Tonecycle for Blues (2014) Base 30 Hz, 2:3:7 Vocal Version with 3:4 and 6:7
Two live performances of Jung Hee Choi’s new composition, Tonecycle for Blues (2014) Base 30 Hz, 2:3:7 Vocal Version with 4:3 and 7:6 were premiered on September 13 and 20, 2014 in the MELA Foundation Dream House, NYC.
Choi is joined by two legendary New York avant-garde artists, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Together they performed this powerful vocal improvisational work to overflow crowds in the transcendent setting of Choi’s multimedia exhibition, Ahata Anahata, Manifest Unmanifest VIII.The vocal techniques used in this composition were based on blues, Indian classical raga singing and the experience of the three performers improvising together over the past 12 years.The collective improvisation of the performers was highly acclaimed by the LA Times critic Mark Swed, as “pure vibratory magic.”
Tonecycle for Blues was improvised in Just Intonation over the continuously revolving 77 sine wave frequencies and 6 channels of Young, Zazeela and Choi voice overlays set in ratios based on the harmonics 2, 3 and 7. The sine wave frequency components establish an implied tonic that changes imperceptibly throughout the performance of the composition. The relationship of their improvisations to the drone continuously elaborates the musical meaning of the pitch, creating a compelling, harmonious construct that draws the listener into a profoundly contemplative world.
The musical scale of this new work consists of three frequencies in the lower tetrachord: the tonic, the septimal minor third, 7:6, and the perfect fourth, 4:3, which yield the septimal second, 8:7 between the 7:6 and the 4:3 frequency ratios of the scale. These successive superparticular ratios, 7:6 and 8:7 make the lower tetrachord symmetrical to the upper tetrachord separated by a whole tone, 9:8, such that the tonic, the septimal minor thirdand the perfect fourth degrees of the lower tetrachord are symmetrical to the perfect fifth, the septimal minor seventh and the octave of the upper tetrachord. These musical proportions of the scale have a close relationship to the ascending form of Raga Bhimpulasi and America’s own Blues.
This work creates a unique aesthetic experience in new media. The Western concept of harmony is applied to instrumental-like blues performance and Indian classical raga singing, which used the harmonic structure generated by the 77 sine wave frequencies and their gradual development of distinctive melodic and rhythmic patterns as the underlying cantus firmus-like drone. This combination of sonic material generated a remarkable array of harmonics since the frequencies in the set of pure intervals have whole number mathematical relationships to each other, and vibrate to produce acoustically complex rich harmonics.
An except from the exposition section of a 64-minute performance. The lowest frequency in this work is 30 Hz and subwoofer is required to reproduce the full range of the work.
Jung Hee Choi’s new composition Tonecycle for Blues (2014) premiered on September 13, 2014 in the MELA Dream House. Choi was joined by two legendary New York avant-garde artists, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Together they performed this powerful vocal improvisational work in the transcendent setting of Choi’s exhibition, Ahata Anahata, Manifest Unmanifest VIII
The lowest frequency is 30 Hz and subwoofer is required to reproduce the full range of the work.
Each of the 77 sine wave frequencies based on the invariant harmonic ratios 2, 3 and 7 gradually separate from each other while infinitely revolving as in circles. As the relationship of corresponding frequencies remains relativistically invariant, the interactions of the moving sine waves create the gradual development of distinctive melodic and rhythmic patterns over time as the result of the acoustical phenomenon of phase interference.
This Vocal Version used the sound generated by the 77 sine wave frequencies and their gradual development of distinctive melodic and rhythmic patterns as the underlying cantus firmus-like drone and added six channels of the overlaid voices of three performers, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi improvising over the implied tonic in harmonic ratios based on 2, 3 and 7. The relationships of the improvisations to the tones were constantly evolving while the pitch relationships of the improvisations to the tones remain the same.
Start and End Dates
09/13/2014 — 09/20/2014
New York, New York