"SPATIAL" MUSIC - AN ARCHITECTURE OF SOUNDS

"Spatial" music -- this is the term for particular, though effective method of music reproduction, based on the potentialities of modern electroacoustics and electronics. In the past the musicians were able to control only such parameters of the sounding as intensity, pitch, duration and timbre. Now it became possible to vary freely the position of sound sources. Do not confuse it with stereo or qudrophonic sounding. The latter reconstructs the actual arrangements of sounds, produced by the real orchestra. The essence of "spatial" muisic is that the sounds of certain instruments, musical themes, voices would travel over the whole space of the concert hall, independently and along the desired trajectories. Since the instruments themselves can't fly in the air, it is natural to reproduce sounds electonically.

To relize the idea of music travelling, we have constructed an installation "Spatial Music". It is functioning in Kazan studio of light-music "Prometheus" for more than 20 years already. The principle of its operation is that acoustics signals from the central unit are transmitted to and reproduced by the remote loudspeakers, placed all over the hall - in the walls, floor and ceiling. The control panel provides continual flow of sounds from one loudspeaker to another. Their number should be enough to avoid gaps in the sound intensity field.

The present version of installation has 24 channels in electroacoustic section and 2 control panels. There might be more than one variant of control scheme, that enables the operator to move sounds along the desired trajectories - by means of mechanical switches, optic, induction and capacitor detectors, etc. In our first experiments we used method of electroacoustic conversion. French engineers once have tried 4-channel device with induction convertors. The induction coils being placed within a box, the operator controlled them by a magnet in his hand. At the Exhibition EXPO-70 they used control panel of spherical shape, repeating the spherical pavillion construction.

We ourselves finally decided in favour of optical detectors as basic element of the control panel, for the reasons of suitable visual interface and the ability to use videorecords to control lighting and sounds dynamics. Beside that, the using of photodetectors and light sources of different colors enabled us to combine several control panels into a single one. All control schemes are compatible with electronic based memory devices.

Published un:
Galeyev B.M., Zorin S.M. and Saifullin R.F. "Light-music instruments". - Moscow: "Radio i svyaz'", 1987, pp.97-102.