Mnemonics III (by Pauline Oliveros)

About the Piece

Rather than cut and splice small pieces of tape together to make a composition I chose to work in real time.

I used two tape machines with the tape running across both machines to make a delay system. I used two or more oscillators at high frequencies to produce difference tones. These tones would also interact with the bias frequencies of the tape recorders.

I would play the oscillators into the tape recorders improvising my way through the piece. My system of composing in this manner was my own invention.

About The Composer

Pauline Oliveros is a senior figure in contemporary American music. Her career spans fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. In the ’50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets gathered together in San Francisco.

She has been as interested in finding new sounds as in finding new uses for old ones –her primary instrument is the accordion, an unexpected visitor perhaps to musical cutting edge!

Deep Listening

Pauline is the founder of “Deep Listening”, which comes from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics.

She describes Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds.


Music excerpt courtesy of Important Records.

The full work, and others by Pauline, are available here.

Imagaes courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College.