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Alvin Lucier
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Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier (born May 14, 1931) is an American composer of music and sound installations exploring acoustic phenomena, especially resonance, as well as a former member of the Sonic Arts Union along with Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma.

Lucier was born in Nashua, New Hampshire and studied at Yale and Brandeis University and spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship.

His pieces include Music On A Long Thin Wire in which all music is produced by one amplified string and a magnet, Crossings, in which tones played across a steadily rising sine wave produce interference beats, Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas in which the interference tones between sine waves create "troughs" and "valleys" of sound and silence, Music For Solo Performer, the first piece to use brain waves to produce sound, and Clocker, which uses biofeedback and reverberation.

One of Lucier's best known works is I am sitting in a room, in which Lucier records himself narrating a text, and then plays the recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have a characteristic resonance (eg. different between a large hall and a small room), the effect is that certain frequencies are emphasised as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself. The recited text describes this process in action - it begins "I am sitting in a room, different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice...".

Lucier had also specified that this performance may not follow his text, and the performance may be recorded in any room.

Lucier's composition students include Nicolas Collins, Ron Kuivila, Arnold Dreyblatt, Daniel James Wolf, and Mladen Milosevic.

External links

Listening