Before Sound

Horsley, Joshua Robert orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0089-5150 (2018) Before Sound. [Image]

[thumbnail of Version of Record]
Image (JPEG) (Version of Record) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


018 / Screenprint / 0.9 x 24 metre

Before Sound is a development from my previous work Day Born. Electroacoustic, new, experimental music, and sound art practices seem to resolve any distinctions between music and sound but I've never been quite convinced. Music always felt like something in time and sound in space. I could point to a kind of perception, listening or an intentional engagement as a way of understanding a separation but I can listen to sound both as and as not music, but not music without intentional and unintentional sound.

Day Born is impossible. None of the chord's pitches oscillate quickly enough to exist between 0'00" and Planck Time. Through music notation, I was trying to find some way of fracturing music from sound. Whilst presenting my idea, the impossibility of Day Born as either music or sound seemed to lessen the point.

Before Sound uses music notation and Planck Time, but instead it depicts the pitch that does oscillate quickly enough to exist within the same time period. Between G# and A, 466 ledger lines above the stave, the pitch is too high to hear and conditions for the pitch existing as anything audible or sonic are non-existent. Without or before sound there is still a musical idea.

Produced in collaboration with Magda Stawarska-Beavan for Lubaina Himid's Into a Better Shape.

Repository Staff Only: item control page