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Y Sonó Como Arpa Vieja

2017, 5th/2nd order Ambisonics

Program Notes

The story starts with the remains of an upright piano, no keys or mechanism, and a second soundboard, strings mostly intact, saved from recycling. They spend a Winter outdoors, alternatively being baked by the sun and soaked by invigorating Californian rain, getting all tuned and ready for a studio session, temporary housing for homeless lizards and other critters...

Spring comes and they move to our recording studio together with two 3D printed Ambisonics microphones (first and second order) from my SpHEAR project. Other exotic microphones I ended up not using (2 B&K, 2 AKG) are also there. Hours of high quality recordings while having fun with all sorts of percussion utensils and found objects. Hit, bow, pluck, scrape, you name it.

SuperCollider processes run amock and arrange 13+Gbytes of samples into structures. Second order Ambisonics full surround images are combined with 5th order pinpoint beam forming and panning. There is almost no added processing, all the reverberation is just open strings happily chiming in to their excited brothers and sisters.

"Y Sonó Como Arpa Vieja" is translated literally as "and it sounded like an old harp" but is also an idiom in Spanish that is difficult to convey, "sonó" means "you sounded", but in that context, and referring to a person, the phrase also means "he/she is screwed badly". How badly? As bad as the sound of an old harp... which in this case, ironically, sounds really good.

Performances