Poster Event?

My university is doing a post conference thing. The want postgrads to make posters explaining their research and then present them at a gathering. Several of these have gone on since I’ve been enrolled. The university will actually cover the printing costs of the poster and they give prizes to the best ones. There’s no admission fee. So this might be a drain on time, but not on finances.

I’ve been ignoring all of them. I’m a composer. I write music. What would my poster say? “Using Joysticks in Suggestive Manners in Musical Performance”? On the other hand, the sheer number of these things seems to indicate that they’re somehow vital to the British academic experience. I have a feeling I need some of this on my CV also, if I want to go on in academia. I need to present some stuff, maybe write an article, do a TAship, etc.
If I were, say, writing code to talk to haptic devices or working on developing the monome (there’s a group coming soon to London to do this. w00t.), then I think I would know what to do. But mostly, I sort of cut up samples and manipulate them. Is that research? I mean, I wrote the code to do all the manipulation, but I did most of it at Wesleyan. And it’s not like I invented any of the ideas I use. SuperCollider has a real DIY ethic, which is one reason I wrote the code myself. The other is because bugs and artifacts don’t necessarily sound bad, but they do tend to sound characteristic and recognizable. I don’t want to sound like GRM Tools, I want to sound like my own set of bugs. Anyway, I know many composers are very mathematically rigorous and thus can appear more researchy, but I’m not. Mathematical rigor in composition is good for some composers in that it gives them direction and sort of scoots them along, but it usually doesn’t result in a perceptible difference of output. It’s fake science, and again, that’s fine if it motivates.
I’m doing this commissioning thing (still), but it doesn’t seem like research? I have a hypothesis, but no controls and the “experiment” is vaguely defined and it’s difficult to draw conclusions. (“The music industry is doomed, so we should try this other model. I already know most of the people who went for it. So, um, give it a try?”). There’s the social networking thing, but it’s still vaporware and not exactly part of my academic program here.
So my point is that I think maybe I should, for the sake of the experience, do a poster, but I’m not finding applicable examples on the internets. And, actually, I see a lot of calls for things go by that I think I might have something to add to, but am not sure where to start. Anyway, anybody got examples of composer posters? I found a couple of interesting links of poster design, but they don’t address content: How to Make a Great Poster and Nasa’s Basics of Poster Design


In 2003, I wrote a snarky post about how I needed more education because I had no idea what “acousmatic” meant and couldn’t find a short, coherent definition for it on the internet.

Tonight, we had a colloquium (but they aren’t called that in England) where one of my profs, Jonty, used the term “spectromorphology” and others made derisive comments about mp3s, youTube and kids today and their lack of love for teh hi-fi. I felt vaguely rebellious, as I spent my formative years writing stuff to sound good as mp3s. I made a comment later to another student about a generation gap. He scooted slightly away from me. Fine, you’re all very hi-fi.
And another student was joking about academia and how he wasn’t academic. (The hot thing in academia, at least in music departments, is to assert that your music is not academic. It might be the case that I’m just attracted to places that assert that. The anti-Columbia U. Because, let’s be honest, I couldn’t get into an overly-academic program. I mean, I don’t know how to do serialism. Or maybe I’m grasping at the same sort of anti-academic street cred that all the uni kids want these days. Whatever.) But, I pointed out, doesn’t the term “spectromorphology” sort of point to a certain academicism?
Anyway, this evening, I was searching my blog for something completely different and stumbled across the old post of acousmatic snark. It seemed timely, as I’m still unclear on the concept and it came up this evening. Jonty said something about it. . . …. Jonty, of that same post. One of my professors is the same guy . . . who, um, how did I get here? At least I’m getting the education that I need.
You kids get your mp3s off my lawn!


Celeste Hutchins
Music 222
Final Project Notes


Program notes:

Researchers have discovered that if they take the syllables of a word and play them backwards, but in the correct order, people will be unable to hear the reversal. This piece explores how backwards things have to be, before you can hear it.
The male voice is George Bush. The female voice is Jessica Feldman reading text from Jeffner Allen, Lesbian Philosophy: Explorations (Palo Alto: Institute of Lesbian Studies, 1987)


I wanted to write something that could only be done with a computer, so granular synthesis seemed link an obvious choice. My friend posted about the syllable reversing thing in his blog several weeks ago, so I thought I should try that. I decided to use Bush, because everything he says is so very backwards. I searched for aiff files of Bush speaking and only found two good ones. One was him speaking about the ABM treaty, but my wife just wrote a piece using that one (also premiering 8:00 p.m. Dec 10th, but in Paris), and didn’t want me to use it. The other one is the one I am using, where he gives a speech about terrorism and destroying American culture. One of the students in MUSC 220 used the same audio clip for a different sort of tape project. I had been thinking about the subtext of the speech since hearing that project and about how to make Bush’s real message – his desire to destroy pop culture – clear. Repeated listening, which this piece contains, helps get people hear the real message behind the seeming non-sequiturs of the presidential speech. To make it clearer, I splatter key phrases, using the same reversal algorithm, out to any one of the 4 speakers. As the piece progresses, I add additional sound-bites, from the ABM treaty speech and from press conferences where Bush talks more about foreign policy.
After Bush winds down, I launch the contrary text from Allen’s book. I run the algorithm in the opposite direction, because I take the opposite view of the words. Allen also talks about violence, terrorism and victimhood, but unlike Bush, everything she says is true and real. Her words are ultimately empowering to her reader, giving her readers freedom instead of taking it away. Her viewpoint is equally extremist, but exists in reaction to the sort of evil that Bush proposes.
Also, I find that listening to Bush talk about destroying culture for 5 minutes makes me very tense and Jessica’s soothing voice talking about women uprising against men is an antidote to Bush’s evil rhetoric.


I put the splattering in a routine, because I found it hard to fight my impulse to send out bushisms in all directions as key words popped up. The texture was always too dense. and I thought it would better to not necessarily have the highlighted text match what was just said. Doing a computer implementation was much easier than teaching myself to play the piece. The Allen quotes at the end are still manually triggered, as it’s easier to manually put them in the right spot than to get the computer to do it.
I always have an instinct to generalize software that I’ve written so it could take any audio files and do the same piece, or make it very general so it could do a number of related pieces. This is not always a good instinct, although the reversing routine might come in useful. It is already stand-alone. The maxTimesThroughLoop variable may not be useful going in reverse. Would you want your loop to start from the largest possible grain and run N times? Or start from N loops from the smallest possible grain? My instinct is that the second case would be more useful, but the first case is what would happen currently.
The weighted averages of buf2 in the splatter routine are kludgy. While the splattering code works, I wouldn’t want to invite it to dinner parties. The three while loops are especially awful. If I want to do more with this piece, I would fix the splattering. But for now, it works. My old boss used to say, “worse is better,” as in, it was better to release something that worked than work forever to make the most pristine thing in the world. You could fix it later. He also used to go through and remove comments from code, saying that the code itself was truth and comments were distorting, so I don’t think he always gave the best advice on programming. If someone took out the comment around figuring out what number should reside in timesthroughLoop, for example, I would be hopelessly confused.

postmortem – blog comments

The concert was sparsely attended. only around 4 spectators came. my piece crashed right near the end of the George Bush section, so the radical feminist text was not played at all. Ron, the prof, said that Ashcroft had gotten in my computer. I was using a different computer than i had used to test and develop (and compile the intrepretter on) the piece, and i think that may have been a factor. so i’m going to get a laptop this week. as a student, i won’t have to pay for it for a long time. i think i can pay it off over a year with an interest free loan.
and christi did Working Girl instead of the ABM tresty piece, perhaps due to a shortage of elephant samples. I will be going to the library on monday to return my interlibrary loan books, so if i take my brain with me, i’ll check out some elephant tapes.

Musical Interludes in the Mystère du Siège d’Orléans





the spring of 1429, things looked bleak for Orléans. The English had nearly encircled the city. They held several defensive
fortifications, including a tower on the bridge, Tourelles. They had constructed several
fortifications called boulevards. Efforts to free the city, such as the Battle of the Herrings had ended
disastrously. The duc d’Orélans
was in an English prison, awaiting ransom. "By March 1429, Orleans seemed ready to fall at he next
serious push." (Pernoud 9) When the city of Orléans fell, the entirety of
the French loyalist side would collapse with it. It seemed only to be a matter of time before the English
were victorious over all of France.


April 29th of that year, supplies and troops were sent to the besieged
city. Among them was an unusual
young woman, known as the Pucelle. Only a few days later, on May 8th, the English withdrew from the city,
after a series of decisive battles. These victories were attributed to La Pucelle. Pernoud writes, "At the moment that the English were
raising the siege and withdrawing from Orléans, the inhabitants of the city
organizes solemn processions to thank god and the patron saints of the city,
Sts. Aignan and Euverte. This
spontaneous thanksgiving celebration became a procession that continues today,
every May 8." (p 243)


raising of the Siege of Orléans was the beginning of the end for the
English. By the end of 1453, the
hundred years war was finally over and Charles VII was king. Orléans continues to celebrate its part
in this victory through its annual festivities and La Pucelle who aided
them. Today, Orléans is home to
many statues and monuments of Jeanne d’Arc. The cathedral that she prayed at in between battles has an
altar dedicated to her and series of stained glass windows depicting scenes
from her life. There is a Rue d’
Jeanne d’Arc, a Jeanne d’Arc cafe, a Jean d’Arc Chocolatier, and the academic
Centre Jeanne d’Arc.


some point, a mystery play, Le Mistere du Siege d’Orléans, was composed about the raising of the siege.
Mystery plays are a genre depicting history. Knight writes,

The Mystery plays, taken as a
whole corpus, dramatized universal history from creation to doomsday . . ..
[T]he mystery plays were historical in sense that they were externally
referential and that their linear model of time had displaced the cyclical
model of time in the liturgy. They
were the collective memory of late medieval Christendom . . . (p 19)

to its genre, the Siege depicts
an actual historical event. However, Hamblin notes, “the creation of such a
play based on contemporary historical events still burning in the memory of the
participants and the spectators, represents a true departure from standard
subject matter.” (p 59-60) Bertrin writes in the Catholic Encyclopedia that the
Siege is only one of “only two
profane mysteries which have been preserved.” However, this is a modern
distinction. Knight writes, “the religious-profane dichotomy constitutes a
methodological error” (p 14) and that medieval people did not “make the same
distinction between religious and profane that we make today.” (p 14) The main generic differentiations
between dramas thus does not hinge on the holiness, but in this, case, on


play Le Mistere du Siege d’Orléans
has never been performed in its current form, according to the staff at the
Centre Jeanne d’Arc. Hamblin
writes that it “is nowhere mentioned in fifteenth-century writings.” (p v)
However, its roots may lie in the May 8th festivities, specifically
in 1435. Hamblin writes,
“Undoubtedly, some kind of dramatic presentation did occur in 1435 . . .. This
presentation . . . took place ‘durant la procession,’ as part of the
celebration.” (p 26) The 1435
presentation indicated “a growing secular interest in the celebration.” (p
27) This interest may have been
partially financed by Gilles de Laval, seigneur de Rais, otherwise known as
Bluebeard. “Depositions taken from his inheritors reveal that Rais financed
several mystères, one of which
was in Orléans, where he spent nearly the entire year of 1435.” (p 28-9) Hamblin goes on to note that Rais’
involvement with the play, could explain why “no more mention is made . . . of
any re-enactment of the Tourelles battle after 1439,” (p 29) as Rais was executed
in 1440.


authorship of the Siege is also
uncertain. Hamblin writes, “no
single author stands out as the most likely source of the Siege” and there is a “possibility that the work is
rather a compilation of the endeavors of several writers, and perhaps several
different time periods.” (p 16) Thus, the play possibly commissioned by Rais may have evolved into the Siege as it now exists. The writer or writers was probably a resident of
Orléans. “The author would have
had to be either native to Orléans or very familiar with and very dedicated to
this final stronghold of Loyalists in the Hundred Years’ War.” (p 10) The Siege names “locations which only local residents would
have recognized.” (p 46)


we have an obscure play with a processional background. It is not a small play, however. Hamblin writes, “It is a mystère of considerable length, involving more than 120
speaking roles in twenty different sites.” (p 4) Later, she says, “[In] order to recreate the Siege in its present form, we would need ships,
fortresses, tents, break-away towers, walls, a bridge with detachable parts, a
river and an ocean, a means for hovering saints above the stage, canons and
various dead bodies (one of which can lose its head at will).” (p 54) It’s no wonder that the present form of
the play has never been produced.


is only one extant copy of the Siege. It "is preserved in a single paper manuscript, now in the
Regina collection of the Vatican, but formerly in the library of Fleury."
(Frank 203) “There are no
embellishments or adornments whatsoever in the manuscript.” (Hamblin p 83)
Frank writes, "Our manuscript betrays much interest in the complicated
staging and music required by the play . . .. Detailed rubrics . . . also
indicate exactly which instruments are to be played during the
intermissions." (p 206) Despite this attention to musical detail, there is
no sheet music with the manuscript.


The Siege, however, does mention one chant by name, in folio 354r. Hamblin summarizes the action at this point
in the play:

On Saturday,
May 7, the French attack the defense line of the Tourelles. A heavy battle ensues, and the Pucelle
is wounded. She encourages the
soldiers, who go on to victory. Glasidas and others fall into the Loire and drown. The French enter Orléans victorious and
celebrate the English loss. (92)

This is the high point of action in the play and
the victory considered most miraculous. According to audio in the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc, the French forces were
about to quit the attack for the day, when a badly wounded Jeanne came rushing
back to the battle, waving her standard and leading the French to victory. She had also made a prediction that
“Glasidas” [sic] would die without bleeding. The day after this battle, in the play and historically, the
English retreat to the nearby town of Meung. Therefore it is the battle of Tourelles that raises the
siege. It is also the battle that
was re-enacted as a part of the annual thanksgiving procession. This may be the oldest part of the Mystère and if so, the author probably remembered the


In line 13638, the last line on the night of May
7th, La Pucelle orders the town to chant Te Deum laudamus: “Toute la nuit faites sonner Toutes vos cloches en tous lieux, Et à
forte voix sans reserve Chantez Te Deum laudamus.” (Gros 821) The people must
play their bells and chant in a strong voice and without reserve all through
the night. Te Deum was a widely known and a widely used chant in the
Middle Ages, “sung at the end of Matins on Sundays and feast days . . .. It has
also been used as a processional chant, the conclusion for a liturgical drama,
a song of thanksgiving on an occasion such as the consecration of a bishop, and
a hymn of victory on the battlefield.” (Steiner) This usage is clearly as a hymn of victory on the
battlefield as far as the rubrics of the play are concerned. However, since the play also has a
processional background, the chant is doubly appropriate. The Siege is certainly not a liturgical drama, but the
signing of Te Deum may still
have been recognized as a dramatic cue. The play does not end at this point,
but it lacks mentions of specific points to break off for the night. Perhaps this is a logical place to quit
until the next day. The usage of Te
thus arises not only
naturally out of the rubrics and out of history, but exists in other contexts
as well.


In actual fact, the historical document, the Journal
of the Siege of Orléans,
that “All the clergy and the people of Orléans devoutly sang Te Deum laudamus and rang all the city bells, very humbly thanking
Our Lord for this glorious divine consolation” (Pernoud p 48) Thus, the Mystére, as the name – and the genre – implies, presents
history as the writer and the intended actors would have remembered it.


The rubrics of the play in a pause immediately
below La Pucelle’s lines state, “Alors ici il y une grande pause et un grand
bruit dans la ville, de joie et de vif plaisir; toute la nuit sonnerie de
cloches, sonnerie de trompettes et cris: ‘Noël!'” (Gros 821) Here is a large pause and a great joyous noise in
the city: all night bells are rung, trumpets are sounded and people cry,
“Noël!” The play looks like a
historical document here, unless the playwright actually expected people to
blow trumpets all night, or perhaps, as speculated above, he was envisioning
putting a break for the night at this point.


The performance practice of Te Deum would have used the sort of instrumentation
contained in the rubrics of the play and recommended by La Pucelle. “[A]
festive performance of the Te Deum was
normally accompanied by instruments (in particular organ and bells), the normal
concomitant of which would be polyphony of some kind. Nevertheless, such
polyphony was essentially improvised . . .. 15th-century settings are rare.”
(Steiner) Although, she goes on, there is a setting by Binchois. Thus, historically, the bells of the
town were rung, but in the rubrics of the play cloches, defined by Pocket
Manual of Musical Terms
“chimes” (Baker p 56), were used to improvise polyphony. This is the only playing of cloches in
the play.


The bells of the village are indicated in the play
in other pauses. There is a typical usage after line 2414, “le beffroi de la
ville sonnera sans cesser durant l’assaut.” (Gros p 165) The bells of the village ring
unceasingly during the attack. The
beffroi always function in this play as indicators of battle. They need not indicate that a battle is
happening, but can also ring when a battle is about to occur, as a cue for the
army to assemble. For example, after line 5242, “Alors le beffroi de la ville
sonnera et ceux de la ville sortiront.” (Gros p 349) The bells, or belfry, of the city will sound and the
citizens will leave. They are
leaving, of course, to go fight a battle.


Another particular type of battle bell is the
tocsin, or the alarm bell. In the
pause after line 12174, “Et à
Saint-Loup une cloche sonnera le tocsin, et l’on criera: ‘Alarme!'” (Gros p 775) And in the fortress of
Saint-Loup an alarm bell will sound and someone will cry, “Alarm!” This is the only tocsin in the Siege. The
ringers of it are the English, who are occupying Saint-Loup and whom the French
are attacking.


Also linked to armies and battles is the clairon,
the instrument called for second most often. What sort of instrument is meant by “clairon” is not clear.
Non-musicians, when commenting on the Siege, translate this as bugle. This is a logical translation because
the clarions are so often associated with the army in the play. However, since the subject matter of
the play is a military victory, most things in it have at least some
association to the army. If this
was a bugle, then it was a signal horn, made out of a cow’s horn. (Baines) It would have played bugle calls, such as signals to attack,
retreat, assemble, etc. As a
natural horn, it only would have been able to play overtones of the fundamental
pitch, just as modern bugle calls only use harmonics.


Gros, when translating the Siege from Old French to modern French, leaves the old
French word clairon intact. The
modern French word clairon unequivocally refers to a bugle. The Old French word may have had a
different meaning. In fact, there
existed a separate term for bugles. Baines begins his bugle article with the entomology for the world
‘bugle’, “In the Middle Ages a not very common Old French word (also cor
buglèr, bugleret)
for a small
bovine signaling horn.” Thus there
existed, although not in wide usage, a term that specifically referred to


Another possible definition of clairon is “The high
register of a trumpet; in its variant forms, the term also designates a kind of
trumpet.” (Dahlqvist) The Pocket
Manual of Musical Terms
defines it
as “a small, shrill-toned trumpet.” (Baker p 55) This term has it’s own entomology. It comes “[f]rom the medieval Latin clario
and claro, the French form ‘claron’ was developed, and in
the 14th century such forms as ‘clairin’, ‘clarin’, ‘clerain’, ‘clerin’,
‘clairon’ (with the diminutives ‘claroncel’, ‘claronchiel’ etc.) began to appear.
‘Clairon’ became the most common of these.” (Dalhqvist) The term ‘clairon’ is
the one used by the playwright or the Siege.


There are reasons to believe that the rubrics of
the Siege could have been
intended to refer either to a short, shrill trumpet, or to the high register of
a normal trumpet. “During the
Middle Ages trumpeters played in the low register. Johannes de Grocheo wrote (De
musica, c1300
) that only the first
four partials of the harmonic series were used, a fact corroborated by the
earliest surviving trumpet music.” (Tarr, ‘Trumpet’) Thus, if the trumpets in the Siege are only playing in the low register, and the
playwright wanted a sound in the higher register, he would be able to so
indicate in the rubrics by specifically calling for a clairon sound. Or,
perhaps, it was a separate instrument, “Very often clairon and trompette (or
the like) are mentioned in pairs, suggesting two distinct instrument forms. In
1468, for example, Margaret of York was greeted ‘à son de trompes et de clarons’.”
(Dahlqvist) Similarly, “trompettes
et clairons” is oft repeated in the rubrics of the Siege. In
fact, the clairon is never mentioned without also calling for trumpets. Untangling exactly what instrument the
playwright intended to specify is probably impossible, or at least, beyond the
scope of this paper. Dahlqvist
states, “The precise meaning of these terms may never be understood


One example of the clairon being used as a
signaling instrument occurs in lines 5595-5. Talbot says, “Allons, trompettes et clairons, Sonnez pour
assembler l’armée.” (Gros p 371) Go trumpets and clarions, sound to assemble the army. Interestingly, the rubrics immediately
following Talbot’s speech call for trumpets to be played – but not clairons. “Alors
sonneront les trompettes des Anglais, et ils s’assembleront pour venir
assaillir Orléans.” (Gros p. 371) Then the trumpets of the English will sound and they will be assembled
to go attack Orléans. This may be
an error on the part of the copyist. Hamblin documents many copyist errors and notes that it is the nature of
hand-copied documents to contain errors. However, if it is not an error, it shows that trumpets alone are enough
to signal the army, and thus casts doubt on translating “clairon” to “bugle.”


A similar omission occurs around line 15907. La Pucelle says, “Allons! trompettes et
clairons! Pour donner courage et vigueur Aux Français très loyaux et bons . .
..” (Gros p 875) Go trumpets and
clairons! To give courage to the
very honest and good French . . .. The pause immediately below however calls
for ” . . . trompettes et d’autres instruments.” Trumpets and the other instruments. If clairons refer to army bugles, it is
perhaps unlikely that they would be played during an instrumental break, since
their function is to play signal calls. The “other instruments” could refer to
organs, stringed instruments, bells or other instruments not specifically
mentioned in the rubrics of the play. These might make an unlikely paring with bugles.


Clairons are also played during military
parades. For example, after line
12198, “Alors elle viendra à Orléans: une pause. – Et tous en bon ordre –
clairons, trompettes -, amènent foison de prisonniers avec les croix rouges,
ligotés;” (Gros p 777) Then La Pucelle will come to Orléans: a pause. And with trumpets and clairons playing,
bound English prisoners will enter in good order. Thus, the French are triumphantly marching English prisoners
(with red crosses) into Orléans. In a pause after line 12678, the French again march with clairons,
“Alors, ici une pause de trompettes, clairons. – Et tous, en ordre harmonieux,
leurs étendards déployés,
partent; ils iront, descendre de cheval au droit des Bouterons, et là se
rassembleront tous.” (Gros p 795) Then, here a pause of trumpets, bugles. – And all will leave, in harmonious
order, with their standards unfurled; they will go, down from their horses, to
the right of Bouterons, and will all gather there.


The English army also marches with clairons. The pause after line 8954 indicates,
“Alors ils arriveront joyeusement avec trompettes, clairons; Talbot et d’autres
vont au-devant d’eux.” (Gros p. 569) Then they will joyfully arrive with trumpets and clairons. Talbot and others will go ahead of
them. In addition, battles and
other military actions, such as gathering their arms or putting on armor also
call for clairons.


Because the clairon is never played without
trumpets, trumpets fill the same roles as the clairons. Trumpets alone may be specified in
contexts that in other pauses call for trumpets and clairons. For instance, sometimes trumpets alone
are played to assemble the army. Trumpets, however, are called for far more often than clairons,
sometimes in contexts where clairons are not used. No less than forty-seven pauses specifically indicate that
trumpets should play. As noted
above, trumpets were played in the low range. “Medieval trumpeters puffed out their cheeks when blowing
and produced a tone that was described as airy and trembling, not unlike the vibrato
produced by a boy soprano.” (Tarr, ‘Trumpet’) The trumpets of the time were sometimes straight and
sometimes folded. “Shortly before 1400 instrument makers learned to bend brass
tubing . . ..” (Tarr, ‘Slide Trumpet’) 
It is possible that, in order to get more pitch variety, the playwright
may have intended to use – or at
least not objected to – slide trumpets. “The single-slide trumpet seems to have
been introduced . . . – according to Polk (1997) between 1400
and 1420, probably first in Burgundy, then in the Cologne-Flanders area – and
was soon ubiquitous. It was used until the invention of the double slide around
1490.” (Tarr, ‘Slide Trumpet’) Of
course, the Burgundians sided with the English during the Hundred Years War,
making it tempting to speculate that the instrument may have been tainted by
this association. The playwright
simply calls for “trompettes,” but what other name he might have used to refer
to the new instrument is not clear to modern scholars. “Terminology and nomenclature in a
period of transition are always problematic. Early mentions of ‘pusun’, for
example in Basle in 1410, could refer to either the long straight trumpet or
perhaps the slide trumpet; ‘trompette saicqueboute’, in Burgundy in 1468,
probably meant a slide trumpet . . ..” (Tarr, ‘Slide Trumpet’) 


One place that trumpets are called for, but
clairons are not, is to play some specific signal calls to the army, such as
sounding a retreat. For example,
in the pause following line 2950, the rubrics indicate, “Ensuite ici les
trompettes des Français sonneront une retraite . . ..” (Gros p 197) Then, here, the French trumpets will sound a retreat. This use of trumpets and not clairons
to play a specific signal call is additional evidence that the clairons were
not bugles. This usage of trumpets
is part of the action of the play. Instead of providing a musical pause, the trumpet playing advances the
plot. There are other examples of
this sort of usage, for instance, heraldry. In line 15665, Lord John instructs his herald to quickly
take his trumpet and make an announcement to the town. “Héraut, prenez votre trompette Vite,
et veuillez écouter . . .” (Gros p 861) The following pause indicates that the
herald plays the trumpet and then makes the announcement. “Alors il sonnera la trompette; ensuite
il dit:” (Gros p 861)


For the most part, trumpets are played alone in the
same contexts that they are paired with clairons. That is, they are played during battles, marches, and to
assemble the army.  They also
appear in victory celebrations, for example, when the town chants Te Deum and during the plundering of the defeated town of
Jargeau in the pause after line 16642, “les trompettes sonneront, et la ville
de Jargeau sera pillée: vaisselle d’argent, étain, lits, meubles meublants,
draps, couvertures et tous autres ustensiles de ménage . . ..” The trumpets will sound and the town of
Jargeau will be plundered: silver plate, tin, furniture, cloths, covers and all
other household utensils. This
rubric, like one that calls for trumpets and clairons, also calls for prisoners
to be marched out by the army.


The third most-oft appearing musical instrument is
the organ. Unlike, bells,
clairons, and trumpets, the organ fills a purely musical role and is not part
of the action of the play. It is
first called for in folio 171. Hamblin summarizes the action at this point in
the play: 

kneels and prays to God that He have pity on France. Nostre Dame, Saints
Michel, Euvertre and Aignan convince God that Charles is sincere. He sends
Michel to Barrois, where a young girl will be given the mission of winning the
siege of Orléans. The French, because of their loss of faith, will have no
personal glory in the victory. (p

The pause occurs after God speaks on line 7066, ordering
St. Michel to go to La Pucelle. The rubrics say, “Pause d’orgues. Et il vient auprès de la Pucelle
occupée à garder les brebis de son père et à coudre du linge.” (Gros p 459) Pause of organs. And then he goes to the Pucelle, who is
occupied keeping her father’s ewes and sewing linen. Thus the organ plays while Michel descends from heaven,
possibly a separate stage from where La Pucelle is spinning wool, or, at the
very least, requiring a scene change. Gros attaches a footnote to “orgues,”
where he states, “Pour le première fois, dans le Mystére, ce sont les orgues
qui se font entendre durant la pause Aussi bien le ciel rend-il alors visite à
la terre: le veritable nature de la mission de Jeanne se précise.” (p 459) For
the first time in the play it is the organs which we hear in the pause. It is at this time that the heavens
visit the earth and reveal the precise nature of Jeanne’s mission. Thus Gros implies a connection between
the organ and themes of holiness.


As this scene was most likely not intended to be
performed in a church, the organ called for is a portative organ. These small, “easily transported
organ[s],” (Seay p 73) have “a keyboard of up to two octaves.” (Owen) Seay
describes the portative as, “[s]mall and capable of being worked by one man
without assistance, it carried none of the religious overtones associated with
its larger [church organ] brother.” (p 73) However, the rubrics only call for organs on four occasions,
all of which invoke God. The
playwright clearly intends his choice of instrument to convey religious
overtones, as Gros states.


Seay goes on to describe the performance practice
of the portative organ. “Since one
hand of the executant was occupied in building up the air pressure, its
position was not that of a polyphonic instrument, but one used in group
performance, as a member of chamber combinations.” (p 73) Hence, the playwright specifies
multiple organs for the pause.


Finally, string instruments are mentioned once in
the rubrics of the Siege. The pause after line 17614 says, “Pause
de trompettes, de musiciens jouant d’instruments à cordes, et d’autres
instruments. – Puis après,
le messager arrive devant le roi et dit:” (Gros p 911) Pause of trumpets,
musicians playing of string instruments, and other instruments. – Then after, the messenger arrives in
front of the king and speaks. In
her summary of the action in this folio, Hamblin writes, “A messenger reports
to Charles on the progress made by the French army.” (p 93) This scene takes place at court. The unique mention of strings and other
instruments helps distinguish court musically from outdoor scenes with the
army. Of course, the court scene
would be performed outdoors along with the rest of the play. The music helps provide cues to the
audience about the scene.


At the very end of the Siege, “Jehanne again admonishes the citizens to thank
God for these victories, and to conduct processions in memory of the victories
granted them for God.” (Hamblin p 93) Loyal to Jehanne’s wishes, the citizens of Orléans have not forgotten
the procession, but unfortunately, have neglected the play. The recent publication of Gros’
translation into modern French may spark popular interest. Perhaps the Siege, after so many centuries, will finally have a

Alaxander Nevsky Paper

Celeste Hutchins
Nevsky Paper

I read Eisenstein’s explanation of how the Nevsky images and sound work together and I remain unconvinced. However, what was clear both in his writing and his film were strong issues of Russian identity.
These were very obvious in the film, where the characters openly discuss what it means to be Russian and the importance of the homeland. This was contrasted with the German other. Today’s Colloquium speaker noted that the music used for the Russian themes in the film were based on Russian folk modes. Thus it is somewhat similar to Stravinsky’s Svadebka, as they both use folk elements to re-imagine folk life.
I recognized other things common to Svadebka including that the female love interest had her hair parted into two braids, thus indicating her status as an unmarried woman. However, at the end of the film when the two couples pair off, neither woman starts singing a platch, but instead look happy with their future husbands. However, the matchmaker (mentioned early in the movie) has not yet been sent, so perhaps the platch would be premature and might interfere with the happy ending.
Russian identity is obvious in Eisenstein’s writings as he quotes Pushkin. Pushkin’s poetry is strongly linked to Russian identity. He is widely quoted and revered.
Despite the obvious and strong Russian identity in the film, certain American film conventions were used. For example, as one of the Germans fell through the ice and slowly slipped in and drowned, there was a Mickey Mousing downward trombone slide matching his action. Eisenstein goes so far as to claim that all of the score in the waiting scene is Mickey Moused, drawing diagrams and making claims of eye motion. Some scenes had music pre-written for them and Mickey Moused in reverse, so that the action was made to mirror the score.
This type of Mickey Mousing however, goes far beyond anything that would be found in an American film. The score, with it’s folk modes and choral works is distinctly Russian. These Russian identities in the film are contrasted with the film’s portrayal of German otherness. The creepy bucket-style helmets make the Germans look like aliens. Issues of religion also figure in very prominently.
The Germans have crosses on their uniforms. They have crosses on their shoulders. Even the eye holes in their helmets are cross shaped. Many scenes show the German holy leaders raising crucifixes. The religious leader goes so far as to say that there is only one world emperor and he must bow to the Pope. The Germans are in Russia on a religious crusade to impose Catholicism.
In contrast, there was only one scene showing Russian Orthodoxy. It was a short shot of some people standing, one of them holding an icon. The Germans are evil Catholics and the Russians are practically atheists by comparison, but they do have this other religion, which they get to keep, at least until the revolution.
Musically, Catholicism is represented by the organ that the priest plays. Also, since the trumpets are first blown at a church service, they also represent catholicism as much as they represent the threat of the knights. It is hard to draw a distinction between Catholicism and the Teutonic threat as Catholicism is the Teutonic threat. It is their motivation for coming to Rus and their justification for committing atrocities. Religious baiting is a tired old form of propaganda, but probably useful in a legally atheist society, as it helps build national religious (or irreligious) unity.
There is also a single character who was probably supposed to be a Jew. This character tells the angry nationalist mob that nationalism is not as important as money. Some nobel character kicks the Jewish man and calls him a cur. Because of the diasporic nature of Jewish peoples, they were viewed as stateless. In the Soviet era, Jews were not considered Russian citizens, but rather resident aliens. Their legal nationality was Jewish.
This possible Jewish character does not get a musical theme. He has about the same amount of screen time as the Russian Orthodox church, maybe a bit more. He is represented by stereotypes and carries no iconography. Thus religions in Russia are barely present in the film, whereas German religion is threatening, gets a lot of screen time and has musical themes and instruments associated with it.
Russian identity is thus defined, both as what it is and what it is not. Russian identity uses folks modes, quotes Pushkin and is forever optimistic. Enemy identity is religious, faceless and threatening, with odd instrumentation of bassoons and strange trumpets. Most horrible of all is the traitor to Russia who gets killed by an angry mob. Real Russians – the ones not kicked to death by the proletariat – love their country and will fight for it.

Movie Music Paper

Celeste Hutchins
Movie Paper

The only thing cohesive about the movie Laura is that there are only two musical themes in it. The other, narrative themes are much less clear. Lydecker, as Kathryn Kalinak points out in her article, is clearly meant to be read as gay. This is most clear in the opening scene, which, Kalinak notes, had a different director than most of the rest of the film. He also plays what The Celluloid Closet called “the sissy” in the scene where he finds out the Laura is not dead, when he passes out. After Lydecker regains consciousness, Carpenter insults Lydecker for his lack of masculinity. In his most forceful and perhaps wittiest lines, Carpenter suggests that Lydecker should get back “on all fours.” He might as well called him a fag.
If Lydecker is supposed to be gay, then what is his relationship with Laura supposed to be? As Kalinak points out, Lydecker’s characterization, like everything else in the movie was disputed by the committee that assembled the film. The entire movie is just as confused and unclear as Lydecker’s motivations and sexuality. The plot has holes in it. The characters never stop to ask important questions (Why isn’t Laura surprised that her fiance is not shocked by her reappearance?). The characters themselves are half formed and waver between different archetypes and stereotypes. The only consistent character in the film is the overwhelmingly stereotypical Betsy.
Given this mess of inconsistency, poor writing, and ambiguous plot, it’s no surprise that Raskin chose to limit the musical material. The music is the glue holding the disparate visions together as a semi-cohesive whole. Having additional themes might have simply highlighted the fragmentary nature of the narrative. Instead, by having one main theme repeating over and over, Raskin creates connections between scenes and reinforces his vision to Laura’s character. Ultimately, Raskin’s vision of Laura is the prevailing one, both because it’s repetition gives it more time “on screen” than the actress gets and because of it’s lack of ambiguity. Laura’s character was clearly not resolved by the time the movie was assembled and so in the final version, if judged by non-musical cues alone, she has no real character. Is she virtuous? Is she a victim? Does she deserve her fate? Is she a “good guy” or a “bad guy?” The visual images and the dialog present no clear answer to these questions. She is just a bystander in her own story.
The music, however, changes that. The main theme is clearly and obviously connected to her. Carpenter describes the theme as “not exactly classical, but sweet.” This characterization of the theme also accurately describes Laura’s character. In the end, she is sympathetic: an innocent victim of bad circumstances who deserves something better. This is entirely a result of the music.
Kalinak describes the secondary, darker theme as being connected to Lydecker. This is much less obvious than the main theme’s attachment to Laura. Kalinak notes that the theme often appear where Lydecker does not. She claims this foreshadows Lydecker’s guilt. The connection between the second theme and Lydecker was not obvious to me when I was watching the movie. I noted that there was a second, darker theme attached to foreboding events. As a modern viewer, it seemed as if the second theme is sometimes placed with Lydecker to foreshadow his guilt. In other words, I felt that the theme did not belong to an individual, but to a mood.
Attaching a dark mood to Lydecker, also, may not soley be intended to signify his guilt, but also his possible homosexuality. Kalinak notes that unusual instrumentation was used around Lydecker. She also notes that theme heard in Lydecker’s apartment is “heard in a predominantly woodwind ensemble.” (p 171) This woodwind ensemble may have been used to highlight his sexuality. Kalinak writes, “Certain stereotypes evolved as a shorthand for sexual experience . . .. [T]hese conventions included brass and woodwind instrumentation, unusual harmonies and bluesy rhythms.” (p 166) Here she is discussing sexual experience for women. It must also carry weight when these conventions are attached to male character. She goes on to state, “The classical score frequently encoded otherness through the common denominator of jazz. For white audiences of the era, jazz represented the urban, the sexual and the decadent . . .. [T]he classical score used jazz as a musical trope for otherness, whether sexual or racial.” (p 167) While the scoring in Lydecker’s apartment is not, jazz, it does use woodwinds. Also, the second theme, which may have been attached to him, has unusual harmonies. Clearly his scoring is intended to convey sexual otherness. Woodwinds, while not jazzy in this case, were associated with jazz. Homosexuality was associated with decadence. Thus the music in the apartment theme, in addition to the staging, the dialog and the blocking, also highlights Lydecker’s queerness.
The opening scene makes him overwhelmingly gay (as overwhelmingly gay as one could be during the era of movie codes). What then is his attachment to Laura? What is his motivation for killing her? In asking these questions, I am making the assumption that audiences of the time would have been unfamiliar with the idea of bisexuality. If it is the case, and Lydecker is gay, then what does this mean for Laura’s character? The implication seems to be that she was sleeping with him. But if he’s gay, then obviously, she wasn’t. Raskin’s concept of Laura was of a good guy and not a “whore,” as Preminger characterized her. ( Kalinak p 167) Raskin’s participation in the queering of Lydecker adds credence to his vision of Laura as innocent. If Lydecker is gay, then Laura is not sleeping with him and thus perhaps is not sleeping with her other suitors and thus may be a virgin with bad luck. She thus can be “not exactly classical, but sweet” and live happily ever after. Lydecker’s motivations are then utterly unclear, but he does die at the end, which is very often the fate of gay characters in older movies. The audience can then go home happy, knowing the manliest man got the girl. The girl is innocent and will live happily ever after without the homo, who got killed. Manliness, honesty (Laura is the only suspect in the movie who doesn’t lie constantly), heterosexuality, and virginity thus triumph. The movie ends with a reminder to buy war bonds. With our values, how can we lose?

World Music Assignment

Listen to “composed world music CD” and report back

Celeste Hutchins


World Music Paper


my World Music listening, I chose La Koro Sutro by Lou Harrison.  I picked this piece because I thought
it was obviously an example of "composed world music" and because I’m
quite fond of it.  Now that I’m
examining it more critically, however, I’m not as certain that it is an example
of world music. 

Koro Sutro
composed for 100 voice chorus, harp, organ and the "American
Gamelan."  The American
Gamelan is not actually a gamelan, but rather a metalphone percussion
instrument built out of old oxygen tanks and other scrap metal by Bill
Colvig.  It has its name only
because it sounds like a gamelan, but otherwise has little connection to the
real thing.  This may be
problematic if this piece is to be classified as world music, since the
instrumentation is domestic.

language of the piece and the text is very definitely international.  It is an Esperanto (La Internacia
translation of the Buddhist text, the Heart Sutra. The CD helpfully comes with the
words in Esperanto and a side-by-side English translation.  It was also premiered to an international
audience.  The notes with the CD
explain, "La Koro Sutro was first performed for an international gathering of
Esperantists in San Francisco on August 11, 1972."  The Harrison biography notes that this
performance took place shortly after a Universala Kongreso in Portland, Oregon.  While certainly not every piece of Esperanta
music ever
written is automatically world music, this one, because of the nature of the
translation, should be counted as a world music text.

sound of the piece also sounds like world music.  The tuning is very obviously not 12-toned equally
tempered.  This is especially
evident in the American Gamelan sections. 
The other percussion also has a "world music" feel to it.  The singing also sounds somewhat non-western.  It is reminiscent of some chant music,
especially when it has longish melismas on a single vowel.  This may be because Harrison studied
and found inspiration from early music. 
It may also be an imitation of a singing style found along the Pacific
Rim.  Based on the sounds alone, I
would certainly consider this piece to be world music.

packaging of the CD, however, does not convey world music.  The cover graphic pictures some grass
and a large anthropomorphized flower with a goatee.  It is smiling at an insect that also has a goatee and three
hearts float between them.  Eight
notes in various orientations dot the background.  It says, in large text La Koro Sutro on the right hand side.  Around the edges are names of people
involved in the project.  Also on
the same disk are Varied Trio, performed by the Abel, Steinberg, Winant Trio and Suite
for Violin and American Gamelan
, featuring David Abel on violin.  The disk is published by New Albion

of the performers, packaging, Pacific Rim aesthetics and even the record label
are so very California San Francisco Bay Area, that they make me homesick.  Of course, while I lived in California,
I did not think of this as purely California music, I thought of it as world
music.  Lou Harrison was known not
only as a California composer, but more so as a world music composer.  I did not think of his music and especially
this piece, as indigenous, but looking at it now, it very obviously was.

conclusion, while this CD is very obviously a California phenomenon, I still
would count it as an example of composed world music.  The international Esperanto community is eager to embrace it
– the best Esperanto vocal work ever written – as coming from Esperantio, and the music synthesizes so
many ideas and cultures that I would count it as a world phenomenon.

         (Esperantio is the name of a fictional
Esperanto homeland.  It is
essentially international in nature.)

Research status

The manuscript of the play, La Misterie du Siege d’ Orleans, does not have any sheet music with it, nor any ornamentation of any kind. However, it does have many, many pauses that were intended to be filled with music. Many of these pauses contain instructions for orchestration. The most common instruments mentioned are trumpets, bugles and organ. No 15th century document even mentions the play. The librarian at the Joan of Arc center says that it has never been performed in it’s current form. some scholars believe that it is not really a play, but rather a collection of smaller action vignettes associated with the annual May 8th festivities commemorating the raising of the siege. This hypothesis seems logical, given the evidence above and also because no-one has really been able to date the manuscript. Parts of it seem to be written right after the siege and other parts appear to date from later years.

The play (or series of processional events) seems to have been written for the entire town to take part in. entire battles are re-acted out. It calls for thousands of actors. Part of the town is supposed to be set ablaze for it. It would take several days to stage it in it’s entirety. and it has over a hundred “major” characters.

The play certainly grew out of the May 8th processions, whether or not it was just a collection of past processional events. It’s possible that musical sources for it were battle songs, hymns and some courtly processional music. the librarian at the Joan of Arc Center (whose name I wish I had gotten), says that all of these sources are lost. there is some evidence around the music at the cathedral, however.

For my paper, I intend to analyze the instrumentation in connection with the action. I’m going to read _Aspects of Genre in Late Medieval French Drama_ by Alan Knight and talk to Professor Alden to figure out what to do with this.

Bartok Paper

I read the Bluebeard article with great interest. When I was at the Joan of Arc Centre in Orleans, one of the things I learned is that the real-life Bluebeard may have been the commissioner of the play, La Misterie du Siege d’Orleans, which I am researching. While the man who became famous for his misdeeds is a character in the play, none of his future misdeeds are mentioned and he is treated as a hero. Some suggest that this is evidence that he paid for the play to be written. Others believe that this is useful information for dating the year that the play was written. In either case, Bartok and the anonymous fifteen century playwright share a commonality for casting Bluebird, a real life serial killer of children and folk-tale murderer of wives, as a hero.
Frigyesi’s interesting research suggests that Balazs’ and Bartok’s heroic casting of Bluebird does not use stereotypical and harmful gender roles, but is almost a proto-feminist piece. Unlike the fairy-tale, where Judith is punished for her disobedience, here she just runs into the essentially solitary nature of the soul. Frigyesi acknowledges that other critics feel that the original fairy-tale interpretation is present in the opera and then unearths a mountain of evidence to support his own, contrary, claim. Some of this evidence, however, is underwhelming. For instance, when analyzing the Gulacsy painting The Magician’s Garden, Frigyesi suggests that female figure’s partial disrobement indicated openness and hence masculinity. While I’m not familiar with the the painting conventions of turn-of-the-century Budapest, I can say with certainty that more recent western images of partially unclothed women with fully clothed men have not intended to convey anything but femininity and submissiveness on the part of the pictured female. While certainly The Magician’s Garden is more complicated than a modern Budweiser ad, I require more context to be convinced of Frigyesi’s interpretation. Similarly, I am not fully convinced that the ending of the opera, like the folk-tale, is not a punishment Pandora-like for Judith being too curious.
That said, the context Frigyesi provides around the opera greatly increased my understanding of the piece. Otherwise, it would have been hard to know what to make of it other than a very strange retelling of the folk-tale. The nihilistic context is immediately familiar to anyone who was a pretentious highschool student during the time that I was in school. I used to frequent a cafe where all the young patrons wore black clothes and propped up their Nietzsche tomes so that others would be able to see the author’s name on the binding of the book. We drank lattes and talked about meaninglessness and how our words could never adequately convey our angst. Had I been aware of this opera during that time, I’m sure that I would have become a great devotee.
The angst, isolation and nihilism that this opera portrays, us teenagers experienced as a facet of modernity. The Kafka story, The Metamorphosis, which was also extremely popular around Coffee Society, takes place in an explicitly modern setting and our highschool english teachers instructed us about the modernist content. Kafka, of course, lived in Prague when he wrote that, but Frigyesi talks about nihilism as a social force throughout eastern and western Europe at the time.
Bluebeard’s Castle was also written around the time that the Esperanto movement was gaining steam. The language was invented in Poland and it’s “national library” is currently in Budapest. It became extremely popular in France and Germany, but it’s strongest staying-power has been in Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary. It’s ironic then, that Bartok and other members of the intelligentsia where fretting about the utter inability of words to convey meaning that the same time that others were trying to bridge gaps between people of different languages.

new last paragraph

It was also interesting to read about how the modes in Svadebka were related to Medieval modes, something that Taruskin assumes his audience to be familiar with. I look forward to re-reading that section as my research project progresses. Actually, I’ll probably never re-read any part of this paper because it is incredibly long and boring. There is nothing to say about it because Taruskin has already said everything anyone might possibly want to say about Svadebka and said it with examples over many, many pages. I cannot possibly imagine being this interested in Stravinsky. And all of this is for one single work. It boggles the mind to think about the amount of research that went into this book. Didn’t Taruskin have anything better to do? I can’t imagine dedicating that much of my life to somebody else’s work. On his deathbed, he’ll be able to think that he knew more about Stravinsky than anyone else, but he’s created nothing new. He has only analyzed. He has not worked to make the world a better place, only pointed out how someone else has. This book is emblematic of all the problems of academia and academic writing.

not in my paper

My paper will not say, “On the othe rhand, this paper, by contrast, is not very long and has not been overly researched at all. It may still be boring and not creative, unfortunately. fortunately, I spend a bit of time when i’m not doign homework by writing music.” My paper will not say, “I am not an ethnomusicologist. I am not here to write papers.” My paper will not say, “I am counting the minutes until I get to the airport.”