Double Standard

Algorithmic Music 1 min. (Sonification Piece)
Julian Rohrhuber, 2007

This conceptual piece is constructed around the relation between two discrete structures: the structure of a mathematical object, the cantor set, and the structure of 60 seconds of a standard CD. The sonification of a cantor set can be realised as a series of events in time, where each event consists of two such events with a gap in between. Eventually, this sound is a self-similar sequence of pauses between infinitely short impulses: Nothing really happens.

The sampling rate of a CD constrains this sequence - the shortest possible duration is a single sample frame. Consequently, the longest possible cantor set that fits into 60 seconds lasts for a bit longer than 36.1 seconds. Historically, the 44.1 kHz sampling rate was decided by Sony's vice-president Norio Ohga who had the desire to fit the longest recording of Beethoven's Ninth's Symphony on a single CD. The fidelity of the cantor series on the other hand, is a transposition of the sampling rate to multiple octaves. To make this incommensurable measures audible, one instance of a cantor set is played on each stereo channel, one beginning at the end, the other starting at the beginning. What we hear is a canon of multiple standards.

double standard (aiff, 1 min)