Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Only in it for the money
It seems that the sounds of spoken numerals affects the perception of price. (Read here.) Morton Feldman talked about using instruments in a similar way, getting really expensive sounds out of really expensive instruments, by starting a vibrato on a cello, for example, before beginning to bow, or having a certain touch at the piano, and only on a certain class of piano. The other side of the coin — as it were — was Feldman's disdain for instruments he considered "cheaper" in quality, the recorder for instance (a judgment I don't share). I think it will be interesting to hear how well Feldman's instrumental value judgments hold up, if some of his preferences — for that vibrato, or the use of tuba, glockenspiel, or vibraphone with the motor on — acquire a dated quality. In any case, this research is certainly compositionally suggestive for the composer who wants to lend her or his music a certain aura of value.