We must enlarge and enrich more and more the domain of musical sounds. Our sensibility requires it. In fact it can be noticed that all contemporary composers of genius tend to stress the most complex dissonances. Moving away from pure sound, they nearly reach noise-sound. This need and this tendency can be totally realized only through the joining and substituting of noises to and for musical sounds.
We must replace the limited variety of timbres of orchestral instruments by the infinite variety of timbres of noises obtained through special mechanisms.
The musician’s sensibility, once he is rid of facile, traditional rhythms, will find in the domain of noises the means of development and renewal, an easy task, since each noise offers us the union of the most diverse rhythms as well as its dominant one.
Each noise possesses among its irregular vibrations a predominant basic pitch. This will make it easy to obtain, while building instruments meant to produce this sound, a very wide variety of pitches, half-pitches and quarter-pitches. This variety of pitches will not deprive each noise of its characteristic timbre but, rather, increase its range.
The technical difficulties presented by the construction of these instruments are not grave. As soon as we will have found the mechanical principle which produces a certain noise, we will be able to graduate its pitch according to the laws of acoustics. For instance, if the instrument employs a rotating movement, we will speed it up or slow it down. When not dealing with a rotating instrument we will increase or decrease the size or the tension of the sound-making parts.1 - We must enlarge and enrich more and more the domain of musical sounds. Our sensibility requires it. In fact it can be noticed that all contemporary composers of genius tend to stress the most complex dissonances. Moving away from pure sound, they nearly reach noise-sound. This need and this tendency can be totally realized only through the joining and substituting of noises to and for musical sounds.
This new orchestra will produce the most complex and newest sonic emotions, not through a succession of imitative noises reproducing life, but rather through a fantastic association of these varied sounds. For this reason, every instrument must make possible the changing of pitches through a built-in, larger or smaller resonator or other extension.
The variety of noises is infinite. We certainly possess nowadays over a thousand different machines, among whose thousand different noises we can distinguish. With the endless multiplication of machinery, one day we will be able to distinguish among ten, twenty or thirty thousand different noises. We will not have to imitate these noises but rather to combine them according to our artistic fantasy.
We invite all the truly gifted and bold young musicians to analyze all noises so as to understand their different composing rhythms, their main and their secondary pitches. Comparing these noise sounds to other sounds they will realize how the latter are more varied than the former. Thus the comprehension, the taste, and the passion for noises will be developed. Our expanded sensibility will gain futurist ears as it already has futurist eyes. In a few years, the engines of our industrial cities will be skillfully tuned so that every factory is turned into an intoxicating orchestra of noises.
My dear Pratella, I submit to your futurist genius these new ideas, and I invite you to discuss them with me. I am not a musician, so that I have no acoustic preferences, nor works to defend.
I am a futurist painter who projects on a profoundly loved art his will to renew everything. This is why, bolder than the bolder professional musician, totally unpreoccupied with my apparent incompetence, knowing that audacity gives all prerogatives and all possibilities, I have conceived the renovation of music through the Art of Noise.
Milano, March 11, 1913.