This article was co-written with musical collaborator and researcher Otso Lähdeoja for the online journal, Body, Space and Technology. It was peer reviewed and published in the journal on 12 March 2019. The article investigates the ways in which new sonic identities begin to emerge through a dialogue between cultures, sonic aesthetics, and technology. The investigation is centred on my search for a personal approach to double bass playing, drawing on my three-year period of immersion into Tanzanian musical culture and subsequent approaches to synthesizing Western classical and jazz double bass techniques, extended techniques influenced by Tanzanian sonic aesthetics, as well as mechanical preparations and electronic augmentation of the instrument. Moreover, we investigate how the combination of these diverse elements can allow for the emergence of a distinctive sonic identity, illustrated by excerpts from three pieces composed and performed within this specific aesthetic framework.
A key aspect of this article is my work with musical collaborator and co-author, Otso Lähdeoja. Otso introduced me to the augmented bass concept, which essentially enables the coexistence of acoustic and electronic sounds within the body of the double bass itself. This exploration offered a fascinating and fruitful intersection with my earlier work centred around acoustic preparations and embodied experiences in Tanzania, which led to the idea of co-writing this article. Examples of artistic work based on the augmented bass can be seen in artistic components 2 (Concert 2, 2017), 3 (Concert 3, 2018) and 4 (Resonance Album, 2019).
The text touches on aspects of musical identity and diverse sonic aesthetics, contributing to the literary discourse within the areas of music education, musical practices, and music technology. The article’s discussion on sonic identity formation has relevance as an example case of artistic creation within the current globalised context, where finding the distinct quality of one’s expression may be negotiated through layers of transcultural and technological elements.
As is perhaps an inevitable part of the process of writing in article format and the limitations imposed by publishing deadlines, my thinking has further developed since the time of publishing the article, and there are certain aspects that have been revisited and taken further in my subsequent writing within this artistic doctoral thesis. For example, thinking related to making sense of my immersion into Tanzanian culture developed further after publishing this article, particularly in relation to identity formation and uncovering relevant concepts of hybridity (Bhabha, 1988; Wren, 2014), third space (Bhabha, 1988; Soja, 1999; Whitchurch, 2012), and resonance (Rosa, 2019). In addition, at the time of writing the article, experiments with the augmented bass were still in their early stages and the full potential of the instrument continued to emerge after publication. However, within the larger context of my doctoral project, this article was an important turning point, laying the path for further thinking, understanding and knowledge creation. In this way, it is reflective of an artistic process, whereby the act of creating constantly uncovers new insights and pathways.
The article “Forming a sonic identity through the integration of transculturality and technology” can be viewed at the following link: http://doi.org/10.16995/bst.316