Re: [WAVE_LIST@UNT.EDU] No Break in the Storm Over Harvard President's Words

Subject: Re: [WAVE_LIST@UNT.EDU] No Break in the Storm Over Harvard President's Words
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Wed Jan 19 2005 - 22:21:42 EST

At 13:18 -0500 2005/01/19, William Osborne wrote:
>I hope this issue is also causing a lot of discussion in the music
>technology community, even if there is not so very much being said
>on this list. We really do need to look at the masculinist
>perspectives that subtly inform some areas of computer music. A
>wider range of enquiry and research at the ICMA conferences would
>stimulate so much more intellectual diversity. It would help us gain
>a much deeper understanding of computer music as an art and social

One would first of all have to determine the parameters / borders
that constitute the 'music technology community'. In my view, the
ICMA is not near the center of this community. As mentioned earlier,
the Computer Music Journal has fewer than 1500 subscriptions and
Organized Sound well under 1000, probably with a high overlap of

These are small sub groupings of the larger 'music technology
community', which I prefer to call the electroacoustic community.

By not using the word(s) "music" or "technology", the field is (IMV)
at once simplified and clarified. "Technology" is used in just about
every music class, from CD players to Finale, to word processing to
web search research. A couple of years ago the female students in my
classes seemed to lag behind the male students in such areas as
Finale notation and digital sound recording, but this difference (in
my classes) has just about disappeared.

Computer Music is for me one of those anachronisms whose time (and
meaning) has as much contemporary meaning as "digital media". My
feeling is that "computer music" has been dead to the younger
generation since before they were born -- large numbers of students I
have met don't know what it is, and don't care.

Is MAX/MSP considered "computer music", and if so, why? Is Logic
computer music? Does Bourges present computer music? Is radiophonic
art computer music? ... installation art? ... mediatic arts?

Maybe a question could be phrased something as follows:
"Is there a statistically demonstrable stylistic difference between
the kinds of uses of electroacoustics that is reflective of aspects
of gender?"

A method of examining this would be to listen to (say) a thousand
examples of ea work, and have a large number of people categorize
them as being: (1) by a man, (2) possibly by a man (3) undecided, (4)
possibly by a woman, (5) by a woman.

I have participated on a (blind) international jury for the past five
years, with the jury size ranging from about 15 to 35 people, almost
always somewhat gender balanced. The results are interesting in terms
of (1) ranking of pieces by the gender of the composer; (2) ranking
of the pieces by the gender of the jury member.

With luck at some time there will be a statistical study published of
these results taken over a period of five years or so. I think they
would make interesting reading.



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