Naini Tal – Part II

Naini Tal Part II – Joe Perkins Trombone : Brian Case

‘Naini Tal Part II’ is a re-imagining of my grandfather’s original orchestral work, ‘Naini Tal’ where he was stationed and which he composed after World War II in 1951. My re-imagining of this composition uses the original orchestral recording, as well as the addition of a trombone I recorded in various contrasting spaces and environments. I also recorded my father’s voice. Using a DAW I was able to merge the original recording with my own musical material to develop my own version of my grandfather’s composition. My grandfather was particularly inspired by the transformation of sound over water. Thus, his composition, whilst inspired by a particular setting and ‘space’ was also founded on his interpretation across the transforming distance of the water. In turn, my composition, whilst still rooted in this particular fleeting moment, has ‘travelled’ across time through my interpretation of my grandfather’s original work and the ways I have adapted it using compositional techniques described below.


I recorded trombone in four spaces. The first space was a dry room with no (noticeable) room ambience; this was used predominantly for what Edward Hall would call ‘personal space’[1], eliciting the most intimate sounding trombone parts. The second and third spaces were in a performance hall, where I recorded the trombone from a distance of roughly 4ft and separately 15ft for ‘proximate’ and ‘distal spaces’[2]. The fourth space was [1] HALL, Edward T. (1966). The Hidden Dimensions. Anchor Books. [2] ibid. a piano, with the microphone directed towards the strings; a long decay time with exaggerated partial frequencies that were articulated by the trombone. With this material, I constructed a sound library that exploited the harmonic series of the trombone. I derived many of my harmonic ideas from partial frequencies from spectral analyses of the trombone. Similarly, I used extended techniques (producing different partial frequencies) such as overtones, multiphonics, growls, and variations in amplitude (mp – ff ) as a way of structuring my composition, i.e. timbral/sound families. I recorded the 78rpm shellac from my father’s gramophone; as a result the microphone unintentionally picked up his voice whilst we were fixing the machine. I decided to keep the “OK.” sound as I felt it was fitting with the other ‘noise’ based sound families I had recorded with Trombone. These noise-based families create the sonic image of radio transmissions and airplanes; similar to what my grandfather, a paratrooper would have been familiar with during WW2, and a stark contrast to the tranquil melodies within ‘Naini Tal’. The voice brings about a sudden change in listening mode from reduced/causal to semantic[1], however the composition is predominantly composed for reduced listening. The sound of dust and scratches on the 78 recording, represents the effect of time on the original recording of ‘Naini Tal’ and simultaneously creates musical transformations; between what is commonly thought of as un-wanted sound which instead becomes an enhancing feature of the music; a prominent motif throughout the composition. I have a separate installation of this piece, where I installed a speaker inside a 78 gramophone in order to play my composition, whilst the locked ending to the original ‘Naini Tal’ was looped. [1] CHION, Michel (1994-2005). Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (In English, translated by Claudia Gorbman). New York: Columbia University Press. Bibliography   CHION, Michel (1994-2005). Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (In English, translated by Claudia Gorbman). New York: Columbia University Press.   HALL, Edward T. (1966). The Hidden Dimensions. Anchor Books.