Principles: Rhythm, Circularity, Shape

Author: Maure Coise

By means of various sound-objects and description-objects, preserved across the globe, there is evidence that musical scales similar used up unto the present day have been used for over 4000 years. Hand positioning in ancient images of stringed instrument performance clearly indicate ratios (fourths, fifths, and octaves), revealing unquestionable knowledge of the laws governing harmonics. Ancient experiences in creation indicated the use of a method of knowledge transmission, symbolizing rhythm and velocity.

Music molds another creation, referenced, in the spiritual sense, with generic life, designating, above all else, verticality and horizontality and governing the equilibrium of a language. Musical performance shows it is necessary to find stillness, because otherwise everything would oscillate. Music is, accordingly, used to designate everything that oscillates, or titubates, as in drunkenness. Vibration is an oscillation. Music reminds that every vibrating body emits sound. This is, in fact, what is suggested by music performers who, as a convenient “measure”, calculate a rate of oscillation with the inverse ratio to the square of a length of an instrument, and limb, determining an order of rhythm and velocity, in relation to their own heartbeat, sparked by inspiration into a musical moment.

This principle results from the phenomenon of universal gravitation, and constitutes the basis of music. Hitting a bell, a sound is emitted at a certain pitch. From this, the performer calculates the fractioning of the length of the bell to a proportional speed of vibrations. The intervals defining the notes of the diatonic scale represent ratios between 1:1 and 1:2. The ratio between two notes’ rates of vibration, calculated in hertz, with that between the lengths of bells is an inversion.

The Future Sound Lab devotes time, with the intention to open up a different quality of dialogue between music and outer space travel and more-than-human embodiment, to studying how the construction of parallel fourths and fifths led to the realization, commonly attributed to George Russell (1923-2009) and Ornette Coleman (1930-2015), of the functional equality of all notes. For example, a melody played primarily in a unison may break into a quartal or quintal harmony at a cadential point, or a call and response may stretch the primary scale out in length through parallel intervals. Now, whatever the “harmonic” case may be, no note or scale has priority over any other at any given moment, one is simply an equivalent variant of the other.

In six sections, corresponding to insights from 2.58 million years ago, before that, 160,000 BC, 40,000 BC, 1945, and after that (or to fajr, dhuhr, asr, maghrib, isha, and witr prayers), with poetic descriptions and links to audio, new meaning will be attached to the expanding vocabulary of rhythm, velocity, color, circularity, satellites, and shape; symbolizing sound in music after the 1950s for consideration over the next 4000 years.



The performer might proportion long and short sounds without meter, beats, or counting. Like a tree, generating branches and roots connect in a trunk. Composite information assimilates the proportion of its own symbolic accumulation and the inspiration to travel to other dimensions of creativity. To create in the moment, the zebra finch empties themselves and  participates in the generative opposites of shorter and longer sounds. Through intuitive effort, they gain insight into proportionality.

Example: Julia Hylund Bruno’s 2017 PhD dissertation “Song rhythm development in zebra finchs”





With the right physical alignment, and with years of initiation preceding, the act of proportioning sound and silence might lead to a discovery of an unknown. One that is every other. Sounds, short or long, fast or slow, red or violet, are like trains with multiple ten-foot clocks on top of them. Seen from above, the clocks’ rotations illustrate velocity, and the observation of different clocks on the moving train illustrates rate of change.


Anthony Braxton’s 2014 opera “Trillium J” applies relativity theory to a symbolic order of sound. Creating a form, for a non-quantitative independent determination of proportion that is always a fresh encounter. For each performer, not even the memory of ten seconds prior plays a role in coming upon each new moment. A sharp musician, taking the step out of metric time, becomes medium.

Example: Katherine Young 2017 DMA dissertation “Nothing is as it appears”




Sound, outside, has, as boundaries, the Earth and the sky. Rather than selecting individual pitches, Sheng Jie in a flash, achieves rapid epiphanies. The flash is hysteria.

Springing forward and expressing a quality of being in a moment, a life force. Her language of inspiration responds to Bon gods, like colors’ wavelengths, for just as red is a larger waveform than violet, and the performance of their difference is achieved through contextualizing their reference, so the repository of information called Sheng Jie forgets everything, who they are, what they have done, and all that remains is attention, balancing, in sound, differences, in listening, removing veils.

Example: Sheng Jie 2020 “Oviparity”




Example: Jing Wang’s Half Sound, Half Philosophy (2021) is the first academic monograph exploring established and well known creative musicians in China. These composers and performers, leading forces in music and education since the 1980s, advance a variety of styles and techniques into the contemporary arena. Among the artists, some expand instrumental constraints through electronic augmentation. Nearly all expand instrumental constraints through gestural techniques of instrumentation. This covers both digital computing technologies and a vast variety of instrumentation, undifferentiated.

While music depends on the construction of each instrument, contemporary software like Max, developed by IRCAM in the 1980s, can synthesize any instrument. Why then transpose a Bb flat trumpet to “concert C”? Just as Ornette Coleman asked long ago, when abandoning conventions of “key” and “harmonic resolution.” Jing Wang’s text presents an aesthetic sensibility for future music that develops from this, emphasizing how each musician creates depending on personal information they bring.




Example: Susanna Lindberg discusses musical aesthetics in relation to the individuation of technical objects. She describes the musician as an exemplar cyborg, the tonal constraints of the instrument informs the musician, through scales. The musician interprets what is never the whole sound.

Interpreting might be understood through Bernard Stiegler’s account of the role of memory. Stiegler often discussed examples of how Bela Bartok and Charlie Parker used phonograph recordings as an instrument in composing. Music cannot be disassociated from technological mediation. Following Stiegler, the advancement in reproducibility evidences that the engramming of a musical instrument occurs in multiple levels or repetitions of interpretation, in the first instance, the intervallic relations of different frequencies. Stiegler’s explanation remains dependent on the relation of retention and protention, while post-Parker music composition has abandoned the use of expectation or anticipation of harmonic resolution, nor is it relevant to many musical cultures.

The qualities of a sound, a sound of an object or instrument, are information grounded in and contingent on the profile of the listener, their emotion or mood in an act of listening. This act proportions sound and silence (shorter and longer, faster and slower sounds and silences). Perhaps, in the future sound experience, there is no role for memory (just as there is no role for the influence of others, or “interaction”).