Re: The cultural engineer - abridged but with link

Subject: Re: The cultural engineer - abridged but with link
From: Paul Doornbusch (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2005 - 17:58:34 EST

Actually, there were never any composers working with CSIRAC - that
was one of the key points of the developments at Bell Labs.

CSIRAC was used as a sequencer, or maybe like a player piano, to
play standard popular melodies of the day. I think it was the
first computer to play music, but "computer music", and the inquiry
of what it might mean musically and compositionally to use such a
machine for music, would have to wait for later developments.

And just to clarify a few fine points (lest they become propagated
as fact), CSIRAC was built and first played music in Sydney in 1950
or 1951. That activity was further developed in Melbourne after it
was moved there (on the back of a rather large truck) in 1956.
Also, because for cultural and political reasons, CSIRACs musical
activities were never "exported" or written up in any journals or
exported to the northern hemisphere... Max Matthews, for example,
did not know of the existence of this until about 5 years ago.

Kind Regards,

> This
>> includes those educated as engineers, those educated
>> as composers, and
>> those educated by themselves. Therefore, I think it
>> can safely be said that
>> for many contemporary composers, at least in EA and
>> computer music, this
>> distinction is obsolete. And I think that it will
>> continue to erode.
> You seem to be neglecting composers based in
>semiotics who in addtition to technical and musical
>knowldege consider what the sound produced signifies
>and how it is interpreted by the listener politically,
>psychologically etc.
> Furthermore, your equations do not include those
>composers who are aware of computer based EA music's
>place in cultural theory as post-colonial. The first
>computer music having been created in the southern
>colony of Melbourne and exported back to the cold
>(post-)industrial north where it has been nurtured as
>though it were the north's own creation. See:
>Ex-Prof Innes Park
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