just think it’s important for people to understand, and have access to, hearing the sounds between the cracks.”

The concert, which takes place Saturday in the Church of St. John the Divine, is a typical LaSam offering in that it’s not typical. The Victoria musician and composer collective is known for its eclectic musical offerings;  they were behind, among other things, the performance of Yoko Ono’s Secret Piece at Durrance Lake, and are developing a project based on the sonic environment of orca whales in the Salish Sea with whale-research station OrcaLab.

“We’re quite interested in the idea of music that can resonate with people that don’t necessarily have a background in classical music or avant garde music,” says Pearson.

“We’re kind of getting out of the format of an elite concert, trying to open our sensibilities — because it’s really wonderful for us to do — but also to offer things to people that they can enter.”

And In a Large Open Space will be a far cry from an elite concert setting. The musicians, who will be playing everything from glasses and modular synths to more conventional instruments like violins and trumpets, will be spread out in the church while they perform.

“People are free to move around to hear it. It will be quite meditative, I think,” says Pearson. “It’s just a delicious way of simply opening up this sound world for people — and in a beautiful space.” M

 

In a Large Open Space2pm Saturday, March 12Church of St. John the Divine, 1611 QuadraTickets $10lasammusic.wordpress.com

Just Posted

Art + Fare fundraiser boosts Gallery’s family programs

Sept. 21 event at the Union Club features art for sale, gourmet food and musical entertainment

FIRST REVIEWS: Victoria Fringe Festival starts with a bang

We review the first wave of shows from the festival, as part of our ongoing series

Mathieu Poirier: Craft beer and carnivores collide at Brewery and the Beast

Popular event continues to grow, spreading out at Royal Athletic Park

Behind Bars: Variety the name of the game at The Churchill

Bar manager Tyler Rowe enjoys helping promote Victoria spirits and beers

Enjoy a Night Under the Stars to help sick kids

Harvest on the Harbour offers locally sourced gourmet meal, plus live entertainment on Sept. 20

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Margaret Atwood talks Handmaid’s Tale sequel at UVic

Sold-out Sept. 27 event illustrates iconic Canadian author’s popularity in literary haven of Victoria

For the Love of Fibre: Fibrations 2019 wrapup

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Tour de Victoria: Giving you the down low on detours around the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria on Saturday

Christopher Auchter’s story headed to the international stage at Toronto International Film Fest

Old Massett totem pole raising revisited in Christopher Auchter’s documentary Now Is The Time

Saanich Peninsula student scores only scholarship for Canadians offered by top U.S. music school

Stelly’s grad Isaiah Carvalhal-Smith and his electric bass off to Boston after successful audition

Yellow Wolf Powwow draws dancers from across Canada

Saanichton event a celebration of Indigenous culture

Most Read