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Sat, 29 Oct



Where Words Fail, Alexander Graham Bell's Speaking Harp

A live lecture for voice, piano and electronic treatments by Dan Scott and Cathy Lucas.

Where Words Fail, Alexander Graham Bell's Speaking Harp
Where Words Fail, Alexander Graham Bell's Speaking Harp

Time & Location

29 Oct 2022, 18:00 – 19:00

Margate, 31-33 High St, Margate CT9 1DX, UK

About the Event

Where Words Fail Alexander Graham Bell's Speaking Harp; a live lecture for voice, piano and electronic treatments.

Two years before submitting his telephone patent in 1876, Alexander Bell imagined a curious and quite different speech transmission machine. The speaking harp was made up of thousands of steel reeds fixed across a transmitter and a receiver that analysed and synthesised speech using musical tones. Cathy Lucas and Dan Scott tell this story of imagined voice synthesis using the sounds of the nineteenth-century acoustics laboratory. Just as sung vowels, tuning forks, organ tones and resonating strings spilled into the world of speech science, Cathy and Dan let their illustrative sounds diffuse impressionistically into music.

Dan Scott

Dan Scott is an artist, musician, an associate lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Canterbury Christchurch University and tutor on The Margate School's Eurpean Fine Art Masters & Sound Arts programmes. Dan has a background in music and anthropology and his work explores socially-engaged approaches to sound and listening, methodologies for listening as an artistic practice within participatory settings, and histories of sound technology. He creates compositions, events and performances that explore sound's cultural and material resonances.

Cathy Lucas

For this event, Cathy Lucas is wearing her PhD hat. Based in UCL’s STS, her research looks at instruments and techniques for electric tone production in the nineteenth century in various domains of science and technology and their connections to music. Cathy has also been active on London’s experimental scene for more than a decade, chiefly as band leader in art-pop group Vanishing Twin and founding member of minimal music collective School of Hypnosis.

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