Ethan Hayden | composer, performer, author
Ethan Hayden | composer, performer, researcher
Hayden Sketch 01
Hayden Sketch 02
Hayden Sketch 03
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Hayden Sketch 05

Ethan Hayden
"…ce dangereux supplément…" and Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers: Two musical examinations of language and translation

A dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
June 2016

This project consists of two vocal compositions, each of which situate examinations of linguistic elements in musical contexts. The first, "…ce dangereux supplément…", for solo voice with optional electronics and video, consists of three phonetic sound poems which act out a rehearsal of the Derridean supplement in an attempt to locate a broader definition of 'text-setting'. The second, Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, for six voices, is a multi-movement setting of the Walter Benjamin essay of the same title. Rather than setting the text directly, a variety of techniques have been utilized to set Benjamin's words while also realizing the philosopher's approach to translation theory in musical structures. The full dissertation may be downloaded here, while individual sections (including multimedia elements) are highlighted below.
Part One: "…ce dangereux supplément…"
The work's three-part graphic/concrete score.
A detailed explanation of the piece, it's relation to Derridean theory and approach to text-setting, and a close analysis of its phonetic material.
The software used to run the piece's electronics and animated projections (requires Max or Max Runtime).
Studio recording of the piece, synced to animations. [While the work can exist as standalone video piece, it is often played live with animations projected behind performer. Images from such a performance can be seen here and here (photos from E-Poetry 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina).]
Part Two: Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers
The work's full score.
Syntax Trees
Three sentences from the original German essay underwent syntactic analysis, generating tree diagrams. These were then 'translated' into new structures reflecting the parameters of two different languages (English & Japanese) with new trees generated for each. These were then mapped onto musical structures in several of the piece's movements. [Analysis and trees by Zach Wellstood & Tianyi Xie].
Homophonic Translation
A translation of the tenth paragraph of Benjamin's essay, in which the sound of the original German is rendered into a near-homophonic English equivalent. This translation provides a portion of the text set in the final piece.
Defense Presentation
A collection of slides illustrating the concept, formal structure, and composition techniques employed in the creation of Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers.
Recordings of three of the piece's movements. N. 1 (score page 1) performed by Matthew Chamberlain & Translations in May 2016.
N. 7 (score pg. 32) and N. 8 (pg. 39) performed by Nicholas Isherwood & Vox Nova Italia in Dec. 2015.