Pelayo Arrizabalaga (2013 – 2014)

3Q6A8032DolphyColtrane is, as the title suggests, based on the music of the two jazz saxophone players Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane, more precisely on the transcription of two solos, overlaid in a spatial and colour-coded painted score.
The original artwork by painter and musician Pelayo Arrizabalaga measures 1 x approximately 4.5 meters and was painted with acrylic on paper.

The adaptation of this long linear painting to the circular, interactive space of the immersive lab makes the ‘score’ immediately playable by touch. It becomes accessible to a general audience giving them an musical as well as visual experience.

The colours on the ‘score’ correspond to the twelve chromatic tones, and are arranged in a harmonic cycle, where the tonal relationships, for example the dominant jump from G to C results in going from carmine red to vermillion red and chromatic neighbourhoods result in large colour jumps almost to the complementary colour, for example carmine red for C jumps to turquoise blue for C#.

The colours are sonified using standard piano sounds, thus establishing a somewhat neutral sound-space, where the relationships between the colours and their spatial structures result in consonances and dissonances sounding across the circular sound space. The resulting music doesn’t reflect the jazz idiom, but is closer to the geometric abstract visual language that the painting conveys as well. Since the notes are produced by the visitors touching the colours, there is not one piece to be played, but rather a musical space to be explored that carries traces of structure given by the painting, but performed by the audience.

Dolphy-Coltrane by Pelayo Fernandez Arrizabalaga, filmed at ICST in 2014.

Artist Interview with Pelayo Fernandez Arrizabalaga, where he talks about the piece’s origins, making, results and other aspects of working in the immersive lab (in Spanish).