Photo: Elda Wicker

INA GRM Stage - at 3537 in Paris


Day 1 - Montage
This week of Acousmonium training was something I was looking forward to. I felt that after the two year master study, this was the cherry on the cake. It was an incredible experience, from preparation to installation, testing and diffusing. An unforgettable experience and I am thankful to have had this opportunity.

I was pleasantly surprised that we could decide on the installation of the Acousmonium with our classmates. We all drew up a plan and thought about the best way to arrange the space. As I didn't have any specific knowledge about the Acousmonium, I decided to design my project intuitively, as I had no idea what colour each speaker would be. I now have a better understanding of how the Acousmonium works and how to use it.

I started by sketching out the three movements and visualising how I wanted them to play out. I considered a range of possibilities for creating different depths and locations in width and height, such as diagonal, horizontal/vertical and crossing movements. I also considered how I would use the speakers to bring these ideas to life. I took the time to look at each option and narrow it down to three movements that could be used to create my piece, the question being how I could technically achieve this.


Day 2 - Test Set-up
3537 was an interesting acoustic space to work in; its walls were not very reflective and there were black theatre curtains in front of them. The first thing I noticed was that the sound didn't have to be very loud to be heard in any detail. We worked with the corners of space, using the planets as a reflection effect.
I was worried that I didn't have the skills and resources to create an octophonic work. I felt a sense of relief when I realised that creating a work in stereo offered more possibilities through diffusing. It opened up a world of possibilities for me in terms of creation. I am excited to continue exploring and experimenting in this area.

It took me a while to shape the sound the way I wanted it. Every time you play a piece, it adapts to the space, it will always sound different. It's also nice to start from scratch each time and really hear how you can create the piece in a new way.

In a multi-speaker setup, sounds can be arranged in circles, spirals, squares or other shapes in space. When the space is close, specific and locatable, a more complex level of sound can be presented, offering an even more captivating experience. The potential of acoustic space is fascinating and can be used to create powerful and immersive atmospheres.


Day 3 - Balance
I played my piece from start to finish and checked the different speakers, the sound was too loud in the middle of the piece as I had started at the beginning, but it was nice to find out straight away on first listen.

I created a plan and drawings of different modes and approaches to play it. I wanted to have a few more ideas to try out during the next day's rehearsals, with some moments of silence to give the music a sense of space. It was good to have something to refer to when I was rehearsing the piece.

Acoustic space is a fascinating concept that can be explored in many ways. Whether it's a multi-loudspeaker configuration or a close, specific, locatable configuration, the possibilities are endless. Whether it's hearing distant sounds, moving through different shapes or working with different physical and auditory phenomena, the acoustic space can be manipulated in many ways. It can be used to create an immersive experience, offering a unique and captivating atmosphere.

Day 4 - Repetition
I started my rehearsal by listening to the piece in its three parts separately. I wanted to get a better understanding of the equipment and its potential. I then went around the room and tested the different speakers, experimenting with different fader settings. This allowed me to hear the track in a variety of extreme and low volumes. Based on my observations, I developed a plan for each of the three parts.

With only an hour to rehearse, I had to work efficiently and productively. I took notes and sketched down ideas as I went along, paying particular attention to the level of detail I was going to achieve. I decided which speakers I would start with and at what level the piece would start.

Working with the Acousmonium was a huge change in my compositional and diffusing practices. It gave me a range of new possibilities to explore and this is something I will keep in mind for my next pieces.
I will be more attentive to creating a sense of relief, working with different spaces and placing the sounds in the space. I will also make more use of matrix frames, which allow me to layer sounds horizontally and vertically. This will allow me to build more complex and dynamic compositions.


Day 5 - Concert
In the morning, in front of the jury, I was very anxious. I was so preoccupied with not forgetting what I had to do that I didn't concentrate enough on listening. As a result, my performance did not go as I had imagined. The volume was too low and the sounds did not come out as I had hoped. My space sounded flat, without much dynamics.

During the stage, I struggled with the volume of the sound. When I balanced the sound, I started too loud. I tried a little bit of everything in the rehearsal, but it still wasn't loud enough for the jury. The speaker combinations also didn't work as I expected, so I was looking for the right balance between volume and intensity. Fortunately, everything fell into place during the concert.

The initial idea I had for the composition worked well, I wanted to take the listener on a journey with physical and auditory phenomena. The Acousmonium reinforced this idea and took the composition to another level. I see now that there are many more possibilities and more complex and detailed structures to work with, it's a good start in a direction I'd like to pursue.


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