Binaural String Quartet (2013)

Following the aesthetic concept of Static Music, the Binaural String Quartet is a music composition for recorded sounds and stereo speakers. The sampled string quartet has been programmed to play endlessly each one of its movements so the listener can stop listening whenever he decides. The music duration is, therefore, ad infinitum.

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Binaural music has much been explored by music therapy and alternative medicine. When two different frequencies are presented separately to someone’s ears, a beating tone is perceived and may produce brainwave entrainment, in other words, it may stimulate the subject’s mind to a different state of consciousness.

The use of the binaural technique as an additional aesthetic element to a musical experience is relatively new. In addition, the binaural music in this Quartet is not simply created by two different notes, but with a binaural chord, where four notes are played simultaneously, creating a chord and at the same time having their frequencies modulated on the other speaker to produce the binaural effect.

In order to experience the binaural effect, listen with headphones.

Sonority Details

The first movement presents a binaural chord created by vertical Major Seconds. The difference between each single note from the left speaker to the right is of 2 Hz. This frequency range is the same as that of Delta Waves, which are waves that are associated with deep dreamless sleep and loss of body awareness.

The second movement presents a binaural chord created by vertical Perfect Fourths. The difference between each single note from the left speaker to the right is of 4 Hz. This frequency range is the same as that of Tetha Waves, which are waves that are associated with deep relaxation and meditation.

The third movement presents a binaural chord created by vertical Perfect Fifths. The difference between each single note from the left speaker to the right is of 8 Hz. This frequency range is the same as that of Alpha Waves, which are waves that are associated with relaxation (while awake), pre-sleep and dreams.

The fourth movement presents a binaural chord created by vertical Octaves. The difference between each single note from the left speaker to the right is of 16.523 Hz. A round number (16 Hz) was not chosen because the frequency 16.523 Hz allows a ‘tempered’ binaural frequency between the notes F2 and Ab2 on the cello, which creates a more common relationship. This frequency range is the same as that of Beta Waves, which are waves that are associated with active, busy or anxious thinking.

Production Date

The Binaural String Quartet was composed in October 2013 and was only released online for public experience in May 2014. It was premièred as an installation on the 25th of July 2014, in Static Music at The Gallery Liverpool.

Exhibition Prospect

The sound files for this composition are available for performance as an installation. See Static Music at The Gallery Liverpool.

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