Chords in our surroundings

Concept: During a two-week period, I chose to record various public spaces and events near and on the University of Denver campus. The majority of the places I recorded included some physical activity or labor. I pulled sound elements from each of the spaces and analyzed notes that were produced. Then, I examined the various notes and determined common pitches that were prevalent in these spaces. This assessment allowed me to determine chords created by public sounds. Most of the spaces consisted of a variation of a G chord.

Recorded Locations and Chords:
– Alley (recorded multiple times)*
– Auto shop (G6 chord)
– Construction site (Gmmaj7)
– Gallery construction*
– Basketball Game*
– Weight room (Gm6 chord)
– Lacrosse Game (Dadd9 chord)
– Appliances (refrigerator, air conditioner)*

Analysis: View slides (2.5MB) and sketches (480KB)

Conclusion: The examination showed that most public places consisted of similar pitches and similar chord forms. The note G was common in almost all recorded areas. (Please view attached documents for detailed graphs). However, after deciphering chords that could be made with variations of notes found within each recording, D was the common thread within each chord (notes G, B, A sharp, D, E, and F sharp created the chords from various locations). Prior to analyzing the recorded data, I assumed that there was a larger range of sharp, flat and dissonant notes in all public spaces but was proved otherwise.

Final composition: The segments of recorded audio were placed in a single recording in a way that the pitch could be discernable. When played sequentially with the common chord played on the piano, the audience can recognize pitch variations within the public recordings.

Listen: Example of typical noises that I “weed out” to find chords: gallery_examplesounds.wav (sounds from a gallery show tear-down)
Gm6 chord created from Gym audio recordings: Gym_Gm6chord.wav
Dadd9 chord created from a LaCross game recordings: Lacross_Dadd9.wav

* Undetermined chord: The areas either had too little or too much information to determine a chord form.

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