Sunday, 14 November 2010

Water Whistle

University of California Press Release, January 21, 1972

"If you have an ear for music, and don't mind filling it with water, the "Water Whistle" Concert at the University of California, San Diego Natatorium (swimming pool) is the place for you.

Proper attire for San Diego County's first swim-in concert to be held from 7 p.m. to I a.m., Wednesday, January 26, will be bathing suits, since the music can only be heard underwater. Composer of the "Water Whistle" is Max Neuhaus.

Floating on one's back with ears submerged was found to be the easiest and most aesthetic way to listen to the music. Water is pumped through a main hose strung the length of the pool into each of eight smaller hoses extending from it. A dime-store metal whistle, surrounded by a plastic funnel to focus the sound, is attached to each of the smaller hoses. Music is produced by the force of the water through the whistles.

The eight different frequencies produced fuse together to form the musical tone which remains steady in intensity even to the edge of the pool but gets louder as one ascends to the surface of the water. Variations occur through the shifting of the aim of each whistle as it slowly twists from the pressure of the water through the hoses.

Neuhaus, 32, began his career as an avant-garde percussionist touring the country in the early 1960's with French composer-conductor Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, German composer who has done much work in the fic.1d of electronic music. Neuhaus has given many solo recitals. His time most recently has been spent touring the country with the "Water Whistle" which has been considered very successful."

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