Jonatan Sersam – “Pareidolia”


Jonatan Sersam – “Pareidolia” (2018)
for viola d’amore

Written for Marco Fusi

Premiered in November 2018 at Inter Arts Center, Malmö (Sweden) as part of “That Damn Borderline. Sound art, improvisation, composition and the stuff in between”.



«For my piece, I chose two research fields to dive into. I wanted use music’s own internal processes both as analytic tools and as ground material.

One idea I immediately found interesting about the concept of this project (swimming in the lake between sound art and western art music), was how theories on art perception could interfere and constitute fundaments of composition. In the study of visual perception, such as in Rudolf Arnheim’s classic “Art and Visual Perception”, theories are presented on how we perceive shapes and patterns and how identifying a familiar object really functions. An important phenomenon in this field is Pareidolia, where perception creates an object or a “gestalt”, based on very vague or random information. The common example is a face, which appears as soon as we see the form of a circle. We seem inclined to create a familiar entity from sparse material, filling in the gaps in our minds. In my piece, I’ve con- sciously used simple forms, intentionally imitating recognizable everyday sounds, such as speech, this way opening up gaps for the perception to fill. Simple musical “gestalts” are presented, which then change in a number of ways.

This brings me to my second starting point. I let these forms work their way from musical gesture towards tangible, unrefined (and undefined) sound. I feel that a musically designed gesture creates a certain atmosphere around itself, distancing it from its source and elevating from the physical action from which it origins. While tangible sound, such as noise, is somehow.»

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