Since the beginning of the 20th century
The Shoebox model has been considered the standard of concert hall design,
by placing an orchestra directly in the front, face-to-face with the audience.
Nowadays halls are designed in a horseshoe shape, with curved walls that reflect sound to reach ears from both sides.
but older conductors still swear by sound traveling in one direction, as the most sonically pleasing.
that it is disturbing to hear sound coming from a direction different than the one you’re looking at
That my black body is a fetish on stage but an exiled prayer off it
85% of sensory perception is taken in through our eyes.
When architects are designing the seating arrangements
They determine an intimate physical relationship is important
to create visual connections between the audience and the orchestra.
The ability to see the faces of the performers and the emotions expressed upon them can influence how we perceive their performance.
which is to say, if a black body falls on stage,
and everyone was there to see it, did they still hear it?
which is to say, a black body is born a sought after performer,
and each day is spent trying to convince you
the skin and screams are emanating from the same body.
in a closed concert hall, sound reverberates for a period of time
after the source has stopped emitting sound.
A place with long reverberation is called a live environment.
When sound dies out quickly, it is a dead environment.
which is to say
this land is the most live and dead environment at the same time
which is to say, my black body performs the loudest when it is dead
The wooden stage is designed to act as an instrument itself
Having a large pocket of air beneath that vibrates
from contact with heavy instruments, and reflects it back into space.
And the cheapest seats in the top gallery receive the best acoustics
As they are on the receiving end of all reverberated sound, traveling from the stage
Up the supports through strategically placed wooden posts that direct sound to the suspended floorboards beneath your feet
Which is to say, a black death is only loud if it’s not infront but beneath you.
On the day of a large symphony,
musicians stand on movable orchestral platforms
that can be adjusted to achieve the desired sound balance,
depending on how loud the instrument is.
Something large like a tuba or an Eric Garner
would be placed on a lower platform in the back
So as to not suck out the air Aiyana Jones’ seven-year old violin would need
To get your attention
The ceiling skylights are made with four layers of glass,
With four feet of air from Sandra Bland’s lungs in between the layers to trap sound inside the hall and prevent the hissing sound of her slow asphyxiated cell hanging from being heard on the outside
So as to have long reverberation time in a live and dead environment
Staging is just as critical as the environment
In an orchestra of 100, 60% of the performers are dead strings
Placed front and center for the audience’s viewing pleasure,
As they are the most quiet individually and must be multiplied exponentially
If they are to ever to make a note worth hearing
Because a black death is only loud if you cant see it in front of you
and the best way to kill a performer
is choosing to hear them once and never again
and during the performance
the conductor controls every aspect of the show
and he has the uncanny ability to tone a racist’s performance
down to a dead environment while elevating black-on-black crime
and blue lives matter into a live environment that drowns out the screams
and the conductor’s favorite piece of music to perform
is “A Black Boy’s Symphony Concerto No. 559 deaths in 2017…and counting”,
especially the auditory climax,
where he uses his baton and gun
to rapidly change the Tamir Rice section
of a 12 year old A minor into a B flat position
within two seconds
And the black woman’s song travels
In a different frequency than the black male,
That is so sharp to static ears
the audience cannot actually hear
Rekia Boyd’s broken body and out of tune mouth,
That the crescendo of a build up from a murmuring entrance
To a gargantuan fortissimo
Is not just dependent on the performer’s skill
But the environment, its acoustics and the positioning of the audience’s ears
When “Stonewall Riots Sonata in the key of Marsha P transitioning to the key of Miss Major No. 1969”
Gets drowned out in the Hudson River by white noise fragility
So a voice is a metronome
Or a trumpet,
Depending on who your God is
And what reverberation your body responds to.
And there is bleed that decorates black space
And there is scream that bends into a low sigh
And there is space eager to be filled with melody
And we witness a descending body and the scream in the aftermath not occur in the same breath
And the sight does not match the sound
And the air in our lungs is translated into despair as it enters an instrument’s hole screeching
And exits a digestible repertoire
That reverberates beyond the walls.