Fionn Duffy

music and sound and how you differentiate

is it possible to differentiate between them

I mean we do…as people

I think that we expect certain things from music that we don’t expect from sound or noise

and thats maybe the biggest part about it, is that theres like a predictable flow to music 

a predictable pattern or duration


and so when things happen outside of that predictability its recognisable, and its maybe not the case with sound 

its harder to recognise within a living soundscape how long each sound is and then its impossible to identify a pattern or a flow to that soundscape

and the voices that you hear within the soundscape are harder to identify

like within music theres a source that you are aware of 

and theres also a set amount of instruments within music

and with environmental sound theres not necessarily that prescribed

I think its interesting that with field recordings that becomes or can involve music, so there seems to be a blurring of those distinctions

yeah its like when your recording sound you are separating the sound from the actual environment in this way where like I’m looking outside right now and I’m not seeing a lawnmower but I hear it

but I am seeing a door halfway open but I’m not expecting it to make sound

you really have to open your ears to hear it, like, past your eyes

and I think thats something that field recording does for you.

you’re not so caught up in what can make sound but you’re listening to what does make sound

and in that way, I can look at something and I associate it with a sound that it doesn’t make itself, for example I will probably always associate sitting on a porch with the sound of crickets, or in my head if I picture myself walking down a street in Tokyo I think of the sound of cicadas because that was such a prominent part of my experience there

kinda like how the smell of cloves can remind you of christmas, even though you use them any time of the year, there’s a sensory connection that goes beyond what you can see or what is reality in that space and time, in that moment

and the associations that we draw from those sounds as well

I feel like it was interesting that conversation that we had after that discussion we had at the reinstitute about identity

do you remember we were walking to try and get beer

and for some reason in my mind thats connected to this conversation about sound and music and how define them and what makes one each itself

like categories and the idea of that by introducing more categories you focus on something that takes awareness away from the environment around you

yeah by becoming so inclusionary that you are actually excluding

yeah cos what your saying about holding a sound or listening in a particular way, you have to in a sense, because of the way that your brain works and your ears work, exclude other parts

in the same way that in a song, depending on the way that you consume music, you might hear the words over the tune, or if you are aware of the bass, or you play a bass instrument you might listen to that over something else

right, its like, the way that your body can relate to those sounds kinda dictates how you hear them

and your experience or your background also applies, subconsciously, to the way that you consume sound

like I can never remember lyrics to a song cos from a young age I was trained to recognise the melody, thats the way I learnt to play - it takes me a long time to remember the words to a song

I learnt music by reading music which is so different to the way that I play or listen to music now

it took me a long time to learn how to read sheet music, I learnt by singing the notes and then learning to read music was through colours, like each string had different colours, and fingering characters

I suppose thats why I’ve always been interested in the visual elements of understanding sound

I find it difficult to understand exactly why for me

I think its that Ive always been interested in playing music or listening to music but I’ve never really been good at memorising tunes or playing other peoples music

but I’m really good at listening I think, and somehow want to escape a tradition of ‘music’ I’m really more interested in the other kinds of musics that we listen to

…cos its like this lived experience, you can’t live the same thing twice

yeah it makes me think of the sculpture, thinking of them more and more as instruments or tools for a durational experience, even though they take a physical form

well they can always be rearranged, which is exciting, so theres almost unlimited possibility within what they are

they have to adapt to the space, whatever kind of space they exist within, which i feel makes them feel alive in some way..

yeah, in the way that we are constantly adapting to any sort of living score that we’re around

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