3 questions

The questions:
1. What are your impressions of Score for a Hole in the Ground?
2. Do you think that this is music?
3. If you could say one thing to Jem, what would it be?

The answers:
1. It’s quite hard with all these people here today to get a full impression, but the sounds are really fantastic and I think that it’s going to be a really lasting piece of musical sculpture.
2. Yes, because I believe that music is anything that is deliberate sounds that we want to be music, and it was sculpted to be music, and so it is.
3. Make the amplification louder.

1. Well, I loved the idea of it, but I would have liked to have heard more. I used one of those bamboo tubes, but of course I would have loved to have experienced it naturally, but I believe that with the amount of people here it’s not really possible.
2. Because I haven’t heard it more naturally, I can’t say. I have a feeling that if I did, I would say yes, but I would like to hear it more naturally. The concept is music, because it’s sounds and the putting together of sounds.
3. Well I’ve already more or less said it, but well done – what a brilliant idea.

1. Didn’t hear as much as I’d like to. Yeah it was great. Very well produced, I’d like to come back when I can hear it and there’s not several hundred people around, but you can’t complain because at least lots of people have come, and that’s the most important thing really.
2. I think it veers more towards art than music; sound art, so that can be music as well. So I think yes and no.
3. Well done.

1. I think it was very interesting. Because I’ve never heard things from the ground before. It sounded like Indian music, like lots of bells.
2. It’s definitely music.
3. I love your sculpture and it’s very interesting and I’ve never tried it before.

1. It was like a flower. Sounded like rain clouds, like an elephant, and everyone thought it would be like raindrops.
2. It was music, but I thought it wasn’t music.
3. Don’t know.

1. I think it’s an amazing structure, and this is the first time that I’ve seen it so it’s kind of completely inappropriate to listen to it, and I look forward to spending some time with it, on my own. There was too much noise to listen properly. Having seen the shortlist for the PRSF award, I thought it was the right choice completely. I’m very happy that it’s in these woods. The structure is perfect for these woods, so that’s really successful. I think it’s really important that it isn’t louder than it is. I think that if it was at all dominating in the landscape then it wouldn’t work. For me, I try to spend a lot of time in these woods recording, and tuned in to how they sound and I think it’s a successful piece and the dew pond is also quite beautiful.
2. Yes, of course it is music.
3. Good work.

1. It is surprising to find such an installation in the middle of such a big wood. I really liked the fact that the music was very tuneful, that was the most surprising thing to me. And, with the bamboo poles, it changed in accordance to which pole you had, and that was something to do with the different diameters. And it was so tuneful, and I just think that it’s wonderful – it’s a very British thing to do, to have such a fantastic installation in the middle of a wood in Kent, and have all these hundreds of people turn out – families, couples, old people, young people, and it’s just a lovely, lovely experience, and so lucky with the weather.
2. Oh yes, it was definitely music.
3. Congratulations, he’s done something. There’s something kind of very egalitarian about things here – it’s something that’s been funded, through various different sources as I understand. Often people disagree with funding for arts and installations, especially when it’s something crackers, like bricks. But this has been accessible to so many people – it’s been a real fun day out.

1. It is very beautiful, sculptural piece of work. Visually very strong, and very sympathetic to the natural environment it is set in as well. I suppose it’s because it’s quite a dull metal that it almost resembles the bark of the trees that it’s set in. Having read about the piece beforehand, I was aware that there was some sort of chamber which the sound was being amplified naturally through and it sounded like water, and I was trying to figure out how it was operated and how it was working. And that wasn’t immediately apparent, which was interesting in itself, from a mechanical point of view trying to figure out how the piece was constructed and how it works. I was happy not to know how it worked, I think that makes it more interesting.
2. Yes, it is music. Because it has been created in such a way that it’s a construct of sounds, albeit one in which the natural environment obviously interfaces with the construction of the instrument that it plays through, and it sounded lovely as well.
3. Big is good – big things is good.

1. I think within a broader frame of what music can be, yes I do think it is music. It’s not a structured score; so far I haven’t really heard anything I can whistle. I think it is nearer to sound than music, but for me personally I think that music should include sound anyway.
2. It sounds a little bit like rain on a corrugated roof, or when you are in a tent, but I think the thing that is unusual about it is that it’s not simply what you actually hear with your ears as a lot of it is about your knowledge of what is actually in the piece or how the sound is made, and actually as you approach it through the forest. You can hear things like people, but you can actually hear birds and dogs and children. When you approach and listen to the bamboo tubes you can hear the sound. And as you move away from it because you now know what the sound is like you can kind of recognise it, and it’s almost as if your ears can hold onto the sound, or hold on to recognising it, because you’ve heard it much more closely. And I think that it makes you aware of how many things you’re ignoring all the time. Visually, it’s like this brown very slender tree, and it blends in very well to the forest. It’s a bit of surprise when you actually see it, and as you walk away of course, now I know what it is. The same as if you move away from the sound, I can still hear it because I’ve heard it close up and I can recognise it. For me it focuses your mind and your ears quite a lot on what you’re normally not hearing, or what you’re actually cutting out or not perceiving. That’s what I like about it.

1. Yes. I suppose I do think that it’s music. It stretches my perception of what music is, but it certainly sound that has rhythms and all sorts of other variations to it. It’s musical.
2. Well at the moment, because there are so many people here it’s very difficult to distinguish the sound of the percussion of people talking and the percussion of the work itself. When you’re listening you’ve almost got the sound itself from the musical work in one ear, and the murmur. At the moment it has quite a theatrical feel to it because you’ve almost got an audience, that kind of bubble of audience, and then you have the percussive sounds of the instrument itself, almost warming up. Obviously, when it’s silent in the forest and you can hear it on its own, it will sound very different.
If I had to give a metaphor it sounds like breaking pottery very very far away.
I heard it through the bamboo pipes and it sounded really strange, almost human. I expected to hear a “drip, drip, drip” and it was quite unexpected.
I kept thinking “what’s that sound coming from Jem’s musical piece?!” It makes you much more aware of the sounds that you’re hearing and trying to try and identify the sounds of the forest, which in itself is a very interesting element to have within an environment like this because it attunes you to the sound of the environment in a way that nothing else quite does.
It’s typically off the wall, imaginative and crazy. I wish parents would shut their kids up though.
I disagree – I think in a place like this kids should shout all they want.
I’m assuming it’s a permanent piece so people are going to be coming across it and hopefully hearing something and going to find out about it, and I was wondering if there was going to be anywhere to sit, because it’s actually quite a contemplative piece of work. It’s the sort of piece of work that if you just walk past and hear a couple of sounds, it’s not going to give you very much. But if you linger, then you’re likely to get more out of it. Just wondering if there’s any plans in the longer term.
Has anybody played with it, as it were – other instruments? An ensemble piece. A jazz band. It’s a very influential piece of music. Concerto for a Score for a Hole in the Ground. We look forward to the next concert. You could bring a cellist there, the potential is amazing. And you could call it “Silent Audience”!
Is it being recorded at all over time? I bet the sound will change, and it will be hard to remember well enough to hear the difference over time.
When I heard it on the Today Programme, even though I knew what it was, I still pictured people playing it – as a fairly incidental piece of percussion.

1. Oh, I definitely think it is music.
2. It sounds absolutely sublime, and trance-like. As someone who works in art and nature and environmental art, this is simply perfect.