Re: International/national styles?

Subject: Re: International/national styles?
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sun Jul 25 2004 - 14:17:42 EDT

This is of interest as there will soon be a conference festival (EMM
at Lewis University outside Chicago, ) where there will be a
subtheme of globalization.

I would propose that a first step would be to place the term
'national' in some form of (socio-historical / geographical) context.
An example right off would be Conlon Nancarrow (Mexico). Is this
'mexican', American (of the USA), western, or international.

Stockhausen -- do the early Studies sound 'german' for any reason
other than the technology existed in Germany at the time. I have
always heard a great deal of Morton Feldman and Earle Brown in these
pieces; Gesang has german text while using a melange of the
internationalism of serial / total serialization / post serial
(austrian / french).

To modify the european sense of a 'national style', does 17th century
Polish music sound so different from italo/german of the same time?

The differences of italian, french and german musics of the 17 - 19th
centuries can often be shown as reflections of the differing
accentuation (and intonation) patterns of the language. (An example
is Hungarian in which the first syllable is accented, or Polish where
the penultimate syllable receives the stress.)

But perhaps in the 20th century (ea) 'national style' becomes a
matter of access to technologies, including those of the resources of

If one has access to a springer machine in the 60s (allowing time
stretching -- an early form of granulation), or the RCA digital
synthesizer, the sounds would be characteristic of these unique

And the knowledge of this was a function of modes of distribution.
DGG released KS. Those of us (who couldn't go to Bourges) growing up
at the time would all hear the same pieces, by many of the same

Trivia question: How many times did Stockhausen win at Bourges?

What is the historical impact of the franco/prussian conflict in
europe over the past 400 years in terms of recognition of German
composers by French institutions? What is the impact of the sense of
cousin-hood of the english and the germans?

The german / english / american love-hate relationship became a
little muddled in the 20th century as the USA acceded to dominance
over the brits almost 200 years after the Revolutionary War ... and
the poor Canadian nation (a country that cannot work in theory but
does in practice) sits betwixt and between the UK, the USA and France.

(Canada is desolate enough that composers from opposites sides of the
country need to meet in foreign cities to stay in touch.)

In Canada, I found the early work of Michel Longtin

to be Canadian in the sense of the Group of Seven painters
, and that Glenn Gould's Solitude Trilogy (where I find both The Idea
of North (1967) and The Latecomers (1969) presage both radiophonic
art and soundscaping ) also
as beacons of the time when there was a 'distinctive' (?) Canadian

Some composers have no sense of 'national style', as they may have no
sense of 'nation' as being their delimiting community. There may be
discernable individual styles, or there may not be. It could be
proposed that Berio or Takemitsu did not have individual styles, the
body of their work in the field was so small that no 'style' evolved
-- the individual works are identifiable, but not a global sense of
'style of composition'.

Does Mort Subotnick have a body of work which is independent of the
Buchla system(s) that is identifiable as being west-coast USA? Is
there a group of people who would be able (agree) to identify these
works as such?

Apart from the impact of Jean-Francois Denis and Dim, how many of
this list (would) have heard more than 8 works by any four of the
listed composers? From the list, there are more than five composers
of whom I have heard three or fewer pieces.

The Concordia ea collection has between 2000 and 3000 (or more)
pieces, and while 'style' is relatively easy to attribute (sometimes
to the point of being able to predict the shape of the piece), if
there is no spoken language, it is not easy to place a national
characteristic. A resource to explore many works is .

And where is Martin to speak on behalf of the (invisible) history of
ea in Latin America?


... As a final (personal) example, I would have difficulty
identifying the following work as by someone who is either Canadian
(or English)

At 11:49 -0500 2004/07/25, Larry Austin wrote:
>Dear colleagues:
>I feel/believe there are discernible international and national
>styles of electroacoustic and computer music, exemplified especially
>in solo tape and fixed media pieces. For example, these composers
>are models of recognized national styles, if not international:
>Paul Lansky, USA
>Fracis Dhomont, Canada/France
>Jonty Harrison, UK
>John Chowning, USA
>Jean-Claude Risset, France (USA)
>Barry Truax, Canada (Netherlands)
>Simon Emmerson, UK
>Morton Subotnick, USA
>James Dashow, USA (Italy)
>Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Sweden
>Natasha Barret, UK (Norway)
>Denis Smalley, UK (France)
>Karlheinz Stockhausen, Germany
>et al.......
>My point is that there is a recognized body of work in our medium by
>composers based in various countries who have distinguished our
>medium and their countries of origin as well. True?
>I do not mean that the above list is all-inclusive, of course. Just
>a list of the composers whose music and influence came to me right
>What do you think?
>Larry Austin

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