Javier Alejandro Garavaglia


Arte Poética (Stanzas III to VII) for quadrophonic tape (1996)

Genre: Acousmatic Music

Duration: 13:00 minutes


This is the third and last piece of a cycle that I have composed between 1994 and 1996, based on the poem Arte Poética by Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges. As in the former pieces of the cycle, the purpose is to describe musically the meaning of the poem, which contains the essence of Borges philosophy. The main difference between this piece and the other first two is that this time all of the five last stanzas of the poem are put together, without any division between them, sometimes one after the other, sometimes simultaneously.


Some materials and processes are taken from the earlier two pieces and varied here, always following the text of the poem. The most important material however, which had the most important part also in the first two pieces, remains to be the human voice, which is treated in almost every sound of the piece in several and different ways, from a very rapid and easy recognition of the words, to combinations with sample-and-hold, FM, AM, filters, transpositions, mutation, convolution and granular processes.


All of the DSP processes were made using Csound and SoundHack. The final quadrophonic master was mixed with ProTools at ICEM, Folkwang Hochschule Essen in Germany.


The following text is a free translation of the stanzas III to VII of the poem Arte Poética from the original Spanish:


To see a symbol in the day or in the year,

About the days of man and about his years,

Converting the ignominy of the years

in a music, in a rumor and in a symbol.


To see in the death a dream, in the twilight

A sad gold, so is the poetry

Which is immortal and poor. Poetry

Comes back as the dawn and the twilight.


Sometimes in the afternoons a face

Looks at us from the bottom of a mirror;

Art must be like this mirror

which reveals our own face.


Some tell that Ulysses, tired of wonders,

cried with love as he saw his Ithaca

Green and poor. The Art is this Ithaca

of green eternity, not of wonders.


It is also like the infinite river

That flows and remains and is a crystal of the

same inconstant Heraclites, who is the same,

And also another, like the infinite river.


Quadrophonic distribution (according to the typical German clockwise distribution)