TDDE 131 Week 2: Cage Score and Time Series Data



[Assignment Critique]
[The Cage Model]
[Performing Variations II]
[Astronomical Data]




Pre-class reading:

6-6:15 Name re-warmup

6:15-7:30: Critique of Assignments

Suggestions on critique

  • idea is to make each other do better work, not knock down, so be specific
  • observation is a clear method – “this is what I saw….”
  • “I” statements not “you” statements
  • it’s about the work and not about you
  • you will learn to crave critique – it’s a growth process

Group 1: Adrian & Melisa

  • reading text (“the giving tree”) with varying movement and volume, the latter determined by measuring the density of leaves in 2 step x 2 step squares along a chosen path – generated random timeframes and directions
  • aisha & tasha inferred different physics phenomena
  • use of physical space – leaving blank stage is an interesting choice (whether purposeful or not); think about choice in how you decided to move
  • synchronization brought focus to differences
  • observation that the lack of pattern or discernable shape changed expectation, frustration to not figure out – imposing structure, patterns where they are not intended
  • challenges: was text central to the piece? makes sense immediately, but could you think about universal texts that are beyond childhood; or could you choose random word generator as at some point (the content was less important than the “music”)
  • we often want to interpret, understand, figure out the why of a piece, when we should consider observing our reaction

Group 2: Aisha, Duy & Elliot

  • simulation of the interior of a dying massive star – iron core, helium layer, hydrogen atmosphere; rotating motion expressed sphericity of object
  • started by defining terms of movement by color coding temperature (scientists like to define!) – this is nice to have, but not always necessary
  • OK to explain things? exposition can sometimes be critical – a little context can make a piece brilliant
  • playful illustration of a complex phenomena
  • whistling – represents a quiescent star “just hanging out”
  • redo done without the clothes and materials (adriana suggestion) – much easier to see relationships, rhythm, posture
  • OK to make these kinds of changes; that “stuff” is part of the process to getting to the performance
  • what was the measurement? really a model, important to trust situations in which we have actual information (focus of the course!)
  • embrace at end was sweet and beautiful

Group 3: Adriana, Ryan &  Tasha

  • a “card game” where words are thrown out, everyone plays the card they are most attuned to, and then are scored based on a preset scorecard
  • what was measurement?  generated random words and decided on rank order of basic colors to associate with – order was determined by discussion and consensus – “measurement by negotiation” – by end, the order “really made sense, I’m really dedicated to it”
  • will you overturn your associations to improve score? will competition overwhelm personal preference?
  • what if there were 100,000 words & 60 colors?   what if color sheet not given but score is?
  • was this a performance? interactive, playful, competitive, high pressure
  • was this a social experiment? could it be a social experiment?
  • creating data and collecting data seems to be what this piece is about
  • Challenge: how could you make this an aesthetic exercise? this is a layer that should be considered

7:30-7:45: The Cage Model (Michael)

Some background:

  • Cage was famous for several things: percussion, prepared piano, no sound piece (4:33)
  • worked by “chance operations” – “random” but with preset forms and rules
  • art is not as conservative as music – bach cannot live if bach is not played, but rembrandt will still live if we don’t paint rembrandt
  • “aleatory music” – choices are made by chance operations
  • sound experience by removing taste as part of the process
  • Cage was not an improviser

7:45-8:15 Lab:  Perform Variations II (Michael)

Variations II: score is available at library

  • composers still lay on structure and context, not audience
  • variations II is not something you’d listen to on the radio – something to be performed or be in the performance
  • pre-”determined” charts – loudness, position, tone

Audio files are stored at

8:15-8:50 Astronomical data and time series (Adam)

some astroporn:

666px-Eagle_Nebula_4xHubble_WikiSky 1919_eclipse_negativeBenjamin_Zuckerman_HR_8799_planets_image_Dec._2010 bullet_cluster_c60w Eagle_nebula_pillars hs-2001-23-a-large_web hs-2003-23-a-web_print

hs-2005-37-a-large_web hs-2010-13-a-large_web
Lowell_Mars_Map_2 Pale_Blue_Dot Saturn_eclipsech04_fig4_17

slides are at


  • a lot of processing goes into making a beautiful image – example of raw data
  • powerful, important images need not be photographic – Galileo’s drawings of Juptier’s moons; Lowell’s sketches of canals on Mars
  • powerful images need not be processed; see Sander van der berg’s compilation of Saturn images from Voyager data
  • almost all astronomy is about light (exceptions: neutrinos, cosmic rays, eventually gravitational radiation)

Primary types of astronomical data:

  • Images
  • Time series data (brightness vs. time)
  • Spectral data (brightness vs. wavelength)
  • Mapping

Time series data

  • what is the data?  time, brightness, uncertainty
  • “brightness” – energy / time / area (flux) – magnitudes
  • occurs on different scales: millisecond pulsars, solar variations that take centuries, things that have never occurred in human history
  • examples: helioseismology, planets around other stars – transits and microlensing

Some image/data resources:

  • Astronomy picture of the day:
  • Hubble gallery:
  • IRSA catalog generation:
  • Kepler data archive:

ASSIGNMENT for next week:

Working together in pairs, watch William Wegman’s “Two Dogs & Ball” (1972); from this 2-1/2 minute film, create a time series dataset in a spreadsheet, recording time and at least two measured variables.  You should have at least 30 datapoints, which you will compile in a google spreadsheet and share with Adam (aburgasser AT by Tuesday night.

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