Sound Installation for Cultural Tunes

Those walking by the Carpenter Center Thursday afternoon might have heard what sounded like music coming from the roof of the building.

The music is a part of “Unreal Memories,” a sonic installation by Hans Tutschku on the Carpenter Center’s roof.

The piece does not look like much—three objects, scattered, comprise the space. The installation’s substance comes from the sounds that come from those objects, which emit the singing voices of people from across cultures, transformed and combined by Tutschku.

Tutschku, a music professor and director of the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition, composed the piece in honor of the 50th anniversary of the building. Harvard constructed the Carpenter Center in 1963 for the visual and environmental studies department.

Tutschku envisioned the piece as an homage to Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, the architect of the Carpenter Center.

“Electric ringing sounds will be composed and emitted once, twice, three times a day, at fixed times, emission of a formidable nature of softness and of power,” wrote Jeanneret, who is better known as Le Corbusier, in a note in 1960.

Inspired by these words, Hans Tutschku sought to transform the roof into “a place of imagined harmony.”

The installation will play three times a day and run through May of next year.

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