The idea for the series came about when playing in the mountains in La Sierra de Madrid with Paloma Carrasco (Cello) and Víctor Muñoz (percussion). After playing for a short time we quickly realized that there was something wrong, something didn’t feel right. We realized we were playing as if we were in a normal venue and we weren’t listening to or taking into consideration the envirnonment where we were, and not only did it feel wrong, it felt somehow disrespectful. Therefore the series began thinking about what music can you play on a mountain.
My intention for Space Music is to create environmental music for specific places and times.
In this instance Space Music refers to a music that is an exploration of a place through sound.
Space Music explores a place’s acoustic and it creates music that is inspired by its atmosphere/history. It works with the environmental sounds present by sometimes reinforcing them or enhancing them, and at other times blocking them out, but always taking into account their presence and existence. Space Music is an intervention that is considered and thoughtful and is respectful to the environment where it is.
Space Music will be played at different times and seasons to enable the performers and audience to experience the natural changing soundscapes of a place and to experience how sound reacts differently according to time, i.e. early morning or late at night or with different atmospheric conditions. The performances of these pieces are unique live events and different locations should be chosen for the different pieces within the Space Music series, e.g. a forest, a village square, a busy city centre street, a mountain, the bottom of the sea, a living room.
Space Music gives an opportunity to the performers and audience members to connect and ground them musically in the environment and to experience it in unaccustomed ways and above all to listen to it differently.
The pieces are for any number of instruments or any other sound making devices. Other pieces in the series take the form of private performances where no sounds are to be made and where only a framework is given for listening attentively to the environment.
Any Space Music from the series can be played at the same with any other one.
Below are some scores from the series. Clink on the links to see them.
Here is a page from the performance notes for Space Music 4.
Space Music 4 notes.
The composition is in 2 parts and its duration is indeterminate. It’s for
six performers, five performers playing musical instruments or other
sound producing objects and the sixth performer using electronic
devises which are capable to be able to make sound as well as record the
sounds of the performance. The first performance of the piece is a
private playing of it where a recording is made of the composition; here
the sixth performer’s role should be to record it as well as playing the
From the 2nd public performance onwards and for all the future
performances of the piece the previous recordings must be played back.
When to play back the recordings, how and in what form has to be
decided by the ensemble, the only criteria is that it should display the
spatial, acoustical qualities and soundscapes of the previous
Therefore these recordings demonstrate the different environments
where the piece was performed, the sounds that were present in the
moment and what the acoustic properties of the different spaces were
where it was played. They are a memory of the space where the
performance took place.
In Part One (Light) or Part Two (Dark) of the composition, whenever or
wherever it is performed only natural light must be used. Whether played
outside or inside the use of any electric or other artificial light producing
sources must not be used.
Part One of the composition begins with the performers playing from the
score and moving through the cues at will. They continue to do this as
we move from daylight to dusk and then to darkness. When there is
insufficient light to read the score they personally decide when to move
to the 2nd part of the composition. It is advisable to observe the
changing light situations beforehand of the environment where the
composition will be performed to calculate possible lengths for Part One.
Part Two (Dark) of the composition is a directed improvisation and the
three directions A, B or C of this must be memorized by the performers
beforehand. The sixth performer must be able to continue performing
and from the 2nd performance onwards, play back the recorded sound
into the space in complete darkness and without any light emitting from
the electronic devises.