This project explores simple whole numbers ratios, and the attentional span of our listening experience, as it denotes all rhythmic levels (beats, pulse, and meter) at once, encompassing rhythmic entrainment, pitch perception, color saliency, and their interplay.
As my biggest interest is based on musical cognition and our perception of stimuli, namely how do we hear the rhythmic and pitched intervals? and how can I use these notions and aesthetics for artistic expression and exploration?
The inspiration for the piece comes from the Rhythmicon, which was originally commissioned to Henry Cowell from Léon Theremin, in an effort to create an electronic device that uses various simple and compound divisors which spit out pulses of tones at regular intervals, based on the simple mathematic ratios of the Euclidean Mathematica.
Basing the rhythmic divisions on the ratios of Euclidean math, creating the first “harmonic rhythm scale” was where I started my exploration, further accelerating the wavelength ratios into the pitch domain, as well as logarithmically extending them upwards, in order to reach the visible light spectrum of color.
I was fascinated with the beats played one atop the other, similar to the overtone series, as the exclusion of a salient beat marker, and inter-onset intervals, becomes increasingly smaller.
The basic underlying physical principles of rhythm, pitched intervals and color overlap greatly
because both music and color are manifestations of wave phenomena.
In particular, commonalities exist with respect to the production, transmission, and detection of sound and light. Some wave phenomena are relatively easy to demonstrate for sound but not for light, and vice versa.
In this composition, the chromatic scale extending from 432Hz is explored; The beat ratios are equivalent to the ratio between the two pitched “bleeps”, as well as the ratio between the two-color gradients.
In the second iteration, I explored a much larger list of number ratios, making use of Pythagorean ratios, ‘pure’ ratios, as well as various temperaments, including 21, 23, 25, and 27 Equal Distant Octave ratios, amongst many others, creating various color combinations and rhythmic patterns, which complement one another while also “fall between the cracks” of western ears.
This project is an extension of my fascination with creating audio-visual relationships based in science, including our perceptual models of cognition in audio-visual art.
The project has been exhibited at De Liceiras 18 Art residency program January 2021, Porto, Portugal.