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David Tudor

Bandoneon! (a combine) (performance)

David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) (video)
David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) (video)
David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine)
Performance (a) presented as part of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, The 69th Regiment Armory, New York, N.Y., United States, October 14-18, 1966.

Technological design: Fred Waldhauer

Assistance in the design and fabrication of the technological components:
David Behrman; Anthony Gnazzo

Performer: David Tudor

Design of the “Vochrome”: Bob Kieronski

Design of the “Proportional Control System”: Fred Waldhauer

Design and operation of the “TV Oscillator”: Lowell Cross

Operation of the remote-controlled devices used to drive the carts:
David Behrman; Per Biorn; Anthony Gnazzo; Billy Kluver; James Tenney

Lighting design: Jennifer Tipton, Beverly Emmons (assistant)

In Bandoneon! (a combine), David Tudor put a traditional instrument (the bandoneon) on a circuit with an array of technological components (frequency modulators, amplifiers, oscilloscopes). Imperceptible at first, the tones of the bandoneon were converted into electronic signals and translated into sounds or (video) images. However, the link between the input and output information was not broken, since the performer’s playing made it through the filter overlays. At certain times, on the other hand, Tudor decided to make use of the interferences and delays, instead of relying on causality. At the same time, sculptural components guided by remote-control devices held by other performers moved certain sound sources around in the space, making their path through this space both audible and visible (1).

At the start of each performance, a rectangular platform measuring 16 x 24 feet was placed within view of the audience (b), (c). David Tudor, Fred Waldhauer and Robert Kieronski took up their positions on this slightly raised playing area, along with five individuals who steered remote-controlled carts during the performance of October 14 (these would not be used on October 18) (d). In addition to various technological components connected to the Armory’s central control, this structure accommodated eight light projectors and five antennas that relayed a radio signal to the carts. Screens (two during the first performance, three during the second) were installed as stage backdrops (e). David Tudor played a bandoneon (f) whose bellows (g) were fitted with contact microphones that picked up the sound sources. Once these were converted into signals, they were instantly transmitted to various technological components (Robert Kieronski’s Vochrome  (2), Lowell Cross’s TV Oscillator  (3)) and redistributed through the eight light sources or the system of 12 speakers. Tudor’s playing (changes in pitch and interval, variations in audio level and style of playing, switches of tempo, etc.) was perceptible among the electronic noises, the flickering of the light projectors, and the modulations of the video image projected on the screens (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), (n). This determination of effects by music was sometimes broken by a delay mechanism. While the other projectors flashed, one light remained on for a minute. Tudor sometimes made use of a lever attached to his instrument to suddenly cut the flow of information and make the echoes reverberating against the Armory ceiling audible. In addition, the Proportional Control System made it possible to change the volume of the audio and the brightness of the lights (o), (p). This gave subtle gradations in lighting (4). When the carts began to move across the centre of the stage, the viewers could see they were outfitted with small speakers and metal objects vibrating in accordance with the intensity of the sounds emitted (q), (r), (s), (t), (u), (v), (w), (x). The length of the performances is not mentioned in the documents that were consulted during the writing of these notes.

[Documentary sources...]

David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) Plotting Board of the Proportional Control System David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine) David Tudor, Bandoneon! (a combine)


Vincent Bonin © 2006 FDL

(1) Paragraph based on David Tudor’s account of his performance in the program. See: 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, edited by Pontus Hultén and Frank Königsberg ([New York]: Experiments in Art and Technology: The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, [1966]).

(2) See the descriptive notes for the “Vochrome”

(3) See the descriptive notes for the “TV Oscillator”

(4) See the descriptive notes for the “Proportional Control System”