Lee Scott Newcombe will present a one-day performance at MOCA London using his unique sculptural musical instrument called ‘the diapason’. He will perform his new composition Empherion at 2.30 pm and continue at 3.30 pm on the 17th December. In between the live performance, visitors are invited to explore and play with the instrument themselves.
Newcombe suggests this is a chance for the audience to experience strange and unfamiliar harmonic combinations through relaxed and playfully interactive encounters. He intends to sonically connect the visitors creating “a grand swelling burst of harmony.”
Newcombe relates to his sonic compositions as hyperobjects, entities distributed throughout spatiotemporal awareness. Local manifestations, such as the performance at MOCA London, is not the hyperobject itself, but a small part of something much larger.
To realise his vision, it has been necessary for Newcombe to design and construct bespoke acoustic microtonal instruments. These are tuned to a 53-tone intonation hyperchromatic scale, designed for multiple performers to sound simultaneously. Aiming to foster as much inclusivity as possible, the performable objects belong to the family of ‘fixed pitch’ instruments, which can be sonically activated without having to learn tuning intonation techniques.
Newcombe has developed a notational system for this highly complex harmonic language. His ‘time-grids’ scores are easily comprehended, and aided by note-naming, and color-coding systems, this new approach does not require any participant to have had prior knowledge of notational reading.
Taking a modular approach to instrument construction, all pitch-objects can be relocated from work-to-work. The configuration of an instrument is dictated by the work to be presented. The diapason incorporates fifty-four musical glasses. At this event, the four manuals of the diapason are positioned side-by-side with the glasses arranged in an interval sequence of fourths.
The arrangement is necessitated by the demands of Empherion. Unlike conventional instruments, having a chromatic layout would prove impractical for the performers as body parts would block access to pitch-objects. When writing for the diapason you must consider the choreography of performers.
The sonic clarity of distinct objects fused with the delicate timbre of sustained glass, dissolves boundaries between consonance and dissonance, enriching a state of indeterminacy through the interactions of the shifting densities of clustered pitch.
About the Artist
LSN is an artist whose work resides within the liminal spaces between installation and performance. Fascinated by the interconnections between temporal horizons, LSN utilises acoustic sound sources derived from bespoke microtonal instruments tuned to a 53-tone just-intonation hyperchromatic scale. They are designed for multiple people to play simultaneously in a live scenario or sampled and spatialized alongside choreographed routines.
The exploration of psychoacoustics and the hypersaturation of pitch space is coupled with the durational approach of processual procedures. Entering the sonic streams of harmonic relations, intervallic pathways are followed to unveil the eternal recurrence of pitch. Time is experienced as domain.
Lee Scott Newcombe a grand swelling burst of harmony 17 December 2 – 4.30pm Performances 2.30 – 3pm and 3.30 – 4pm MOCA London