Standing Waves: Performing the music of Alvin Lucier
Notes to "I am sitting in a room"
The one minute of text spoken in the piece describes how it's done, and Lucier's intentions, but the slowly layering repetitions of the text with accretions of resonant frequencies has to appreciated in time.
"I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have."
The liner notes to the original release on Lovely Records is here, and here's a lovely homage to the piece rendered instead through layering video compression here.
For our performance we'll be taking the digital approach rather than working from tape; a MaxMSP patch will record and re-play the voice part into the space of the Great Hall.