Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification

Subject: Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Mon Mar 21 2005 - 16:20:23 EST

At 1:32 PM -0800 3/21/05, Eliot Handelman wrote:
>I've been thinking about your definition more and how expanding the
>domain of EA to potentially anything is potentially meritorious. At
>the same time, I still have problems with the idea that EA is
>centrally, and necessarily, something that happens through

Thanks. I proposed limiting it in the physical sense to the
transduction of electrical energy to acoustic energy so as to help
provide a context for the next stages of the discussion.

The displacement of time and space by electricity > acoustic is the
continuation of the history of notation which broke the tradition of
ideas having to be transfered only from mouth to ear.

The visual artist is from the tradition of conquering time and space,
and also from the tradition of the crystallization of time. The 2oth
century development of the quantization and fragmentation of the
acoustic event was made possible by the physical development of the

The loudspeaker also has allowed for the exploration of a range of
ideas and concepts that may not have been possible to explore before.
Psychoacoustic experiments and demonstrations aside, the loudspeaker
has allowed the presentation of auditory phenomena that are
impossible (?) in the (other) physical world.

For a long time I have noticed my ability (in my mind) to 'mix' two
pieces at the same time, and each maintained its 'layer of identity'.
When trying to do this with speakers, this never seemed to work.
Multi-speaker systems have lent themselves to some of this
exploration, but the common reverberant characteristics have
'obliterated' the effect that I hear in my head. But, recently I have
found a way to somewhat reproduce the effect, which is done with open
air headphones, listening to thing from the headphones, and a second
source from loudspeakers.

For me, the effect is that I can listen to two sources at the same
time without interaction between them.

>a. the impending obsolescence of loudspeakers

!<yikes!> Is this an advisory to sell my stocks in Bose?

>b. what happens when we're doing sound by stimulating neurons?

One way of seeing this is that this is not 'sound', but the
stimulation of neural receptors. Given this, I, like the little clam
you spoke of, will be able to live entirely in my brain.

>Clearly whatever EAis (as music or as approach) it wants the whole
>potential of revolutiuonary ways of exciting sound, perception, etc.

Indeed. Living today with 30 students in a room discussing their
experiences with sound requires (IMV) some form of starting point.
The speculative is a way to 'open the ears' and open the mind to the
ineffability of sounds and sound structures.

>We won't want to say, we EA composers/thinkers regard neurojacking
>as impure because it doesn't use loudspeakers.

Heavens no!!

>d. because of 4'33" EA def. should include a way of doing it that
>doesn't produce sound, also by not proiducing sound in different
>ways. Without this, the subject has no conceptual dimension.

An acoustical performance of 4'33 is not (IMV) ea, but the recording
is. Maps and territories again. This is why I proposed to use Tan
Dun's "The Map" as a point of departure for this question.

>e. it's important to open EA up to students as something that
>REQUIRES vision about what music/EA/etc is.

I do not feel that the teacher has a place in the mind of the student.

To cite from Peter Pan:

>>Mrs Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her
>>childrenšs minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother
>>after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put
>>things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper
>>places the many articles that have wandered during the day.
>>If you could keep awake (but of course you canšt) you would see
>>your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting
>>to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see
>>her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your
>>contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up,
>>making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her
>>cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that
>>out of sight.
>>When you wake in the morning, the naughtinesses and evil passions
>>with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at
>>the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are
>>spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.
>>Occasionally in her travels through her childrenšs minds Mrs
>>Darling found things she could not understand,

>It may be that your definition does require vision to understand --
>maybe my fifficulty is that I have a different vision.

Consider starting from standing above the loudspeaker and being drawn
along with the notion of conquering time and space -- conquering
death itself.

>>>Jim Randall once showed me a music appreciation book he was reading
>>>for a course on writing about music, that described the opening of
>>>the Beethoven 9 as "a sustained dominant pedal." "That really says
>>>what in that opening contributed to this piece coming to be known
>>>as the crowning achievement of western music, doesn't it?" he
>He meant that writing about music should try to convey ideas about
>what makes the music exciing or worth paying attention to. I was
>suggesting that your phrase suffers by its refusal to convey any
>sense of why one should be interested in, eg, what comes out of a
>loudspeaker or why this is an important issue.

It is my hope that the idea of the conquest of time, space and death
itself are an adequately important issue.



>-- eliot

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