Unbroken surrounding sound distorts all other sounds present: changeable tone-full sounds, sometimes high, sometimes low in tone, shrill long lasting resounding sound pulses and deep low outbursts.
All of this has little influence on the rhythmic series of clear, very short, strictly delineated little sound pulses.
The presence of this harsh series gradually becomes more pronounced.
Occasionally, the little pulses sound so sharp and are so clearly audible that another sound can be heard preceding each pulse. At its highpoint, the tempo starts to decline.
They now sound less clear and weaker and partially merge into the diminishing movements of fine sound elements. Then the series stops.
Very different sounds now break the silence: stable, long held, full, pure sounds in which the tone varies, without the sound itself being interrupted as a result.
The different tones are clearly delineated and do not sound at the same time.
Although their sound level is slight, these sounds have a strikingly clear presence due to their harsh sequence of pure, even tones.
After a few successive changes of pitch, the sound stops.
All other sounds are heard irregularly.
The shrill sound pulses still succeed each other varying tempo.
At the same moment, short-lasting sounds in a slow rhythm are heard, so high and thin that they are barely audible.
from the book "Toine Horvers, Chartres, one hour of sound in a Gothic cathedral", Onomatopee Eindhoven, NL 2013, translated by Simon Benson
In the introduction to his book Toine Horvers writes,
"As an artist I work with spoken and written language in performances, drawings and books.
My material consists of the results of observations of situations and processes which I see or hear occurring in reality.
On a weekday in 1999, from a fixed point inside Chartres cathedral, I made an hour long sound recording. The recording formed part of my sound installation Silence Gothique for the exhibition Gothische Reflexies in Stadsgalerij Heerlen NL.
At the time of recording, no organized religious activity was taking place. The building was being visited by tourists and groups of believers who were talking, praying or singing.
In 2010 I began to translate this universe of sounds into words and sentences, without stating the source of the sound or referring to the physical space of the cathedral.
In order to be able to approach sound as autonomous energy, I further stripped my language of the styles and tools which are often used in describing sound: sound imitating words, words derived from seeing, words conveying human feelings, poetic/expressive phrases, technical sound- and musical terms, similes and metaphors.
Wherever possible, I replaced words of Latin or French origins with words that I felt were more descriptive in nature.
All these restrictions and interventions were important in my attempt to come closer to the fundamental nature of both language and sound through listening and writing."
More about the work of Toine Horvers
Information about the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
SOUNDBAG is an internet project by Rolf Langebartels. A collection of items relating to Sound Art and Audio Art. Contributions are welcome. Please send them to the email address below.
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