Latin American Electroacoustic Music Collection

Rajmil Fischman, Kol HaTorr, 1998

Recording time: 13 min 30 s.

Other resources available:
- About Rajmil Fischman
- Compositions by Rajmil Fischman

About this composition:

For see , autumn is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
the voice of the turtledove is heard
in our land.
Song of Solomon, Ch. 2, 11-12

Kol HaTorr - the voice of Torr (the turtledove) - celebrates the arrival of our son, presenting a subjective image of his budding personality and cheerful disposition.

The sounds in the piece originate from recordings made when he was two and six months old. However, while the generation of the different types of sonic material and their treatment and interaction are purposefully intuitive, the structure of Kol HaTorr is based on a hierarchy resulting from experiments carried out in other works, which are particularly concerned with derivation of musical structure and generation of material from the solutions of differential equations. The aim of these experiments is to present the listener with various levels of articulation through which musical development may hopefully be perceived and apprehended, and also to provide identifiable directional axes throughout this development which may give the work a sense of unity and integrity.

The particular structure of Kol HaTorr is akin to the energy levels determined by the principal and angular-momentum quantum numbers appearing in the solutions of a well known cornerstone of quantum mechanics: Schröedinger's equation for a potential with radial symmetry. It consists of seven sections. Each section corresponds to an energy level determined by the principal number, which, according to quantum mechanics, sets the length and nature of each of the seven periods in the table of known elements. The duration of each section is proportional to the average atomic number of each period.

Sections are subdivided into subsections corresponding to atomic shells determined by the angular momentum number. The duration of each shell is also proportional to the average atomic number of its constituent elements and its character depends on the type of musical material associated with it. Therefore, every time a particular shell appears in a section, its material is re-encountered and developed further and, as a result of the increase in atomic number average, it lasts longer.

There are four possible types of subsection, corresponding to the shells known as S, P, D and F. Subsections S consist of almost unprocessed, recognisable vocal utterances. P consists of asymmetric rhythmic complexes which, as the piece progresses, gradually resolve into a climatic rumba pattern. The latter has additional significance, providing a generational link of provenance which originates from my own childhood memories and environment: I vividly remember sounds of almost magical appeal coming through my bedroom window (or perhaps I only dreamt about these?). I learned much later in life that the band of street musicians was playing the percussive spell of rumba.

Subsections D mainly consist of two types of more or less granular streams: one is based on laughter and the other is abstract. The last appearance of this type of material in 6D (section 7) develops into the climax of the whole piece, the passage of widest bandwidth.

Initially, F is almost exclusively abstract; processes applied to the source sounds render them unrecognisable. The discourse is gentler and develops in the mid-high frequency register. However, in its second appearance (5F), it uses unprocessed vocal utterances above low frequency textures.

Transition from one section to the next is normally punctuated by silence. Transitions between subsections are effectuated by means of bridge passages in which one type of material leads to that of the following subsection.

The hierarchical strategy adopted in this piece produces the following 'pyramidal' structure:

Section 1 1S
Section 2 2S 2P
Section 3 3S 3P
Section 4 4S 3D 4P
Section 5 5S 4D 5P
Section 6 6S 4F 5D 6P
Section 7 7S 5F 6D 7P

This structure is articulated at various levels. In the first place, as mentioned above, sections become longer (section 1 only lasts a few seconds while section 7 is almost six minutes long), developing and extending previous sonic material and progressively adding new material. For instance, section 3 develops material of type S and P already presented in section 2; section 4 introduces material of type D for the first time, in addition to developing and extending types S and P, and so on.

In the second place, there are four independent threads of development corresponding to the way material of the same type is articulated (these are highlighted above). An instance of this type of process has been mentioned above: it concerns the treatment of P material, developed from a single initial gesture to rhythmic complexes which unveil the rumba rhythm in 6P and lead to the cadential conclusion of the whole piece in 7P.

In the third place, a process leading from absolute source recognition to absolute abstraction is articulated through the type of each subsection. This process evolves from directly recognisable vocal utterance in S to abstract textures in the first appearance of F and back to almost untouched recordings of Torr's voice, towards the end. In general, sections which appear later present material which is increasingly processed and therefore in a more remote relationship to the source.

Finally, it is possible to group sections 1 to 5 into a larger structure lasting about three minutes, during which, except for sounds associated with shell F, most of the material of the piece is exposed and the process that transforms recognition into abstraction is initiated. This is followed by section 6, in which shell F appears for the first time and material from previous shells is developed. The piece is then concluded in section 7, which amalgamates the various types of material and blurs the transitions between shells.

Kol HaTorr was completed in June 1998 and is dedicated, with love, to Torr Fischman.

Performances include: Sonic Arts Conference. St. Paul's Hall, Huddersfield, UK; Australasian Computer Music Conference 1999, Wellington, New Zealand; International Music Psychology Conference 2000, Keele, UK; International Computer Music Conference. ICMC 2000, Berlin, Germany, Electroacoustic Gallery by Latin American Composers, University of North Texas, USA; broadcast by the National Radio of Israel and Resonance FM, London. Kol HaTorr was selected for inclusion in the CD for the 25th Euromicro Conference, Milan, 1999.