The work La Tabula Rasa is a commission for the Tangible Sound conference run by the center for art and media ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, and fits into the topic of the tangibility of sounds and music. The work was premiered in the Klangdom Sound Theatre of the same institution, provided of 47 (43 + 4) loudspeakers in hemispherical disposition.

Given the context, numerous strategies have been chosen to address the notion of tangibility, theme of the conference.


What is tangibility? And how can it be interpreted?

In the modern musical debate tangibility is often approached as a perceptual than physical quality, with works aimed to the understanding of the musical qualities that allow a possible retrieval of the object's size, shape or volume producing the sound in origin, and goes under the name of sonification.

A more complex approach called data sonification is the study of possible interrelations between sound and meaning, in order to provide information through the auditory system about the surrounding environment in support to or in place of visual interaction.

A different approach in matter of tangibility is the application DSP technologies to non-musical instruments. Aim of this approach is the improvement of physical interaction with objects and tools, and, often in art, the provoking of new situations in experiencing everyday objects.

I am right now working on the electroacoustic piece premiered in Karlsruhe at ZKM.

The name of the piece is La Tabula Rasa. Here there is the program note:

La tabula rasa is a musical piece inspired by the work of the Venetian composer Luigi Nono.

The architectural space is based along the lines of Prometeo. The music that Nono had composed was intended to surround the audience, placing musicians and singers all around at different heights. In La tabula rasa, the instrumentalists are, as in Prometeo, the loudspeakers located all over the hemispherical wall of the dome. An algorithm to simulate human-like imprecision is introduced, to transform the speakers in actual performers.