David Tudor is without question one of the premier figures in the performance of new music since the middle of this century. As a pianist, Tudor gave highly acclaimed first performances of works by contemporary composers Pierre Boulez, Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Stephan Wolpe, and La Monte Young, among others. As a composer, Tudor chose specific electronic components and their interconnections to define both composition and performance drawing upon resources that were both flexible and complex. (http://davidtudor.org/About/about.html)
This composition uses sounds derived from the resonant characteristics of physical materials. This is the First version (1968), which is a sound-score for Merce Cunningham’s dance work of the same name. This established a means of sound transformations without the use of electronic modulation: the source sounds, when transmitted through the physical materials, will be modified by the resonant nodes of those materials.
The objects that the sounds are sent through are very large so that they have their own presence in space. I mean, they actually sound locally in the space where they are hanging as well as being supplemented by a loudspeaker system. The idea is that if you send sound through materials, the resonant nodes of the materials are released and those can be picked up by contact microphones or phono cartridges and those have a different kind of sound than the object does when you listen to it very close where it’s hanging. It becomes like a reflection and it makes, I thought, quite a harmonious and beautiful atmosphere, because wherever you move in the room, you have reminiscences of something you have heard at some other point in the space.
This is an image of a “Tudor” box and schematics for the electronics behind the first version of Rainforest. His alterations were usually the result of a great deal of experimentaion in which diagrams and sketches were used in the conceptual stage as well as for documenting his work.