|'Rendering that scaffolding dangerous'|
“We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds and their generation. We have harmonies which you have not, of quarter-sounds, and lesser slides of sounds; divers instruments of musick likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have, with bells and rings that are dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and deep, likewise great sounds extenuate and sharp. We make divers tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their original are entire. We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters, and the voices and notes of beasts and birds. We have certain helps, which set to the ear, do further the hearing greatly. We have also divers strange and artificial echos reflecting the voice many times, and as it were tossing it, and some that give back the voice louder than it came, some shriller, and some deeper, yea, some rendring the voice differing in the letters or articulate sound from that they receive. We have all means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes in strange lines and distances.”
A previous posting (here) touched upon some visual clues as to how Francis Bacon may have designed his Sound House if he had been tasked with realising one.
The "we have also sound-houses" passage has come to be quoted as a foresightful envisioning of electronic sound treatments. Yet the majority of modern electronic works invariably pivot on trickeries and deceptions of the ear - keeping the listener 'in the dark' as to the nature of sound sources and treatments. (Also, Bacon's words conjure to mind a mechanical acoustic endeavour with contrivances similar to those imagined by his inventor contemporaries Salomon de Caus or Cornelis Drebbel.) Allying Bacon's Sound Houses with electronic sound technique seems incongruous when Bacon later writes a few paragraphs later:
“And surely, you will easily believe that we that have so many things truly natural, which induce admiration, could in a world of particulars deceive the senses, if we would disguise those things, and labour to make them more miraculous: But we do hate all impostures and lies insomuch, as we have severely forbidden it to all our fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not shew any natural work or thing adorned or swelling, but only pure as it is, and without all affectations of strangeness.”
|John Reid: Pyramid Sound-Houses?|
Miraculous agitations in our acoustic environment - as I've written elsewhere - indicate the possibility of real-world sound rivalling electronic sound in terms of tonal complexity and delineation. It is a question of engineering. The miraculous agitation assemblies eventually come to resemble 'houses' - or 'garages' - stressed with the addition of perilously piled Jenga-like miscellany. An 'electromechnical Baconian dolls soundhouse garage'. With all property so dismally unaffordable, I would like to live in one of these... cohabiting with Cliff Richard's proverbial 'Living Doll' - a husk of hope. ("Take a look at her hair, it's real / And if you don't believe what I say, just feel / I'm gonna lock her up in a trunk / So no big hunk can steal her away from me" [?!])