Phase Shift a la TUDOR


David Tudor, of course, had his own thoughts on the use of phase shift. Typically, phase shift in performance is the use of a piece of equipment (Phase Shifter or Phaser) that shifts the phase of a signal according to a carrier wave, usually a sine wave, to ceate a very 1970's sounding sweep of harmonics within the original signal. Tudor used this typical type of phase shift from time to time but, as usual, the carrier wave was to rigid for him; he wanted more control.

David designed and built a vast number of phase shifting devices over the years. Many of these were switchable devices. By this I mean that he could switch between different degrees of phase shift (e.g. 90, 180, 270, or 360 degrees out of phase). This created a change in phase that was stationary and did not impose the predictable characteristic of the sine (carrier) wave.

One of Tudor's more rewarding uses of phase shift was within a feedback path. He found that applying these priciples of phase shift in this way produced very unpredictable results. His piece Toneburst is a great example of this kind of sound.

One of David's most fundamental uses of phase shift was that which occors within the acoustic environment as he changes the position of his sound. By using multiple speaker set-ups (i.e. 8+) as he did, Tudor could create phase shifts within the space by moving the sound around from channel to channel.

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For more information contact: John D.S. Adams (info@davidtudor.org)