DESERT SOUNDSCAPES

DARAT AL FUNUN | AMMAN, JORDAN | MAY - SEPTEMBER 2017

Desert Soundscapes is a research collaboration and exhibition with renowned Jordanian architect and artist Ammar Khammash. This litho-acoustic project uses desert flints to unearth a hidden order and undiscovered musical scales in the landscape of Jordan and Palestine. The project aims to reimagine the known musical scales to fit the frequencies emitted by the flint stones.

Following an analysis of the chromatic scale, Ammar and Basel designed an instrument that breaks from the 12-note/octave chromatic scale and is tuned to the frequencies of the desert. Basel constructed six such keyboards using steel and wood, deriving a unique mathematical equation for each piece’s tuning and programming them using the Ableton software and MakeyMakey device. Instead of following a traditional 12-note octave, each of the six keyboards consists of a range of 7 to 14 notes per octave.

Conclusions on the potential ability of the Jordanian desert flints to push the boundaries of known musical theory will take years of investigation. It will take keen and diligent observation to make sure not to miss some hidden order of sound composition, a natural mathematical order, dormant in millions of flints spread across vast areas of the desert.

Construction: