Ping and Pong

Maggi Payne

Ping and Pong

  • Maggi Payne
  • Year of composition: 2003
  • Duration: 60:00
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Ping and Pong originated out of a call from Chris Cutler for his Out of the Blue Radio project, which was broadcast daily from 23:30-00:00 London time on Resonance FM, 104.4 FM from July 1, 2002 to July 1, 2003. In this call he asked for an unedited real-time location recording recorded anywhere in the world between 23:30-00:00 GMT, which was 3:30-4:00 PM when I recorded these works on 12/13/02 and 12/14/02. I had planned to record something very northern Californian such as the redwood forest, but the only time I had available to do this project was during a time when it was raining non-stop, making it impossible to record the subtle sounds of the forest. I opted instead to put a galvanized steel pail on my front porch and let it fill with rainwater. I tossed in my two hydrophones and turned on my DAT machine at precisely 3:30 and turned it off at 4:00. In this recording there are many layers of activity, including some very sharp high frequency sizzling sounds as the raindrops struck the surface, combined with the deeper tuned resonances of the pail as the larger droplets hit the edges of the pail and others drove deeper below the surface. Aside from these layers, the rhythmic interplay is of main interest. It was still raining the following day, so I inverted the pail and placed two condensor air mics inside the pail and recorded the sound of the raindrops hitting the bottom of the pail, resulting in a more consistent, but still nuanced sound with rhythmic variability. The resonant frequencies of the pail are more exaggerated in this version, and one hears some sounds of the environment processed through this Helmholtz resonator (the pail) as well.

[source: maggipayne.com]