The app-score serves three function: it generates a score for musicians to interpret, it serves as a basic sound generating instrument, consisting of sine waves and pulses, and it creates a visual text environment for an audience.
The score itself has two modes. The first is a ‘reading’ mode, in which the player scrolls through a dictionary of sorts - an ‘oneirocriticon’, a dream manual from the 11th Century. The players can navigate through this text, word for word, controlling the speed by moving their finger on the screen. In this mode each word appears one by one, in the order that it appears in the Oneirocritocon of Daniel . Phrases such as the following appear:
To dream of oneself beheaded signifies getting rid of great oppression.
Taking off one’s clothes is good for sick people, but bad for all others.
A thistle plant sprouting up points to a rising-up of one’s enemies.
A bear noiselessly approaching you signifies grief and dishonour.
Receiving a kiss from a dead person signifies life.
In the second, performance mode, the letters of randomly selected words from this text, appear one by one, superimposed on each successive word, letter by letter. The letters of the words are assigned to specific notes, based on a fixed mapping created using a letter frequency analysis, so that the more common letters such as E, A or T are mapped to more consonant pitch relations, least common letters such as Z, Q, or X are mapped to more dissonant or distant pitch relations. Once running the score can generate a near infinite combination of letter super-positions and permutations.
There is an open cryptographic approach in this piece to how the text and pitch information come across to the musicians and audience, there are semantic relationships formed between what we are reading and hearing, because they are slow enough to follow note per letter; what kind of meaning that engenders is of course ambiguous and subjective. This ambiguity of meaning is a concept that resonates with the subject of the piece. The culture of dream manuals arose out of a desire to give fixed, unambiguous meaning to what has been one of the mysteries of human consciousness, to give signification to something that seems to be communicating to us, in the language of personal, emotive imagery.
These Oneirocricita, books or records that offer the reader an interpretation of their dreams through the methodical description of key images, have a highly unambiguous ascription of meaning. The motivation behind the piece lies in taking this sense of authoritative and ultimate interpretation and opening it up to the ambiguity of meaning that an encoding into music brings. Both text and musical narrative is deconstructed into half formed words and phrases, that in a collective reading/performance would interlink into something that seems to be loaded with meaning but where in fact that meaning is almost random, evasive and constantly modulating; perhaps just like dreams.
Oneiricon was composed for Ensemble MAZE and first performed at the Angelica Festival Bologna, May 2014. The original version of the score was created on the Processing platform by Yannis Kyriakides. The app version was developed by Andrea
Vogrig and Darien Brito.
Instructions on how to perform the piece can be found in the app itself and at http://www.kyriakides.com/oneiricon.html
Fixes for orientation on some devices
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.