There were several other pieces in the "City Links" series, though many details are not yet known. A common feature was the use of telephone lines to connect the sound environments of different sites into the same space, a very early example of what is now called "telematic performance" and preceded much more famous examples of this by Max Neuhaus and others. Amacher's installations combined sculpture and layers of loud sound and low, resonating tones. Her major pieces have almost exclusively been site specific, often using many loudspeakers to create what she called "structure borne sound", which is a differentiation with "airborne sound", the paradox intentional. By using many diffuse sound sources (either not in the space or speakers facing at the walls or floors) she would create the psychoacoustic illusions of sound shapes/"precense".
Amacher's early work is best represented in the three series of multimedia installations produced in the United States, Europe, and Japan: the sonic telepresence series, "CITY LINKS" 1-22 (1967- ); the architecturally staged "MUSIC FOR SOUND JOINED ROOMS" (1980- ) and the "MINI-SOUND SERIES" (1985- ) a new multimedia form which she created, that is unique in its use of architecture and serialized narrative. She worked extensively with the physiological (not psychoacoustic) phenomenon called otoacoustic emission, in which the ears themselves act as sound generating devices. Amacher composed several "ear dances" designed to stimulate clear "third" tones coming from the listener's ears. The subtitle of her first Tzadik Records album Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear) references these "ear tones". "When played at the right sound level, which is quite high and exciting, the tones in this music will cause your ears to act as neurophonic instruments that emit sounds that will seem to be issuing directly from your head ... (my audiences) discover they are producing a tonal dimension of the music which interacts melodically, rhythmically, and spatially with the tones in the room.
Tones 'dance' in the immediate space of their body, around them like a sonic wrap, cascade inside ears, and out to space in front of their eyes ... Do not be alarmed! Your ears are not behaving strange or being damaged! ... these virtual tones are a natural and very real physical aspect of auditory perception, similar to the fusing of two images resulting in a third three dimensional image in binocular perception ... I want to release this music which is produced by the listener ..." Over the years she received several major commissions in the United States and Europe with occasional work in Asia and Central and South America.
In 1998 she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. In 2005, she was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica (the Golden Nica) in the "Digital Musics" category for her project "TEO! A sonic sculpture". At the time of her death she had been working three years on a 40 channel piece commissioned by The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy NY. She never held a full-time job after being a typist in the early 1960s and lived simply in Kingston, NY until her death. For the last decade of her life she taught at the Bard College MFA program. Notes 1.
Allan Kozinn, Maryanne Amacher, 71, Visceral Composer, Dies, Obituary, The New York Times, 2009 Oct. 28. 2. Note, while most sources state Amacher's birth year as 1938, she had in later years used the birth year 1943. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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