Interdisciplinary piece for percussion, five dancers, piano, soprano, American and Spanish Sign Language, video, lights and wearable controllers.

Three-minute video summary of the piece

Full video of the piece

Music Score: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5h2555jk

Program notes:

Ululations and Gurgles of the Invisible is an interdisciplinary piece where visual and auditory experiences are connected not only by their content but also through the use of wearable controllers containing different types of sensors.

It is an hour-long piece divided in the four parts presented below. It is based on the poems El niño mudo (“The Silent Boy”) and Desposorio (“Betrothal”) by Federico García Lorca. The poems not only help to build the narrative of the piece, but also they are performed using American and Spanish Sign Language.

  1. The Silent Boy, for percussion, ASL and lights.
  2. Gurgles, for 5 dancers wearing sensors, ASL, LSE, video and lights.
  3. Betrothal, for soprano, piano and ASL.
  4. The ring, for soprano, piano, percussion, dancers wearing sensors, ASL, video and lights.

The gestural control of sound has existed since the use of the first music instruments. All music instruments need the gesture of the performer in order to sound. These gestures consist of a performer in contact with physical materials that produce sound. Nevertheless, in-group performances, the conductor’s collection of gestures don’t enter into contact with physical materials but control the sound others produce: free-space gestures.

My research interest is focused on free-space gestures as they can encompass disciplines such as dance and sign language, and make them exist as musical expressions. In this piece the dancers are also music performers and the music performers use sign language to convey a message while performing their instrument or singing. In addition, the singer is not the only performer whose role is to carry the text as usually happens in vocal music. Instead, the pianist, soprano, percussionist and one of the dancers all perform the text using sign language.

The Silent Boy 
The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice. 

I do not want it to speak with;
I will make a ring of it
so that he may wear my silence
on his little finger.
 
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice. 

(The captive voice, far away,
put on a cricket’s clothes.)
El Niño Mudo 
El niño busca su voz. 
(La tenía el rey de los grillos.) 
En una gota de agua
buscaba su voz el niño. 

No la quiero para hablar; 
me haré con ella un anillo
que llevará mi silencio
en su dedo pequeñito. 

En una gota de agua
buscaba su voz el niño. 

(La voz cautiva, a lo lejos, 
se ponía un traje de grillo. 
Bethrotal 
Throw that ring
into the water.
(The shadow places its fingers
on my back.) 

Throw that ring. I am
more than a hundred years old. Silence!

 Don´t ask me anything! 

Throw that ring
into the water. 
Desposorio  
Tirad ese anillo 
al agua.
 (La sombra apoya sus dedos 
sobre mi espalda.)  

Tirad ese anillo. Tengo 
más de cien años. ¡Silencio! 

 ¡No preguntadme nada!  

Tirad ese anillo 
al agua.  

.


Below I am presenting a breakdown of Ululations and Gurgles of the Invisible to facilitate its listening and viewing. Some sections of the piece are acoustic and others electro-acoustic. The video can be viewed on YouTube using the link (https://youtu.be/ggrjwRmfuM8). The music score is included in my dissertation that can be found here, (https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5h2555jk).

Section Title Section Minutes – Video Page number – Music Score 
The Silent BoyAcoustic0:00-11:158-15
GurglesElectro-acoustic11:16-31:3716-23                      
BetrothalAcoustic31:38-37:2224-37
The RingElectro-acoustic37:23-49:4638-52
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