Luigi Russolo

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Luigi Russolo

Luigi Russolo (April 30, 1885February 4, 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifestoes The Art of Noises (1913) and Musica Futurista.

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  • Beethoven and Wagner for many years wrung our hearts. But now we are sated with them and derive much greater pleasure from ideally combining the noise of streetcars, internal-combustion engines, automobiles, and bust crowds than from rehearsing, for example, the 'Eroica' or the 'Pastorale'...away! les ust be gone, since we shall not much longer succeed in restraining a desire to create a new musical realism by a generous distribution of sonorous blows and slaps, leaping numbly over violins, pianofortes, contrabasses, and groaning organs, Away!
    • Russolo (1954). p. 27. English trans. in Taruskin-Weiss 1984: 444.
  • Sound is defined as the result of a succession of regular and periodic vibrations. Noise is instead caused by motions that are irregular, as much in time as in intensity. 'A musical sensation,' says Helmholtz 'appears to the ear as a perfectly stable, uniform, and invariable sound.' But the quality of continuity that sound has with respect to noise, which seems instead fragmentary and irregular, is not an element sufficient to make a sharp distinction betweens sound and noise. We know that the production of sound requires not only that a body vibrate regularly but also thta these vibrations persist in the auditory nerve until the following vibration has arrived, so that the periodic vibrations blend to form a continous musical sound. At least sixteen vibrations per second are needed for this. Now, if I succeed in producing a noise with this speed. I will get a sound made up of the totality of so many noises--or better, noise whose successive repetitions will be sufficiently rapid to give a sensation of continuity like that of sound.
    • Russolo. English trans. Barclay Brown (1986: 37).
  • The variety of noises is infinite. If today, when we have perhaps a thousand different machines, we can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination.

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