Risveglio di una Città by Luigi Russolo

Luigi Russolo is a Futuristic painter who was also regarded as one of the first noise-music experimental composers who wanted to open our ears to the noise of the modern age. He envisioned noise-music to be a future replacement of traditional melodic music and so he designed and constructed multiple noise generating devices.

He argues that traditional orchestral instruments and compositions are no longer capable of representing and capturing the spirit of modern day life, with it’s energy, speed and noise. He found enjoyment in the combination of noises of trams, backfiring motors, carriages and bawling crowds as opposed to traditional musical sounds.

Risveglio di una Citta is made up of arsenal of noises which evoke the sounds of urban sirens and factory whistles creating a new music of noise. Unlike the usual sounds of traditional melodic instruments heard in a piece of music, Russolo created orchestrations concocting of urban sounds, factory whistles, spinning wheels and engines which are based on the sounds of grinding, exploding, crackling and buzzing of mechanical instruments. These instruments were unfortunately destroyed during Paris bombing in WW1, although plans of construction survived.

What is important about his work is the discovery of new-music and being recognised for it. He wanted to able to differentiate sound and noise, to break out of the limited circle of sounds and explore the infinite variety of noise-sound. When Russolo had his first public performance, the audience found it absurd and even mocked him, but now it changes our perspective of listening.

Russolo has inspired many other experimentalists such as Pierre Schaeffer.

References

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