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Year:  1999   ·  Duration:  7m

Year:  1999
Duration:  7m

John Young

Composer:   John Young


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'Sju' is based on the variable pronunciation of this Swedish word. There are two very distinct pronunciations of 'sju', one strictly 'correct', another more 'colloquial', but also a few shades in between. These distinctions provided me with interesting material, since the difference is mainly one of the initial brief noise component of the word, and even then, the articulations of different people generated a large range of subtly varied noise contours. In shaping the piece I used as a basic model the transition of this noise into pitch (the vowel component), especially the idea of pitched resonances forming a relatively static underpinning of texture, but prone to drift towards new sound shapes. While visiting Sweden in 1998, two of the people I worked with enjoyed using 'sju' as a kind of light-hearted Swedish competency test for anglophones, since there is no real equivalent sound in English. My indifferent performance in that test, and my fascination with the bewitching nature of the sounds led me to try and capture and play with them! Dedicated to everyone at EMS Stockholm, with special thanks to Inger, G'ran, Paulina and her class, Perikles and Fivos. 'Sju' was composed in the Electroacoustic music Studios, Victoria University of Wellington and premiered by BEAST, Birmingham, 4 February 2000. It was selected for the finals of the ARTS XXI competition, Valencia, Spain.

Dedication note

Everyone at EMS Stockholm

Contents note

Based on single word in Swedish First Performance February 2000, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK performers BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre).