This alternate version of Bourdon is tuned to 50Hz. When one is asked to spontaneously hum a note, the pitch tends to match the utility frequency, or mains hum, because this frequency is integrated into our perceptual habits. In North America and parts of Asia, this frequency is 60Hz, while in the majority of the rest of the world it is 50Hz. Bourdon—meaning drone and derived from French for bumblebee and buzz—invites the audience to tune their individual embodiment of this ubiquitous tone by softly humming along as they listen. Bourdon offers space for contemplation and regeneration with an otherwise unwelcome frequency.
Melissa Grey and I developed this alternate version for a performance with Saman Samadi as part of Hans Tammen's production of the complete Cornerlius Cardew Treatise.