About four minutes in, the brass, piano and percussion start up an unstoppable, machine-like music (the sound quality in the clip below is not of the best, but it's one of the most unique sounds I've ever heard an orchestra make). Against it, the violins play a seemingly unending melody made up of longer notes. I saw the piece played in the Sage, Gateshead not so long ago. I was lucky enough to be sat in the cheapest seats, in a gallery high above the stage. From there, we were looking down on the orchestra and the structure of the piece could be seen as well as heard: whole blocks of orchestral players could be seen moving together, each block moving at a different pace. Listening to Turangalila, time sometimes seems to be moving at different speeds, simultaneously. The name Turangalila is constructed from two Sanskrit words: turanga and lila and means, more or less, "love song and hymn of joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death." True, there are huge differences, but there is something going on here that is not a million miles from the world of Machaut. I know this is a 21st rather than 14th century way of putting it, but both composers (as have many in between) are trying to convey the illusion of a world beyond the three dimensional world we inhabit, by consciously playing very similar games with time.
Regarding the Ondes Martenot, I found this interesting short film about it on YouTube - essential viewing for Star Trek fans:
So far I've been talking about time. As for space, spatial effects can be hard or inconvenient to create. The most obvious one is dance. Dancers (either as performers or participating listeners) can add a spatial dimension to music. Experiments with other spatial effects have also cropped up now and again in Western music. Gabrielli, in the sixteenth century, was famous for writing pieces in which the direction from which the music came from was an important part of the music's structure. However, this aspect of music only really came to the forefront in the twentieth century.
John Cage, in Variations V, a work written for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, set up a system whereby sound was controlled by the movement of dancers through a set of light beams. In breaking the beams, dancers operated photoelectric switchs which in turn triggered sounds.
Stockhausen -as religious a composer, in his way, as Messiaen and Machaut- endlessly experimented with time and space in his pieces. He experimented contracting and expanding musical space and time: for example, near the end of Mantra the entire piece is compressed into a short, virtuosic burst for the two pianists. In his electronic pieces, the direction the sound comes from or moves in is often as important as the texture of the sound itself. In Ylem (inspired by the theory of the universe expanding and contracting on an 80 billion year cycle):
"...10 of the 19 players stand on the stage around the piano; after a sound explosion they walk playing into the hall and take up position to the left and right of the audience (the remaining 9 players stay on stage). Towards the end they go back onto the stage, stand around the piano, and after a second explosion, all 19 players walk off the stage and out of the building, while continuing to play (the 9 players who were playing on stage have small portable instruments)." StockhausenStockhausen pursued these sort of preoccupations most sensationally in his helicopter string quartet (there's an excerpt from from it below - a good note to end this post on). Love it or hate it, it is perhaps, in its way, as embedded in our view of the universe today as Machaut is in the 14th century view: