Land of the Sirens - Section 2: Supplementary Repertoire Study


Dhomont’s use of instrumental soundworlds in his work Citadelle Intérieure22 (1981) is an important point of reference for the approach I took in Section 2. The soundworlds Dhomont uses are sometimes characterized by harmonicity, slow motion and continuity and they provide a mysterious atmosphere – the use of ascension and descension in textural motion contributes to this – and a sense of expectation. In addition, his use of distinct soundworlds in the work create strong contrasts, e.g. where dry rapid-motion spectromorphologies are balanced by intervals of silence or anacrusis, is observed in spectromorphologies consisting of ‘human voice’ (attack – impulse) onsets.


Normandeau’s Erinyes23(2001) utilized male and female actor’s voices together with tape delay as well as amplification techniques, in order to depict a mythological entity: The Erinyes. According to Greek mythology, the Erinyes were protecting human subsistence and penalized evildoers24.


The textural motion in this work is mainly characterized by slow pace and prolongated continuants but at the same time, the voices are ‘explored from within’25. In contrast to Normandeau’s work, apart from using a traditional Greek instrument to represent the voices of the Sirens (instead of recording human voices), in my own work there is also a double significance regarding the presence of the transformed floghera soundworlds in subsection 9 of section 2: the transformed floghera soundworlds could either be perceived as ‘bird’ resembling soundworlds (indication of space/place), or as the Sirens’ voices (presentation of mythological action).

22Dhomont, F. (1996). Sous le regard d'un soleil noir. Montréal: empreintes DIGITALes.

23Normandeau, R. (2001). Claire De Terre. Montréal: empreintes DIGITALes.

24Talfourd Ely, The Gods of Greece and Rome (Mineola, New York – United States: Dover Publications, 2003), p. 208.

25The principal sound treatment was designed to bring out the primitive nature of the voice — the interior resonance that is so deeply rooted in the human unconscious. This treatment is called “freeze.” At first glance this may seem absurd, given that music is something that exists in time, but the computer allows the composer to stop time. Voices can be ‘frozen’ and thoroughly explored from within. Erinyes is the fourth piece in the Onomatopœia cycle (the three preceding pieces being Éclats de voix, Spleen, and Le renard et la rose).” See: Normandeau, R. (2001). Robert Normandeau’s commentary on Erinyes in ElectroCD. [online]. Available from: [Accessed: 7 May 2017].


Land of the Sirens - Section 2: Overview of sound types and behaviours


Section 2 of Land of the Sirens reinterprets aspects of section 1 through the evocation of new soundworlds and soundworlds which reappear as leit-motifs, bringing to the work a sense of identity within each section and coherency as a whole. The primary sound types are: floghera textures, slippery/dinging micro-elements, elements of water, unprocessed dry wood crackling sounds, bell sounds, pitched drops, beeping sounds, transformed church organ sounds, and repetitive dry pointillistic ticking26 sound textures in rapid motion. Of note, original water sounds that I recorded in Entwistle Reservoir play a more significant role in section 2 and a highly contrasting part contains transformed sounds of a traditional Greek instrument called floghera (a traditional wind instrument that belongs to the Hellenic pastoral music instruments and has its origin in an ancient Greek instrument called syrighx, which originates back to the classical period). The floghera material was developed using the BEAST Tools Clatter module – followed by a stereo down-mix in REAPER27 – and was subsequently transposed in wide ranges of pitch using MAGIX Sound Forge.

In contrast to section 1, section 2 did not follow the [A – B – A] repetitive structure (where [A] was formed of transformed watery/branch sound subsections, repetitively fading in/out among abstract reverberant subsections [B]). Section 2 was developed in a non-repetitive way, where materials from each subsection were rarely reused in different subsections, and even if they were utilized, they didn’t make their appearance/disappearance in regular time intervals, as opposed to section 1. The beeping – sounds were reused for the epilogue of the work.

The characteristic behaviours of sonic and musical materials in section 2 are detailed (with examples) as follows:


1.     Dissipation (disintegrating/dilution/dispersing) 17:08 and 22:56 – 23:01.

2.     Harmonicity (harmonic sound textures) 24:53 – 25:20. Background piano sound textures in A minor.

3.     Endogeny (smooth growing from the inside) 26:14 – 26:22. Transformed church organ textures using delay effects resulting in 3rd order surrogacy.

4.     Flocking (collective motion of ‘slippery/dinging’ microelements) 16:54 – 17:00 and 23:32 – 23:50.

5.     Emptiness (spectral gaps) 18:07 – 18:20.

6.     Plenitude (filled spectral space) 25:47 – 26:12.

7.     Insertion of smooth pointillistic background sound objects 24:44 – 24:50.

8.     Pressured Onsets 15:38 – 15:46, 15:53, 15:59, 16:01 and 24:12 – 24:28 (tree branches).

9.     Flow (Emergence as if the motion has always existed) 12:04 – 12:12 and 24:54 – 25:22.

10.   Contraction (becoming smaller) 11:53 – 12:07.

11.   Pointillistic textures 15:11 – 15:29, 15:47 – 15:58 (dry wood) and 25:37 – 25:42

12.   Cyclic motion 15:29 – 15:36 (dry wood branches) and 24:51 – 25:00

26Semi-rapid motion of dry microelements characterized by brief and semi-aggressive throw onset/attacks.

27Cockos Incorporated. REAPER | Audio Production Without Limits. [online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17 May 2017].