Assessment 3A: Sound — Ambience

John Cage Fontana Mix

John Milton Cage was a composer, an artist, an inventor and a profoundly influenced person, in terms of his works and his contribution to the artistic world. His works centrally focused on exploring unusual sounds and producing a score in relation to these sounds to illustrate them. One of his famous works being the Fontana mix. The Fontana mix exemplified the unusual surrounding noises that were pondered to be useless. John Cage highly used his imagination and mind on how he would produce his graphical score with using a series of lines, shapes etc. These lines and shapes represented elements of pitch, duration, volume and tone colour.

Below is John Cage’s Fontana mix in a graphic notation.

John Cage Fontana Mix

Here is my sound clip of central station. This sound clip was my base form to illustrate my graphic notation in accordance to this sound clip.

I was heavily influenced by John Cage’s graphic score of the Fontana mix as it had different mediums such as thicker mediums (thin lines) to thinner mediums (thinner lines). Furthermore, he used different types of lines and shapes to illustrate the unusual sounds herd in the Fontana mix. Similarly, to my graphic notation I did use these techniques. The main black thick line represents the sound of the train. This was the thickest lie produced as it was the central sound of the sound piece. This line continued throughout the sound piece as it was a constant sound. The thinner black curves in the thick black line, represent the background chitter chatter of the crowd and pubic speaking. This was also repetitive as this sound was constant. The thin purple curvy line throughout the notation was any of the excess background noise. This contained sounds such the wind, whistles of the staff, and technological noises in the train station. It was a thin line as it was only a slight background sound, so I did not want to overpower the graphic notation with it. The red line running along the black thick line represents the sparks and screeching noises of the train. There is an abundance of these lines as the sparks and screeches become louder in the sound piece as the train comes to a stop. The circles portray the whoosh noise of the train coming to a stop in the sound piece. The pattern that runs across the bottom is represented as the train doors opening in the sound piece. It is sort of a laser sound, so I depicted that in terms of the graphic notation into the illustration. The circles and lines above and below the pattern represent the volume and tone in accordance to the size of shape and/or line. I have used different mediums throughout this graphic notation, with the addition of different lines and shapes, to illustrate elements of pitch, duration, volume and tone colour. Furthermore, I added a modern twist to the graphic notation, by using a broader use of colours to illustrate and represent different meanings, complimenting the different mediums throughout this graphic notation that was influenced by John Cage’s Fontana mix.

Jai Mohan Central Train Station


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