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Recording the chiming of the clocks at RAMM

Clocking up awards

7 November 2017

The sounds of RAMM’s chiming clocks have won the prestigious Platinum Koestler Award 2017. Nicholas won his second platinum award with Inside the Moment.
Co-produced by music technician Matthew Smith, the work is based on research on the passage of time: “time within the confines of Her Majesty’s pleasure, within the human consciousness, within the moment, inside and outside, physically, mentally, the past, the present, the future”.

Inside the Moment

The winning recording is made of sounds gathered from within the confines of a medium secure unit. These are combined with Nick’s recordings of early 19th-century longcase clocks at RAMM and of the largest bell at Exeter cathedral.
The score consists of nine movements (moments). Each movement is 90 seconds long, based upon the medieval sundial’s period for a moment. Each movement is divided into five-second slots and each slot is filled with snapshots of sound, based on ideas of time. The sounds were chosen by the rolling of a nine-sided dice.

Inspiration

Inside the Moment uses the composition techniques of Iannis Xenakis and John Cage’s acceptance that all sonic events can be recognised as musical happenings. It reflects on the apparent unchanging nature of time and the constant variations which are experienced.

Koestler Awards

The Koestler Awards were set up by Arthur Koestler (1905 –1983) in 1962 following his involvement in the successful campaign to abolish capital punishment.

Moment (time)

A moment (momentum) was a medieval unit of time. The movement of a shadow on a sundial covered 40 moments in a solar hour. An hour in this case means one twelfth of the period between sunrise and sunset. The length of a solar hour depended on the length of the day, which in turn varied with the season, so the length of a moment in modern seconds was not fixed, but on average, a moment corresponds to 90 seconds. A day was divided into 24 hours of both equal and unequal lengths, the former being called natural or equinoctial, and the latter artificial. The hour was divided into four puncta (quarter-hours), ten minuta, or 40 momenta.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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