Aura Satz

The Trope of Musical Stairs

The trope of musical stairs is an architectural sonic rendering of the journey up or down a scale, gradations of pitch visualised through standardised piano-like rows of steps. 

Find a certain position or angle, use it to dissolve the logic of the staircase in pursuit of a geometric moire interference pattern. Allow the interplay of railings and step patterns to suggest a warping of space, a slightly skewed repetition of lines that have lost their place on the grid, intricate vertebrae splayed out with the musicality of phasing.

Use this score to dismantle the hierarchy and verticality of the staircase into an acoustic moire, full of overlaps and collisions. There is no clear way in or out, up or down, just a clustering of interferences. Can be applied to any staircase hinging between spaces.


Aura Satz works in film, sound, performance and sculpture, in order to conceptualise a distributed, expanded and shared notion of voice. She is a Reader and tutor at the Royal College of Art.