RE: Solo ea

Subject: RE: Solo ea
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2005 - 21:13:02 EST

This includes a number of the concepts I would propose to become part
of the broader discussion of ea.

If one were to apply an 'energy analysis' (say) a chamber work of
some 15 minutes and an ea work (on fixed media) of the same length,
maybe some of the points would come into greater focus.

Consider (for starter) the amount of time / energy (= resources)
required in various stages of the composition / presentation.

- pre-compositional work

- composition

- preparation of score / parts, media

- rehearsal time (which includes the degree of skill and level of
training of the performers)

- presentation opportunities

If one chooses to work with concrete sources, there is the matter of
collecting, acquiring or buying the sounds (which presupposes the
existence of the studios and equipment / software). The technological
updating for the composer is continuous, and the learning is largely
a matter of exploration / skill development by the individual alone
(with the help of e-lists etc).

The compositional process varies widely from composer to composer, as
it does with instrumental composition.

Parts / scores / media preparation are in some ways similar, but the
task grows rapidly with larger forces.

Rehearsal with traditional pieces (given some level of
professionalism), may be greater than with ea (fixed medium) pieces,
as the ea piece is (often) pretty much ready "right out of the box".

For the composer of the string quartet, writing "legato" above a line
will (later) produce the articulation whereas the ea composer creates
all the detail.

Live and multi-media preparation times can be large but possibly
based on the nature of the technology, not on the necessity to learn
interpretive styles.

Given the heavy 'front-loading' of (fixed medium) ea, it may be
understandable why 'washes' and 'stretched sounds' are found as
prominent features in the works of emerging composers -- they are
easier to do and yield more immediate returns.



At 11:49 -0500 2005/02/08, wrote:
>I'm sure this has an enormous effect.
>Writers and visual artists have usually worked solo. Film directors
>obviously work with a team larger and looser than a band.
>Working solo makes the composer the performer. All the nuances of
>performance go out the window and are replaced by new ones, cruder but
>perhaps freer.
>Working solo enables the composer to do things that would throw bands for a
>loop. The composer can suddenly change style or direction without having to
>explain how to play the piece. On the other hand the composer is more
>The social/celebratory aspects of musical performance are missed by many.
>It will take a long time for all the implications of this to emerge.
>The composer in the kind of computer music I do does not work totally
>alone, but frequently borrows instrument code, samples, and so on. But
>still, I am in a room by myself listening to speakers.
>Original Message:
>From: Kevin Austin
>Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 11:20:48 -0500
>Subject: Solo ea
>In my reading I have noted the lack of commentary on much ea art as
>being solo in nature, when compared to traditional musics / (sound
>arts). A string quartet requires 4 or 5 people (if the composer is
>not one of the performers), and choral / orchestral works call
>together many people (at the last stages of the composition >
>performance structure).
>This could be compared to the ea (sound art) composer where the
>assistance occurs before the piece is completed (equipment, hardware
>and software), but then almost all phases of composition /
>presentation are the responsibility of the single person. (Exceptions
>being cases such as the old european model of the composer in the
>studio with technicians / assistants.)
>To what extent does this "front-loading" of the compositional process
>have an effect on what the composer does (or can do)?
>mail2web - Check your email from the web at
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