Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Fri Aug 06 2004 - 17:47:24 EDT wrote:

>The key, as I said before, is if the algorithms used to implement the work
>of art are the responsibility of the artist.

computer music has got to constantly ask itself about things only
possible through computation. By
definition it must have a developing edge. Ultimately that means doing
astonishing things in music,
because the computer, besides its lowly status as "tool," is also a
machine for creating astonishment.
That gives a qualitative assessment -- something is computer music not
because someone wrote an algorithm,
but because it persues the implications of astonshment through means
offered by the computer. These means
are constantly growing and I don't see why they should be typed at the
lowest possible level of
abstraction, the algorithm.

Question is what is astonishing? When Lasnky first plkayed me "Idle
Chatter" in 1987 I felt astonishment.
The medium is encroaching upon the music in every possible way. It
momentarily felt as though the computer
mind had liberated itself to the extent that it could do that particular

The use of algorithms, to me, serves the purpose of partially divesting
a computer music piece
of the mind of the composer, perhaps in order to effect the simulation
of a non-human composing
intelligence. Feeling that seems to me to be one of the things I value
in computer music. Music
for me is a projection of listening (because music listens) rather than
sound. So the way in which listening
is constructed seems to me paramount in trying to situate computer music.

It's probably worth differentiating between what we're willing to call
"computer music" now
and what we'll be calling "computer music" in 20 years. Are we still
going to be using the word
"computer," or will that term be too general in a completely
computer-driven world? Will we
at all care about who directed the programming? Will it be rather
about the edge that is

I think there's a transition to be made TO computer music, which doesn't
exist yet, and which is goiung to REQUIRE public
interest, because otherwise the relevant computing brainpower is not
going to be very much involved,
and the relevant edges won't be attained.

-- eliot

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