(C) Frank Scherbaum
Volcanoes, Singing and Body Vibrations: from the sound of images to the images of sound
Lecture by Frank Scherbaum
For many years, Frank Scherbaum, geophysicist and hobby musicologist, has been working at the interface of seismology, musical acoustics and music science. In 1999, his collaboration with the composer Wolfgang Loos led to the CD Inner Earth (Kookoon) which exploits the sonic beauty of overtone rich signals in natural processes such as volcanic tremors. A turning point in his research interests occurred a couple of years ago, when he started to collaborate with the voice teacher Frank Kane, who uses body vibrations as means for teaching traditional Georgian polyphonic songs. This led to a still ongoing endeavor, in which he started to investigate the singing process from the perspective of a seismologist. In his lecture, Frank Scherbaum, will share the story of this „journey“ which led him from the study of the sound of images to the images of sound. He will illustrate the harmonic structure of sounds produced within the Earth, discuss what volcanoes have in common with the human voice, analyse the character of body vibrations during singing and demonstrate how they can be used to improve the documentation and analysis of oral tradition vocal music. He will also demonstrate how the analysis of body vibrations can help to shed light on a long standing ethnomusicological riddle regarding the tuning of traditional Georgian vocal music.