Arsenij Avraamov conducting ‘Symphony of the Factory Sirens’ using two flaming torches (c.1923).
“By knowing the way to record the most complex sound textures by means of a phonograph, after analysis of the curve structure of the sound groove, directing the needle of the resonating membrane, one can create synthetically any, even most fantastic sound by making a groove with a proper structure of shape and depth”.
From ‘Upcoming Science of Music and the New Era in the History of Music’ by Avraamov, published in 1916.
‘He was attracted by the prospect of studying the fundamentals of the process by which visually represented forms are transformed into the sound of music and voices. Among those fundamentals were the basic Euclidean forms: squares, triangles and circles, from which all visual forms are constructed, including the optical phonograms on film material. He was perfectly content with the technology offered by the animation stand and the technique of stop-motion animation of a pattern drawn in advance. Arsenii Avraamov became the first to create drawn sound in the summer of 1930. In autumn of the same year he demonstrated the results of his experiments at a conference on sound in Moscow.’
From the article ‘Designed Sound in the USSR’ by Nikolai Izolov, Issue 24, Kinokultura, 2009. See here for more.
An excerpt from the programme for the 1922 performance of Avraamov’s ‘Symphony of the Factory Sirens’;
“At the 20th-blast railway depot at railway stations and the remaining locomotives. Machine guns, infantry and steam Orchestra, which come at the same time, receive signals directly from dirizherskoy tower …
Over the last five rounds anxiety reaches a peak and ends with the 25th gun. Pause.”