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Signifying Something is an interview and new music program hosted by Steve Flato. Its aim is to explore sounds that surprise us, challenge expectations, and lead us to question the definition of music itself. Each episode, a featured artist will present a unique piece of their work as the center of a conversation that touches on the piece's context, the creative process, and the artist’s goals and intentions.

Mar 29, 2017

(In my work) there’s this sort of underlying belief or tenet that whatever sound we’re hearing probably has a lot more going on with it than we’re either aware of or are giving it credit for.” - Sarah Hennies

 

Today’s episode is all about identity and understanding yourself through your own creations. Sarah Hennies joins us and premiers the piece “Pressure”, which is created entirely from one piece of percussion: the hi-hat. By varying the pressure of the foot pedal on the hi-hat, Sarah changes the quality of the sound and the various tones that are emitted. Different speeds on the metronome are set and multi-tracked, and the results are presented as they were recorded. The result is a cascade of overlapping percussion sounds that can be felt physically in the body.

 

Sarah discusses how a piece like “Pressure”, which is one of the first recorded examples of her composed music, gave her clues about herself. At one time, it seemed like a good idea to use this approach in her music. She came back to the idea of music that can be “felt” later in life, and realized she touched on it with “Pressure” at a previous time. Looking back with renewed clarity, Sarah was able to gain insights about herself at that time in her life and use this to create a more refined work. At another point, Sarah decided that physically demanding, labor intensive performances were going to be her focus. What does that say about her? There was a reason she came up her ideas at a specific time in her life. Sarah saw inadvertent signs in her music, and now she uses these signs and layers of meaning purposefully as tools in her compositional process.

 

Sarah Hennies website

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