In the late nineteenth century two facts conspired to change the face of music: the collapse of common practice tonality (which overturned the certainties underpinning the world of art music), and the invention of a revolutionary new form of memory, sound recording (which redefined and greatly empowered the world of popular music).
A tidal wave of probes and experiments into new musical resources and new organisational practices ploughed through both disciplines, bringing parts of each onto shared terrain before rolling on to underpin a new aesthetics able to follow sound and its manipulations beyond the narrow confines of ‘music’. This series tries analytically to trace and explain these developments, and to show how, and why, both musical and post-musical genres take the forms they do.
In PROBES #31 we begin to consider evolutionary pressures and invented instruments and follow the twists and turns that led the xylophone out of Asia and Africa, spun it around the world and metamorphosed it into the vibraphone; with a coda from the intonarumori.
01 Gregorio Paniagua, ‘Anakrousis’, 1978
02 Travel sound
03 Charles Daab, ‘Cameo Polka’ (cylinder release), 1910
04 Nabimba demonstration by Ken McGrath (excerpt), 2013
05 Robert Kurka, ‘Concerto for Marimba’ (excerpt from original radio broadcast, soloist Vida Chenoweth), 1956
08 Darius Milhaud, ‘Concerto for Marimba and Vibraphone’ (excerpts), 1947
09 Louis Armstrong, ‘Song of the Islands’ (excerpts), 1930
10 Louis Armstrong, ‘Memories of You’ (excerpts), 1930
11 Lionel Hampton, ‘Flying Home’ (excerpt), 1957
12 The Modern Jazz Quartet, John Lewis/J.S. Bach, ‘The Old Year Has Now Passed Away’, 1973
13 Karlheinz Stockhausen, ‘Strahlen’ (excerpt), 2002
14 Henry Cow, Untitled piece (excerpt), 1977
15 Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, ‘The Clouds are full of Wine, not Whiskey or Rye’ (excerpts), 1970
16 The Mothers of Invention, ‘Uncle Meat Main Title Theme’, 1969
17 Luigi Russolo, ‘Il risveglio della città’ (excerpts), 1927
18 Pietro Verardo, demonstration of rombatore and ronzatore (excerpts), 2017 (private recording, with thanks to Alessandro Monti)
19 Franco Casavola, ‘Il Mercante di Cuori’ (excerpts), 1927
20 Pietro Verardo and Chris Cutler, ‘Il piacere è tutto mio’ (excerpt), 2018
21 Taxi arrives
22 Gregorio Paniagua, ‘Anakrousis’, 1978