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Mungo Thomson

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Mungo Thomson, Composition for Marimba, 2016

Composition for Marimba is based on Thomson’s premise that one can write a score for a 52-key marimba by shuffling a deck of cards. The marimba is commonly used as background music in pharmaceutical commercials, political campaign ads and movie trailers, for his warm and “human” sound; Composition for Marimba proposes the marimba as an endless, oceanic aural backdrop for an exhibition. An iPhone app plays every configuration of a shuffled deck of cards as a new sequence of notes on a marimba, displaying each card onscreen. Given that the number of possible arrangements in a deck of cards is an "astronomically large number", the program will not run through all the possible combinations of musical notes during the lifespan of planet earth. The visual reference to Robert Filliou’s piece Telepathic Music No. 5 is important as well as the filiation with John Cage; Mungo Thomson plays with Cage’s notions of an open-ended and chance-based score and associates them with the logic of computers and automation.

Mungo Thomson
Composition for Marimba, 2016
iOS app, iPhone 6 Plus Custom music stand in chromed brass
Duration variable
Edition 2/5

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