Composing the Tinnitus Suites (2012)
(PLEASE LISTEN: AN EXCERPT FROM THE SECOND INSTALLATION)
My second version of the Lady’s Harp, built in 2012 in collaboration visual with artist Oliver Jones, gave me the opportunity to create an ensemble of Harp players. After building the instrument simultaneously with Jones’ work, I gathered a group of trusted musicians and taught them the new techniques I had discovered. I then finished the second installment in my series, Composing the Tinnitus Suites. This music is not a direct representation of the tinnitus I hear—it is a translation. I find it maddening to try to notate the psychoacoustic perception of a sound that actually isn’t there. Everyone experiences tinnitus differently. I hear timbres and shapes rather than discrete notes. Mixer feedback technique requires a glacial approach to musical development; in order to avoid the feedback “taking off”, one has to mix slowly, carefully, thus allowing for a shift in perception more akin to the hourly and daily experience of tinnitus and everyday sound.
I will continue this work as long as my ears ring.