Phonopolis

(2003-04) for electronics

Premiere: 


 



Notes:

Phonopolis (2003-04) emerged from a personal need to explore specific phonetic phenomena, allied to a personal vision of the almost unlimited field of semiotics.
Assuming sound poetry as a purely abstract entity, feasible to be composed by a simple structure, and essentially formed by what I refer to as “phonetic complementarities”, I have developed a series of attempts to isolate and pursuit the implications of specific aspects and elements of natural or social-cultural phonetic features. Hence, the structure of this work consists of 3 different layers: the first, based on a simple numerical scheme, the second, based on specific phonetic phenomenon and the third, where I apply semiotics in a personal way, by inducing specific reactions/recognitions (human entities) through the use of sounds with specific natural or sociologic abstract identities.

The result is a sound poem basically formed by sounds of onomatopoeic nature, which, although not meaning anything particular semantically, possess a purely abstract meaning, brought to us by a group of sounds, arranged in this way (sound, volume, etc.) and which are related to the way we speak, with more or less emphasis and strength, such as may be in a poem. In order to accomplish this, I made use of a simple study of sound complementarities and phonetic relations, in which, for example, each time there is a musical phrase with the phoneme “T”, there is another material derived from the first, but built from another phoneme, with similar physical construction (“D”). Concerning the harmonic and frequency features, two numeric sequences were taken into consideration and applied to transpositions based on the temperate scale and microtonal transpositions.

The treatment of other parameters such as rhythm, timbre, panoramic and phrase construction was based on hybrid structures formed between the numerical sequences and the phonetic work. Furthermore, I would like to add that, although several parameters were pre-determined, there was a relatively free treatment of the subdivision of the main form, and a high flexibility towards specific situations.
The piece was premiered in the festival "Synthèse" (Bourges) and played in countries such as Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Monaco, Philippines, South Korea and Turkey.