anonradio: the next generation

Background Noise: Marcel Duchamp music and words

Posted in Uncategorized by loops on July 1, 2008


Bebe Barron, one of the most innovative musique concrete composers of the last century, died on April 20 in Los Angeles; with her husband Louis they composed the first electronic score for a feature film ,the 1956 science-fiction classic “Forbidden Planet”. She was 82. It Was the Only film score they ever created.  Mrs. Barron would sort through hours and hours of tape. Together the Barrons would cut and splice; play segments at varying speeds to change the pitch; run segments in reverse to create new sounds; or induce delays to produce echoing feedback. She Was a Real music concrete/reel to reel tape practitioner whose legacy will live forever . We Started out with an excerpt from the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet  directed by Fred M Wilcox.


This Morning on Background Noise, Marcel Duchamp. He Was Born near Blainville in France in 1887 (died in France in 1968) .  Marcel Duchamp, is recognised today as being a leading artist and theorist of the 20th-century.  After early experiments with traditional styles and Cubism he abandoned orthodox forms and techniques and in 1915 relocated to New York.  There he worked on provocative readymades such as fountain (1917), a porcelain urinal signed R Munch and promoted surrealism, and Dada together with Francis Picabia from the Dada group in Zürich and Man Ray.They brought to New York the Dada ideas of absurdity and anti art. The New York Dada was rather more playful than the European counterpart and Duchamp introduced  his humour and ideas about art into the New York activities, they often met in Greenwich Village. We Will Hear, alternately music and spoken word by Marcel Duchamp, mainly from the CD released last November on the English label LTM.  The CD is  titled Marcel Duchamp: Musical Erratum + in conversation. Written in 1913, the Musical Erratum for piano forms part of the sequence of notes and projects which led to Duchamp’s celebrated artwork, La Mariée Mise à Nu Par Ses Célibataires, Même (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Batchelors, Even, often called The Large Glass). La Mariée is also the sub-title of the 1913 piano work. The Piano  Works Are Composed using chance operations.Abstract, elusive and even “inachievable” according to the artist, the Musical Erratum consists of two scores. In the first, notes are replaced by numbered keys, and virtuoso performance is discouraged in favour of novel mechanical instrumentation. The second offers a form of random composition, by which numbered balls are dropped into the moving wagons of a toy train. Famously, Duchamp described the whole as “a very useless performance, in any event.” Two versions are included on this CD, including a conventional (but non-virtuoso) performance on piano, and another on which spinning rotary discs brush the piano strings to produce extraordinary tones, the first piece we will hear performed by Mats Parsson and Kristine Scholz in 1981,

: and then we will hear various, spoken word pieces, interspersed with the piano music Musical Erratum (La Mariée Mise à Nu Par Ses Célibataires, Même) (the bride stripped bare by her bachelors.  Even)/ performed by Tom Felderchuh in 2007.

1,erratum musicale: La Mariée Mise à Nu Par Ses Célibataires, Même)/ preparedpiano,

8, piano part three,                                                                                                                                            2, the creative act (lecture given by Duchamp, in April 1957 at the conference of the American Federation Of Arts in Houston, Texas)

11, piano part 6




3, A L’Infinitif (in the infinitive)

12, piano part 7

4, interview (part one), with George Hamilton, London, 1959

13, piano part 8

The third piece of the three he composed, Sculpture Musicale is a note on a small piece of paper, which Duchamp also included in the Green Box (published by him in 1934) . According to Arturo Schwarz, the piece was written sometime during 1912 – 1920 /21, although 1913 is the most probable year. The Musical Sculpture is similar to the Fluxus pieces of the early 1960s. These works combine objects with performance, audio with visual, known and unknown factors, and elements explained and unexplained. A realization of such a piece can result in an event / happening, rather than a performance.


3, Sculpture Musicale  Musicboxes version by Petr Kotik

4, Sculpture Musicale (Mesostic by John Cage) John Cage, voice



1. Anthony Mannix, Australian art Brut maker, exhibition called a cerebral Odyssey at Orange Regional Gallery until Sunday July 13.  The Gallery is located on the corner of byng and Paisley streets in orange.  You can e-mail the Gallery for directions approaching from Sydney.  The e-mail address:  The opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays midday to 4 p.m..  Now we will hear about the exhibition from Anthony, whom I spoke to recently.


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