Manual Divide and Rule (Lagan River, Black Mountain)

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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Adam Webb Cover Design. VOLUME 1: THE LONG SLIDE, is a vivid evocation of a bygone city of linen mills, tobacco factories, shipyards and liquor saloons, a meticilously detailed recreation of the destruction of a way of life, and an often witty, sometimes deeply moving, occasionally shocking account of how ordinary, decent people can be brutalised by prejudice and mutual suspicion.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Lagan River, Black Mountain , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Lagan River, Black Mountain. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Martin found the more linguistically specific definition of a syllable found on Wikipedia useful.

According to this definition, a syllable has three components: onset, nucleus and coda. The onset and coda are usually consonants or groups of consonants, and the nucleus a vowel or vowel sound. For example:. Where the letter appears twice in a syllable or in separate syllable, Cage does not say which instance to use.

If both instances of the letter satisfy the rules, then we used the first one first. Martin created a table with 14 columns which then grew to have as many rows as were mesostics generated by the instructions. The syllable index grew to a total of unique syllables. We are contemplating its potential for generating new texts.

If at the end of the book or a chapter of it a mesostic is not complete, leave it incomplete or complete it by returning to the first page of the book or chapter and continuing your search for words containing the necessary letters. Having completed the mesostics, identify each line by page and line of the original from which it came. Martin left the incomplete mesostics unfinished at the end of each chapter. Having decided not to complete the last mesostic, Martin decided that he should not start a new one if it was highly likely that it would not comprise more than a few rows. Where a mesostic was completed on the last or penultimate page of a chapter, a new one was not started in that chapter, but with the title of the following chapter.

Chapter titles were considered to be line 1 of the first page of each chapter. In the end, mesostics were created, with 26 incomplete mesostics at the end of chapters. This was an agonising, tedious, but in the end exhilarating process. At about mesostic Martin discovered that he had inadvertently used a couple of syllables twice. This provoked a thorough checking of his syllable index which uncovered a handful of mistaken words in need of correction, which involved returning to the text where the syllable was used the second time, and finding the next eligible word that did not use a syllable which had been previously used.

Lagan River, Black Mountain: Book 2: Divide and Rule

If this syllable was found in a word occurring before the next used word in the text, and it was not used later on, there were no further troubles. If not, a cascading series of revisions ensued, rippling down the mesostic in question and deep into the series of mesostics at the affected letters.

It was one thing to correct syllables not properly excluded, but another to ensure that words were not missed that should have been included earlier than they were eventually to be. In the end, we included human error in the grand strategy of chance determination. The strategy of keeping a syllable index more than doubled the time it took to find and record the next word in a mesostic.

Having made more than 80 mesostics in the first hundred pages of the book, it was not yet apparent when, or even if, the strategy would significantly shorten the text. It gradually became apparent that first the Y, and then the F, would give the desired result. The process produced mesostics drawn very unevenly from the text, with the lines THESTAR using words quite close to each other in the text, followed by increasingly lengthy gaps between R and F. Keeping an index of syllables using S proved quite early on to be pointless, because of all the unique syllables in pluralized words.

In contrast, the letter F proved to be relatively rare, and the words using an F which also have an A following that F were encountered and skipped over in a high percentage of instances. This search took on the form of a quest, and Martin foolishly began to think about half way through that all the Y syllables were used, so that the end of each chapter would be quickly reached, and the job thereby reduced. Martin only had a handful more to do, and became fascinated by the possibilities that remained. In our edition of the mesostics, we insert the page and line number of the first line of every mesostic, and also indicate at what row the mesostic moves to a new page.

We discovered eventually that this was not enough information to effectively follow subsequent instructions, as the reader will soon see. It is possible to stop here, having made mesostics with one word per line, with punctuation removed and all letters except the central column in lower case. At the same time, what appeared most beautiful, elegant, and fitting to us were mesostics produced by using as few additional words as possible.

The mesostics have an aesthetic value and meaning that is independent of the prose out of which they are lifted. Indeed, those from the first half of the book are often drawn from within a single paragraph.

Blackstaff River | Revolvy

By adding a few adjacent words, entire phrases, complete lists, and complete images from the text can be rendered in the mesostics. The later mesostics move farther away from the narrative of the text, and sometimes have their own enigmatic elegance. Another matter of taste involved with this adding of adjacent words was whether to treat each mesostic as a separate unit of meaning—as a separate poem—or whether to imagine units of meaning stretching across successive mesostics, beginning in the middle of one and finishing in the middle of another.

Occasionally, for example, the gap in the book between the occurrences of words might skip over paragraphs or pages of text, only to resume in a dense pattern of selection, marking the mesostics with clearly different batches of related vocabularies, with different potentials of meaning. The word belonging to the last Y of a mesostic was often much closer in the text to the bunch of words belonging to THESTAR of the next mesostic than to the previous R word. We were willing, within the confines of the mesostics of a particular chapter of the book, to occasionally redraw the boundaries between mesostics.

This has possible ramifications for the recitation of the text. We used only whole words that fitted. This instruction might be read to imply that the word containing the next letter of the row be allowed as part of the added words, if it were to fall within the limit. The mesostics have their own fluidity, but they also evoke the text in many elegant ways. While working on the piece we found many aesthetic resonances between Cage and Carson. Hitting one day upon Vol.

Ascertain its time-length. Subtract that from a total program length, and distribute the thus determined silence between large parts and chapters of parts and at the beginning and end of the tape. A first draft of the mesostics was complete in October , and Ciaran recorded a recital of the text the following month. After editing out some pauses taken by Ciaran to clarify the handwritten mesostics, we had a sound file of a recitation of the mesostics lasting one hour, 13 minutes and 45 seconds.

This was a pleasing result because, knowing that additional silence was required by the score, we would in the end have a piece near the typical concert length. It seemed appropriate to divide a ninety-minute piece into two parts to provide the audience with a short interval, with the first half slightly longer than the second. We then had one file of around 40 minutes of recitation and another file of around 33 minutes.

She also allocated 30 seconds to the beginning of the piece, so that some of the sounds see below would be heard before the speaking began. She therefore incorporated the 30 seconds she had set aside for the start into the breaks between chapters in the first half, so as to make available eight minutes of silence for the first half and seven and a half for the second. She chose to distribute the allocated time in equal parts after each chapter including the last one, which already had 45 seconds afterward.

Seven minutes and 30 seconds of silence were allocated to the second half, plus the 45 seconds of extra time at the end. Because recordings were made which were to be placed before the first word of the first mesostic of the Owenvarragh chapter, she was able to allocate 30 seconds at the start of the second half something we could not do at the beginning of the piece. She tacked on a further 30 seconds to the end. The remaining six minutes and 30 seconds were divided by 20, the number of chapters in the second half, allocating Once the above structure was conceived with its periods of silence between chapters, it was transferred to the timeline of Pro Tools.

The first chapter was positioned at time 0. This figure was rounded to the nearest whole second before the 35 seconds of silence was added. This rounding made the calculation easier and we presumed the combination of rounding down and rounding up would balance over time. In our case, of course, the two forms of the ruler were the printed mesostics on the one hand and the Pro Tools file on the other. At this point, the literary work of the realisation was complete, but the immense project of creating a circus of sound to accompany the mesostics had just begun.

If the list once made is unmanageably long, reduce in some chance-determined way, e. Any thing which cannot be moved easily was recognised as a place, like the Albert Clock p. We included real addresses, landmarks, cities and towns, and countries, even those that no longer exist but might still be visited Soviet Union, p. Our list includes every mention of a particular place, even though some places Belfast for example are mentioned many times. For any reader of this book, there will be some uncertainty about the actuality of some of the places mentioned. Often the first mention of a place did not give us enough information to identify it as such, though it may be corroborated as a place later in the text.

The places are very unevenly distributed throughout the book, with numerous places on some pages, and none on many others.

For pages with more than one place, she rolled dice to pick a line, using a sided and a 6-sided die. In the event that she did not find a place on the selected line, she chose the nearest place to that line.

Finding two places equidistant from the line, she rolled a die again to choose between them. There were no places on Page , the last page. She therefore rolled dice to select a page at random, and then rolled again for the line on that page. At the end of this process, the reduced list still included multiple mentions of the same place. Unique sound recordings were used for each instance of these. If the list once made is unmanageably long and baffling because of the large number and kind of sounds, establish families of sounds and extract from the whole list those related to certain of these.

To follow this instruction, we needed to decide what constitutes the mentioning of a sound. If the word has other significations in addition to a sound, then for it to qualify, the context of its use must directly signify a sound. But because the voice was disembodied in this way, it cannot be recognised in any way other than as a sound. These are references to accents which exist primarily through sound. To record the sound of a bottle of Lucozade being poured into a glass would have been a typical task.

But the description is visual, not sonic. The subject of silence recurs in the book. Is silence a sound? Do the mentions of the experience of silence in the book qualify as the mention of a sound? Practically, it would be difficult to record silence, and to make appropriate decisions about its duration. And in the context of the piece, we did not see how the audience would be able to appreciate the difference between recorded silences and, say, the sounds of a hard drive revolving, or the silences in the tape part where there were no recordings.

So we decided that only sounds that sound qualify. There were some intriguing exceptions. Many recordings captured generic, ambient sounds. On many occasions it was not possible to gain access to buildings, for example private houses, closed shops, or businesses not open to the public. Because so many outdoor recordings were forced upon us, she tried to balance this by making as many indoor recordings as possible, a task which was quite adventurous at times. The building was gone but these cobblestones now form part of the private back yards of a street of terraced houses in the city centre.

When a car came out of a gate, she ran in and was able to speak with locals about their memories of the original building. Recording the sounds was a different kind of adventure. This produced one of the most powerful recordings in the piece. This meant that we were able to feature historic recordings and sounds from the further away places our budget did not permit us to visit.

The recordings were therefore collected from a variety of sources, and in a variety of formats. What is your most iconic London sound? The collective nature of gathering the sounds necessarily produced a wide range of recording formats and quality. Those who contributed recordings had a wide range of experience and equipment, from professional sound engineers and artists with high quality microphones, to bemused friends who agreed to capture a place recording on their mobile phone.

We felt this variation in quality and character of the recordings added to the chance determinations and was in keeping with the ethos of the piece.


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Content was more important to us than quality, and we felt it was better to have a recording of lower quality than none at all. We aimed for 16 bit files with a sample rate of Where this was not possible, for example in many donated recordings, we asked for the highest quality available.

We felt this standard to be a good compromise between the limitations of some equipment and the standard required to take advantage of the high quality sound reproduction system we used in the Sonic Lab. This choice of bit depth and sample rate also resulted in a manageable amount of data for moving between studios the hundreds of sound files collated in one Pro Tools session.

Here the ramifications of not having followed instruction 2 completely by recording a page and line for each row of each mesostic are revealed. Our recordings were made digitally and could easily be transferred to Pro Tools software. The sound file, not the actual sound, was aligned with its place in the text. So for example the recording of a kettle beginning to whistle as its water comes to a boil begins when the heat is turned on under the kettle, not when the whistling starts.

Cage gave no instructions for dealing with sounds that occur on the pages of the book between the end of the last mesostic of a chapter and the beginning of the first mesostic of the next recall that the score gives instructions to insert periods of silence in the recitation at these divisions. Where to put these sounds? The collection of sound and place recordings was an on-going task and positioning was therefore done in stages as more were collected.

The recordings going in first constrained her freedom to arrange later sounds, as did the amount of silence remaining in particular segments after these earlier placements of recordings. We then confront the ramifications of the massive changes in recording technology since Cage wrote his score. Accompanying the process of positioning the sounds are a number of chance-determined decisions about a where those recordings should be positioned in the stereo field, b how long those recordings were, c how the start of each recording was to be presented in the final piece, d how loud they were, and e how the end of each recording was to be presented in the final piece.

With regard to a , we interpret this as a result of the final tape part being intended as a stereo production. Almost all the recordings were made in stereo, usually using a Zoom H4 portable stereo recorder. We decided to distribute the left and right channels of each recording randomly among all eight speakers of the ground level array, and then duplicate this on the ceiling level.

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If the speaker already had a sound file in it and there were free speakers in the ring, she did not send multiple sound files to each speaker, taking instead the free speaker which was closest in number to it. If there were two equally close, the dice were thrown again to decide which of those two to choose. The later chapters of the piece contained fewer mesostics, and so the number of simultaneous recordings increased as the piece went on. In exceptional cases, we decided that a particular sound in combination with others worked better projected only from above choral music recorded in a church, for example, which was positioned simultaneously with the sound of children in conversation.