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was established in 2001 to present the best of international
contemporary music and to support the exploration of new methods in
concerts by premier artists in the world of creative music. In
addition, Nameless Sound artists work directly with students from
Houston’s public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters.
Nameless Sound’s educational work helps to nurture a new generation of
artists and inspire tomorrow’s creative thinkers.
Arnold Dreyblatt (Kiel, Germany) - prepared contrabass, magnetically vibrating wires, sine waves, MRI loops
An interest in the physical characteristics of vibrations led Arnold Dreyblatt from video art to sound installation, and then to instrument building and music composition.
As a young New York City artist in the 1970’s, Dreyblatt was witness to
a fertile environment for the merging of experimental visual arts and
experimental music. Artists and composers were occupying the same
venues, influencing each others’ work and venturing into
interdisciplinary projects that sometimes blurred the lines between
mediums. And though many current critics and curators make efforts to
distinguish it as something different than music, experimental
composers laid much of the groundwork of what is now called “sound
art”. These composers included Pauline Oliveros, LaMonte Young and
Alvin Lucier, all of who became Dreyblatt’s teachers as his work
evolved from the visual to the sonic.
It was a concert of Lucier’s that sparked an important epiphany about
the nature of sound waves, and how they touch and can be perceived.
Dreyblatt realized that "musicians were really just comparing
frequencies in their heads and that instrument builders had preserved
this knowledge which was no longer conscious for musicians." This
understanding of frequencies (as opposed to “pitch,” a code of musical
language) opened up the world of sound for him. "I had been made keenly
aware of the relationship between slow frequencies of sound waves and
those really high bandwidths of the electromagnetic spectrum. What was
important for me was that it was all about waves. So I was hooked, and
dived into sound, and eventually music."
In the late 1974, he abandoned his work with electronic images and
began making electro-acoustic sound installations instead. "But my
interest slowly developed in the direction of a more traditional model
of music performance. I had acquired an elementary level of training in
Western and various non-western musics in the search for a language
which would be useful to me in realizing my ideas. I looked to a
physical description of sound, a definition in acoustic terms."
In 1978, installation work evolved into the construction and
modification of string instruments, with an interest in isolating their
overtones in order to make them more audible. His ongoing project, The
Orchestra of Excited Strings was formed, and the music that emerged
would become a part of what came to be known as “the second wave of
Since the early 1980’s, Dreyblatt has resided in Germany. He is
currently Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and
Design in Kiel. He continues to work as both a composer and visual
His program in Houston will include three compositions, employing acoustic, amplified and electronic sources:
Nodal Excitation (1979) - for amplified acoustic contrabass prepared with music wire.
In the late 1970’s, Dreyblatt began developing a modified double bass
prepared with unwound music wire, in order to excite its higher
overtones. Over time, he developed a repertoire of isolated percussive
and bowed attacks, which evolved into a continuous rhythmic technique
in which he could excite chords of overtones above the fundamental
frequency. This technique is a combination of bowing and striking, in
which a short portion of the bow is brought into contact with the
string in a forward and backward motion.
Repertoire (2017) - for amplified acoustic contrabass prepared with music wire, magnetically vibrating wires and sine waves.
This is a new composition for “excited strings” bass and laptop. Bowed
open strings and harmonics are performed against the resonance of
magnetically vibrating wires and tuned sine waves in a multi-layered
textured drone composition.
Magnetom (2017) - live performance with MRI Loops.
the second live performance work Dreyblatt has created from a palette
of acoustic signals and patterns derived from a recording project
involving a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner (specifically, the
Siemens Magnetom Symphony Maestro Class) in the Martin-Luther-Hospital
in Berlin, Germany. Dreyblatt understands this device as a giant Tesla
coil, in which the alignment and resonances of a powerful magnetic
field are gradually altered by rotating radio frequencies. Under
Dreyblatt’s direction, Siemens technicians operated the machine
especially for these recordings, searching for software settings
generating a desired sonic output rather than as an apparatus for
scanning particular body areas, as this machine is normally used. The
audio segments were analyzed, deconstructed and grouped as by pitch,
rhythm and density. For the resulting composition, these files have
been combined and fused; yet they have not been digitally treated or
altered in any way. The recordings were originally utilized as the
acoustic element of the audio-visual installation “Turntable History”
which was installed at the Singuhr Gallery in Berlin in 2009.
for more information on Arnold Dreyblatt: