Neolithic Orchestra

It is a current project of mine to remove as many culturally-based assumptions as possible about music and get in touch with the communicative propensity of sound in the most basic sense.

The maraca was originally considered to be the head of a super-natural creature -- not the symbol of the creature but the creature itself. The sounds of pebbles inside a hollow gourd created such an astonishing acoustic event to these folks that they were convinced that they had conjured or summoned a god!!

How would we approach, touch and play the violin if it was a living god? We are pummeled to numbness with music and terrific sounds of all sorts in a noisy world. I want to get back to the powerful raw communicative power of sound -- and I suspect also get back to the communal music-making of my early rock band days -- I'm not really sure -- but have an irresistible need to continue with this, like a moth drawn to light....

The Neolithic Orchestra comprises a group of like-minded explorers who get together semi-regularly to advance our knowledge of sound and sound-making. We are open to the expressive potential of all sounds and to all means of creating sounds, as well as bodily movement accompanying sound-making, the exploration of ritual, and celebration.

The origins of the word orchestra lie in the Greek word orcheisthai (to dance), and possibly, before that the Sanskrit word rghAyati (he rages, he trembles) — appropriate descriptors for the activities on the Neolithic Orchestra.

We welcome fellow adventurers. Feel free to email me if you would like to know more.

Currently (Spring 2007) the orchestra comprises the students in PSFA 430 — Indisciplinary Studies.

Joseph Waters, March 2007


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