Liam Byrne: Partials

Partials, a sonic illustration of musical notes in their most elemental state, is a new site-specific sound installation by musician and former V&A Artist in Residence Liam Byrne.

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
  • Friday, 30 June – Tuesday, 4 July 2017

  • The Sainsbury Gallery

  • Free event

Liam Byrne: Partials photo

All sound is caused by vibration, and any sound that has a specific tone is caused by a primary vibration at a regular frequency, combined with a series of secondary vibrations at higher frequencies called overtones. These overtones and the balance between them are what give each sound its unique colour and character; they're what makes the difference between the sound of a clarinet and a fire engine.

In creating this sound installation, viol player Liam Byrne has deconstructed the overtone series of his instrument, rearranged the frequencies, and spread them around the room as both an exploration of the gallery's acoustics and as a way of 'tuning' this new exhibition space in preparation for future sounds.

Partials sits in conversation with Simon Heijdens's Shade, exploring how the sonic spectrum changes and evolves throughout the day, as does the light.

Part of REVEAL, a week-long festival celebrating the Museum's architecture, heritage and history.