Artaud: Musical Instruments

Posted: March 27, 2018 in Uncategorized


They will be used for their qualities as objects and as part of the set. Also, the need to act directly and profoundly upon the sensibility through the sense organs invites research, from the point of view of sound, into qualities and vibrations of sounds to which we are absolutely unaccustomed, qualities which contemporary musical instruments do not possess and which compel us to revive ancient and forgotten instruments or to create new ones. They also compel research, beyond the domain of music, into instruments and devices which, because they are made from special combinations or new alloys of metals, can achieve a new diapason of the octave and produce intolerable or ear-shattering sounds or noise.

The Theater of Cruelty

The idea of a play created directly on stage, by encountering the obstacles of production and of the stage, compels the discovery of a language that is active, active and anarchic, in which the habitual boundaries of feelings and words are abandoned.

A theater that subordinates mise en scéne and production–that is, everything that is specifically theatrical–to the script is a theater for idiots, madmen, perverts, grammarians, grocers, anti-poets, and positivists, in short, a theater for Westerners.

Mise en Scéne and Metaphysics

THE PUBLIC: First of all, this theater must exist.
[i.e., The public be damned!]

–Antonin Artaud

  1. Ben Battistone says:

    This is interesting to me because I played in my school orchestra in high school and can kind of see what Artaud means. I had a friend who used a black carbon fiber violin instead of the usual wood kind. It sounded a little different and was definitely a lot louder than the usual violin but I think the cool part was the visual effect of having it contrast all the other instruments. The appearance is really important to how the audience perceives the sound. I have also played and heard electric classical instruments, which are often used for completely different pieces than the conventional cellos or violins. There are tons of possibilities for different styles of classical instruments than haven’t been made.

    • Artaud is certainly interested in exploring previously impossible timbres, though the use of novel materials. Of greatest interest to him though would have been the development of the electric violins you mention. Not only do they sound different, but they can be extremely frkn loud. Loud enough to impact not just a listener’s ear, but their entire body. Have a listen to my friends in SubRosa, who are currently killing it on the international heavy metal circuit.

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