Monday, July 16, 2007

"The most expensive film of all time" - Arthur C. Clarke

by Ken Houghton

Courtesy of my Loyal Reader and The National Association of Manufacturers:

UPDATE: This (caution: Times Select article) could be fun:
With his arm outlined by the blue sky, he whacked away at the cable as a sound engineer recorded the dull thuds. ''You'll want to give your full might when you hit it,'' yelled Joseph Bertolozzi, a composer leading this expedition one day late last month. The cable swayed slightly with each stroke.

The purpose of the test was to check not the bridge's soundness but its sound. The rather bizarre scene on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge near Poughkeepsie was part of Mr. Bertolozzi's audacious plan to transform the span into an orchestra, compose a piece for it, then actually perform the work live with a small army of percussionists. It is a musical undertaking on a vast scale and one that has brought oddly harmonious marriages among the worlds of art and government, music and engineering.

Mr. Bertolozzi, 48, has been meticulously harvesting a multitude of sounds from the structure: not just the cables, which on playback create woo-wooing effects or sounds like a bass guitar, but the spindles below guardrails, the rails themselves, the interior and flanges of innumerable I-beams, connecting metal plates and the grates between walkways.


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