When composing electronic music, I have been captivated by the sonic possibilities Musique concrète, as first developed in the 1950s by French composer Pierre Schaefer (1910-1995). I enjoy its approach to distorting natural sounds in order to create something new. Estudio de Borinquen serves as a digital representation of Musique concrete by experimenting with the sounds of the Puerto Rican cuatro (a folkloric stringed instrument).
In collecting original sound samples for this piece, I recorded myself playing chords and long notes on the cuatro.Using multiple software programs (ProTools 11, Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch Algorithm, ACID Music Studio, and Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0), I created a set of slow variations on the line, “La tierra de Borinquen…” from the song “La Borinqueña” (1868), which eventually became the Puerto Rican national anthem in the 1970s. I, then, pulled from sound samples that I had collected while visiting Puerto Rico in the summer of 2014: mainly, coqui frogs and wind gusts from the beaches. By distorting these sounds, I have attempted to create a soundscape that would predict what the cuatro might sound like in the Future off in Space.