Re: art not music

Subject: Re: art not music
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Wed Feb 23 2005 - 19:21:38 EST

This is being cross-posted from <eamt> to both <eamt> and <cec-conference>.



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>Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 14:01:40 -0500
>Subject: Ea: art, not music
>This topic was broached, yet not actually discussed in any detail.

Ok. Here's a golden opportunity.

>Obviously this is divisive subject,

Not necessarily.

>we are in a music program (at Concordia) as it is and many will
>simply take that as being the answer to whether or not
>electroacoustics is music or art.

It is art. Read on.

>Some will also say that they are one and the same. THis I don't
>believe to be true.

They certainly aren't the same.

>Music and Art are not the same (IMO) they follow different paths.

One being temporal and one being based around (non-timebased) visual
perception, with the exception of sculpture.

>Music has at its core a language that is not translateable to ea.

There may be some possibilities of borrowings, and electroacoustic
music is the hybrid of music and electroacoustics.

>Ea has at its core, no specific language (or one that is very limited).

I think one can draw from the experience of a granite monument where
the object can be understood as being that which it is not -- the
parts excluded from inclusion.

>The fact that ea is sound based is the link between the two, this
>leads to the understanding of ea as music.

Possibly not. Where the two intersect in sound would be considered
electroacoustic music. (This term produced 80,700 hits on Google.)

>... (IMO), the understanding of ea as music constrains it to
>be time based, which while true does not allow it to function
>completely as a seperate art form.

There is no problem for me in having multiple time-based art forms.
Theater, cinema, mobiles and sculpture are all time-based art forms
and one would not be likely to confuse mobiles and music.

>If the context of music is taken out of ea

But ea is a language, not constrained by the historical
considerations related to music.

>then ea can function as a much greater entity, an entity that allows
>for understanding not simply on a sonic level, it can in the end
>function more closely to the visual art domain

I feel that this is too broad a use of the term "visual art"s, but
would propose that ea functions more closely to abstract visual art,
one not dependent upon 'objects' and objectification of objects.

The purest abstract art is like the purest electroacoustic art, not
beholding to anyone or anything, except itself.

Electroacoustics is a language that excludes music and sounds derived
from musical traditions. Beats, notes, harmony and melody have no
real place in electroacoustics. To find out how to work with beats
and metric structures, notes (pitches and pitch classes), harmony and
pitch simultaneities in equal temperament, the place to study this is
in a music composition class.

While it is not too easy to state the internal limits of ea, as noted
above, it is pretty straightforward to denote those things that don't
fit, and a re-prioritization of those that are common between music,
electroacoustic music and electroacoustic art. Similarly, it is
possible to delimit those areas that fall outside of ea-art into
radiophonic art, soundscaping, audio and installation art.

A central premise of ea-art is that of 'timbre and gesture'. Of these
two, IMV, gesture is the more central. In general, the identity of a
work will not be lost with shifts in timbre and spectral content.
Proof of this is that a piece can be played through a wide range of
sound systems and remain the same (identifiable) piece, but to flip a
gesture (ie, play it backwards), or displace it in relation to other
sounds may quickly lead to its loss of identity.

Electroacoustic art is about the invention of sounds, sound objects
and new, unrealized relationships. The musique concret school got it
wrong when they failed to work towards the invention of new sounds
rather than the collaging and re-contextualization of existing sounds.

>thougths? arguements? anything.
>Andrew McCallum

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