Mahtavaa (Finnish for "Wonderful") was originally composed as one section of an outdoor sound installation commissioned by the Sibelius Weeks festival in Jarvenpaa, Finland, which was entirely composed using newspaper and radio archive materials covering the festival's previous commissioned installation, including both the electroacoustic treatment of recordings of the original radio broadcasts, and quotes from newspaper clippings which were read and recorded by a number of participants. Mahtavaa is built from a single phrase of Finnish text: "Mahtavaa – nyt se pulputtaa tuossa" ("Wonderful, now it's burbling there"), a quote from Savikangas in a local newspaper referring to the sound coming from a loudspeaker at the installation site. This short text is repeated and increasingly layered, creating rhythms and timbral artefacts in a manner reminiscent of Steve Reich's early tape pieces. This, however, is merely to establish the basic texture of the piece. The work is further developed through an additional process, whereby the results are filtered through the individual formants of the reader's voice. As a result, the strongest formant areas are increasingly reinforced, while the rest of the spectrum begins to drop away. The strongest formant is emphasised first, with other formants slowly added one by one. In this way, the text is made literal: the words "nyt se pulputtaa tuossa" – "now it's burbling there" – have been made to pulse, in a set of pitches determined by the characteristics of the speaker's own voice. Eventually, when all sense of words and speech has fallen away, leaving only pulsing drones, these processes reverse themselves, finally to return to the original phrase.
Citation : Andean, J. (2014) Mahtavaa. On: MUU for Ears 12. Helsinki: MUU, MUUCD12-2014.
Research Group : Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre
Research Institute : Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
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