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An Ecology of Rhythm in Water and Stone

Equation of a Wave in Motion by Susie Ibarra

Photo of the Atlantic Ocean in Cadiz, Andalusia Spain by Jake Landau

Wishing you all a wonderful June! In releasing the book, Rhythm In Nature : An Ecology of Rhythm alongside the large ensemble premiere of Rhythm In Nature’s performance of Four Meditations on Impermanence at PS 21 Chatham NY this July 15th.

The areas that make up the practice guide of listening to and analyzing rhythms in nature come from different inspirations of being on the field.

I’m sharing here a few of the on field studies that have inspired the development of my rhythmic analysis and practice. The ecology of human, living organisms and geophysical sounds I find is deeply interconnected. We can learn a lot from this by living and practicing intentionally as a part of the larger ecosystem.

An Equation of a Wave in Motion

There is so much we can learn when reflecting on ocean waves. When the water level is calm it’s said that the frequency of sea waves in calm conditions is between .05 to 16 Hz . A natural frequency of a human body sitting to standing is between 4-7.5 Hz which puts us in a frequency naturally of calmness sea water.

I think it’s also interesting to listen and contemplate the rhythm of a wave in motion. While similar to frequency in its capacity to measure aspects of time and amounts of sets and resets, rhythm also implies a shape and morphology, it is a force and an energy , and also has a state of reactivity. It is also is in constant dependence.

In Rhythm in Nature course and in our upcoming residency we examine a wave equation in motion and it’s capacity to calculate when the sounds of a rhythm in a wave will occur, in each part of the rhythm, and when it will reset in motion at any moment in the ocean. This is given with other known qualities that support the make up of body of a wave.

What does it tell us different than transcriptions and field recordings? Well, there are many musical ways to look and listen to a wave and great to have different perspectives when we understand the body of wave and the body of a rhythm in the wave.

I am always amazed how I find how much we are reflections of water and constantly playing it’s numerous rhythms connected to much larger energy in the ocean than we realize.

These rhythmic wave equations from the sea placed in music and sound never fall short of musical discovery and affirmation!

Testing sound in Lithohpones in Fantasy Canyon, from the Eocene period during my residency with the TANK Center for Sonic Arts 2022

Photo by Tessa Fuqua

A reflection on Geophony

Entering Fantasy Canyon last year was an extraordinary discovery in residency with the TANK Center for Sonic Arts , in which I was able to listen, play and record some 50 million year old lithophones. This type of study in the sound of stones opens up connections to how these rocks formed out of a former lake of water During the Eocene period in the Ute region and along the Uinta Mountains. I am excited to return and deeply honored to be in development for a recording and filming of a new environmental opera, a meditation , composed for and to be created in commission for the TANK inside its resonant space and amidst the outdoors environments of the canyons and lakes. Excited to be in collaboration with extraordinary artists which I will be speaking about very soon! This is something that emerged from the landscape and is dear to me, a meditative homage to my ancestors.

This residency was equally a deep connection to my rhythmic studies in natures habitats listening and studying grounds in the canyons that reveal pitched connections in stone, sand and former water , as well as nearbt canyons of the Jurassic period.

There are stories inside sonic stones and canyons and extraordinary of what it also tells us of connections of historic water through its sounds. It is also something we can listen to and begin to learn of the shifting geography and maps of these stonedripped canyons of lithophones.

The next time you pick up a stone or if you make a sound, it may be possible to begin to trace its sound back to its geophony that is another side of nature that you or I may not expect it to have originated at.

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