Re: Electroacoustic Flute Music

Subject: Re: Electroacoustic Flute Music
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Thu May 06 2004 - 15:52:34 EDT

Richard Zvonar wrote:

> At 9:41 PM -0400 5/5/04, Eliot Handelman wrote:
>> I was thinking here more on a conceptual/esthetic plane.
> Aha. I didn't get that from your question.
> I'd be interested in your thoughts along those lines.

Ok. Flute/electroid is a popular form for composers at least. The
for this popularity so far suggested are on the order of "combines well
with electroid sounds" and "flautists are accomodating."

At the same time there's an opposite thrust because the flute occupies an
ambivalent position in classical music. Mozart hated it. The heros of the
romantic era were violins or pianos and sometimes clarinets (which Mozart

This works two ways. The first is that the flute is perhaps slightly
less charged with the weight of older music than are the old heros
while partly evoking the ancient past of music, because of its ancient

The second issue has to do with whatever reasons may
have contributed to the fact that the flute never did become
a romantic hero.

There's a third, tricky issue about extended playing techniques.
Someone once observed that many of the extended technique sounds
were precisely those sounds that players used to avoid, because they
either represented technical failure or were annoying, eg, breathy
sounds, or very wide vibrato, or sudden overblowing shifts in register,
or multiphonics, etc.

So there's a big question here about the social exclusion of the
flute as 1st class classical music citizen, for whatever reasons,
and its ready accomodation to "contemporary" music.

In asking "why is the flute the instrument most frequently
conjoinied with elctroids," I'm asking, is this negative charge
of this space interesting? I'm speaking as one who finds this
combo less than tantalizing.

just a few errant thoughts.

-- eliot

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