12 Rings



GIOSUÈ GRASSIA was a professor at the conservatories of Avellino, Potenza, Palermo, Monopoli. Currently, he is a professor of Electroacoustic Music Composition at the Conservatory of Music “Nicola Sala” of Benvento Italia and Director of the Department of New Technologies and Music Languages. His musical interests cover a wide range of directions, as he is always experimenting and combining markedly different sounds. Since the end of the 1970s, his works as a composer-improviser with an experimental team in collaboration with avant-garde theater have been transmitted from the radio-Rai of Naples production center. In later years he founded the Sound’s Trance Connection, a research group on sound effects, in particular on the ability to activate altered states of consciousness through “trance sound.” These screenings have pushed him to constantly look for new and different modes of voice expression. Engaged in the field of music therapy and fascinated by therapeutic processes with sound, he has gained expertise (with more than 700 hours of training at SIPI, the Italian Society for Integrated Psychotherapy) in research on the perception of sound and its effects. He also received recognition from the Min-on Concert Association (Japan) for his contribution to the development of a new music movement with the goal of creating peace and culture.

Grassia authors electro-acoustic music with vocalists, chorus, and instruments, and does unconventional work with sound installations, searching for residual sound materials by working and experimenting with particular microphone plates and instruments of his own invention. He has collaborated with Canadians Joane Hetu and Jean Derome and more often with French counter-bass player Joelle Leandre. His music is often performed in France. He was invited to the International D’Artacusmatic Festival to present a composition during the Horizòz Italie evening devoted to Italian composers. He has participated in various festivals in France including Festival Radiophonique EPSILONIA.

“12 Rings” draws from two 2008 news events: the human rights crisis with regard to the Tibetan unrest in March, and the economic crisis with regard to the Lehman Brothers collapse in September. The piece utilizes excerpts from The Lotus Sutra. The chapter “Juryo,” regardless of the speed with which it is read/sung/recited, always has a rhythmic character. The language is Sanskrit but is presented as a translation (ancient Chinese Kumarajiva). The chapter “The Sutra of the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination” is in regard to the twelve causes (or twelve rings) that are arranged to demonstrate how everything is interrelated (ignorance, action, etc.).

Actions performed on the text include singing as a phonetic breakdown that leads to a liberating condition of re-conception of sound/meaning of the word, and breath as a category organ of phonation. Materials include piano used as an element to produce a natural reverb (a re-design of the project and/or the initial intentions of the instrument), with the reverb produced by the stress of the strings that were left free to vibrate completely, producing residual sound. Ambient sounds were returned from the “floor” (where financial transactions are carried out in “real time” on Wall Street, and which, by extension refers to any environment where such transactions are carried out by brokers). Piezoelectric detectors were applied to the piano and to the vocalist’s neck (in the vicinity of the carotid artery) to capture the internal sounds before and/or without the emission. It can detect sounds with absence (leakage) of air from the cavity responsible for phonation.

The work combines voice and electronic sounds. Voice modules and phonemes were placed in a built-timbral sound between sinusoidal and white noise. A Phrase Vocoder was used to obtain different results ranging from re-synthesis, timbre interpolation between two sounds, and time-stretching. Based on the generation of complex waveforms or filtered noise from one or more filters, subtractive synthesis has allowed for a reduction in the complexity of some spectral sound of origin. Graphs on the fluctuation of major world markets were used, with values borrowed as numerical models for processing syntheses and also for providing elements such as the graphic score for the height of the item.

4.2 | SUMMER 2017


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Cover Art

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Creative Nonfiction

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