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Label: Lovely Music
Genre: Sound Art
**Legendary sound installation for audio oscillator and electronic monochord** First released on Lovely Music in 1980. A 50-foot length of taut wire passes through the poles of a large magnet and is driven by an oscillator; the vibrations of the wire are miked at either end, amplified and broadcast in stereo. The thin wire is set vibrating four times at four different frequencies; what results is not the low drone one might expect from a long, vibrating wire, but a complexity of evocative, ethereal chords. First released on Lovely Music in 1980, Music on a Long Thin Wire is a classic example of Alvin Lucier's investigations into the physics of sound and the sonic properties of natural processes.
It is constructed as follows: the wire is extended across a large room, clamped to tables at both ends. The ends of the wire are connected to the loudspeaker terminals of a power amplifier placed under one of the tables. A sine wave oscillator is connected to the amplifier. A magnet straddles the wire at one end. Wooden bridges are inserted under the wire at both ends to which contact microphones are imbedded, routed to a stereo sound system. The microphones pick up the vibrations that the wire imparts to the bridges and are sent through the playback system. By varying the frequency and loudness of the oscillator, a rich variety of slides, frequency shifts, audible beats and other sonic phenomena may be produced.