Resono is a sound design project based around the concept of playing the echoes and reverberations of a building or space as if it were an instrument. Traditionally, reverberation has been used mostly to amplify sound and music to a large audience, for instance in cathedrals and amphitheatres. However, for Resono, the intention is to objectify and present the phenomena of reverberation to the audience in a tangible way.
Many of the locations we’ve chosen for the project have reverberation times in excess of 20-30 seconds which allow us to effectively paint and layer music in the air by using the natural reverb in the spaces to stretch sounds over time. Most of the sound you’re likely to hear in the music is actually resonating in the air and reflecting from the walls of the space rather than coming directly from the loudspeakers. The sound from the loudspeakers is effectively ’exciting’ the buildings into making music.
To do this, we analysed the acoustics of each space and then created a digital simulation of the space in a controlled studio environment elsewhere. This allowed us to work and experiment with the individual characteristics of each location.
We carefully design sounds that will resonate the air inside the structures into making music. The theory is that the music we’ve created with the simulation would then have the same effect when amplified into the real structures. The simulations allow us to get a very close and predictable feel for the how each space reacts to sound but is incomparable to the experience of really being in the space with the air resonating around you.
To date we have performed Resono to an audience in two locations:
Cupar Silo, Cupar - Saturday 21 May 2016
St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh - Saturday 4 June 2016
Further shows will take place in 2019 with a series of physical vinyl editions and a research publication to follow.
“We all love reverberation. As kids, we play in it – yelling in forests and caves, surreptitiously dropping objects in huge churches – mouths wide open at the lingering smears of sound which comes back to us. The Resono project, taking place in carefully sought out venues throughout Scotland, exploits this sense of playing within sound by creating ‘sound art’ designed specifically for these reverberant spaces. The effect of swimming in sound, whether it’s in a cathedral or a disused sugar silo, promises to amaze audiences, recalling childhood experimentation, allowing new understandings of how sound behaves in space.”
Prof. Pete Stollery FRSA, Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, University of Aberdeen