bell sounds for Masha


Music for a sound installation: Pedro Alcalde
Sound installation: collective project from the Master in Sound Art of the University of Barcelona (UB) for Sónar + D / CCCB: New Spaces of Sound Irradiation – Transmission and Resistance
Venue: CCCB with Sónar + D – Barcelona
Date: 18th and 19th September 2020 – 6: 30 p.m.

With the confinement measures aimed at the prevention and control of covid-19, cities were deserted of human noise, creating an unusual soundscape. Streets, squares, crossings, passages and avenues without traffic, leisure or commercial activity made it possible to hear the rustle of the leaves in the breeze or the soft beat of the water on the windows when it rained. Sound produces links and associations that transform individual identity into a relational project, thus creating, at that moment, the paradox that while the quarantine measures kept us apart, we did not stop feeling even closer.

L’Ange du Méridien is a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke about the sundial on the south flank of Chartres Cathedral (Neue Gedichte, 1907). The six poem group dedicated to the cathedral, in the middle of the first part of the book, closes with “Gott im Mittelalter” (“God in the Middle Ages”), where God’s clock-like signs and church bells are recalled to guide daily tasks and work. Reflection on sound during the confinement has led here to a reflection on the concept of time and the different ways in which we have felt and experienced it.

The musical construction is based on the interaction of different sound media and textures presented as superimposed layers: bells, sounds for acoustic instruments, a set of aluminium sheets, electroacoustic elaborations on specific sounds and environmental recordings.

A) Set of 8 tubular bells (same number as the medieval canonical hours): Bb3 – E4 – C#4 – F4 – B3 – G3 – D5 – A#4 (+ Bb3 = repetition of the first one), played by one at a time in regular 1-minute intervals.
B) Aluminium sheets of different shapes, but with identical weight of 770 grams each, cast by the students of sound sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts (UB), used in the form of a six-voice canon: the first five voices in canon at the unison and the sixth in cancrizans (“crab canon”). They constitute the body of the sound sculpture of the installation (see Gallery).
C) 3 trombones + tuba with mute, flute, contrabass flute, bass clarinet: echoes in ppp from the tones presented by A), distributed along the North, South, East and West positions of the space.
D) The non-musical sound palette is based on the wide range of sounds that we have rediscovered in our cities during the confinement by covid-19. The slight sound of the rain that fell in the first days of April in Barcelona during the confinement remains a constant (continuous bass) throughout the entire piece.
E) Series of brief musical fragments or voices in the distance heard and recorded during confinement.

-cd with 4 channels: north, south, east and west
-28 aluminium sheets of the same weight with different shapes in sound sculpture activated with solenoids
-8 speakers
-2 screens with projector


Project carried out with a grant for “Research and Innovation in the Fields of Visual Arts, New Creative Sectors, Performing Arts, Music and Thought (2020-A)” – Generalitat de Catalunya