Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 13:59:27 EDT

With respect to music history and innovation, there are (at least, broadly speaking) two situations. Western art music has a particular kind of historical consciousness that glorifies innovation. In the music of other cultures (not that I'm an expert), there are different kinds of historical consciousness. I know enough about some non-Western-art-music styles to know that musical innovation occurs in them and is important, since there is an obvious sequence of styles from generation to generation, and obvious cross-cultural influences, even predating Western influences. But it's not quite the same thing, the same feeling of being driven by or out of history, not the same insistence on innovation.

That said, in Western art music, it's reasonably clear that most but by no means all of the composers one numbers on the fingers and toes have been formally, significantly innovative. And clearly Western music, the most influential the world has known, is obsessed with formal originality. And these two points, I think, answer the question as well as it can be answered.

In any event, the kind of originality I'm talking can't successfully arise from a pure desire for it. It has to arise from something searching from within the music, some self-consciousness arising within the music-making process itself: O hoher Baum in Ohr!


-----Original Message-----
From: Morgan Sutherland <>
Sent: Sep 14, 2005 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

But is there something wrong with judging music based on how
innovative it is? As a listener, I love the feeling of listening to
something truly unheard before. This kind of conversation eventually
breaks down into "what is the purpose of music?", but I think that one
of the purposes of this music is to be innovative, if not the purpose
entirely. EA and EM gets this trait from its relationship with
technology. It is the fusion of technology and music. And what is the
purpose of technology? The purpose of technology is to break ground,
invent, create new things never before seen. Nobody ever says "i've
been in science for 50 years and one thing i've learned is that the
purpose of inventions is not necessarily to create something new."
That's just absurd, the purpose IS to be innovative. I think that EA
and EM carries that trait to a varying extent and that part of the
purpose of the music is to make something new, not for the audience
necessarily, but just for the sake of doing it. Of course people add
their own combination and find their balance.
Music adds emotion, enjoyability, philosophy and an audience to
technology. Technology adds innovation, research, and
dimension/dynamics (texture) to music. The result is electronic music.
Electroacoustic music is more on the technology side.

Regardless of whether this can be expressed on a basic philosophical
level, that's what the EA audience has become for the most part,
people who listen for the combination of enjoyment and the thrill of
hearing something "fresh". And then they form their subcultures and
they go on the Internet and talk about it! And that's who WE are,
"discerning" listeners who are here being part of a subculture
discussing music.

On 9/14/05, Kevin Austin <> wrote:
> I think there are a number of threads here.
> Instrumental music / composition is not in the same environment as
> ea. Live theater is not video.
> I am not in a position to discuss (or even propose) how "most" of the
> audience feels / reacts. Having been involved in the production of
> more than 600 ea concerts, I have learned the fearsome lesson of
> 'generalizations' about individual experiences. I accept that you are
> bored, but that is a quite different issue.
> At 00:27 -0400 2005/09/14, Louis Dufort wrote:
> >I totally agree with you Bill, but I really think that in reality,
> >seeing a lot of concert and collecting a lot of impression and
> >discussion, most of the audience are bored with our music, I know I
> >am.
> As you pointed out, you are bored. That, IMV, does not make "the ea" boring.
> >I think that beneath of it all, the fact that making EA is in a way
> >more accessible than instrumental music brings a larger group of
> >composer that doesn't have the musical knowledge which sometime can
> >be good and refreshing but we still get to hear most of the boring
> >stuff.
> It is not clear to me why (all) music should be innovative. If the
> position you propose is that music should be innovative, this opens
> up the idea of what "innovative" means to you.
> Written language (and probably life in general) is not innovative;
> just about everything is built on memory (and experience). John
> Cage's work on chance operations was not new or innovative in a
> 'global' sense, it was (IMV) more that the west had not been widely
> exposed to (or accepting of) the mystical processes that reveal the
> unseeable. [Google I ching for history. John Cage said that chance
> exists, the iching and many oraclular traditions propose that fate is
> fixed and preordained.
> Over simplified, within this model of reality, the position you have
> found yourself in, boredom with (much new) ea could have been
> predicted by someone whose 'oracular insight(s)' are great enough to
> see the larger picature.
> After 25 years of teaching the same course, there is little that is
> "new" or "innovative". But, teaching classes of 25 - 50 students is
> not about the discovery of 50 innovative people every year.
> As Grand Inquisitor says in the Gondoliers: "When everybody's
> somebody, then no one's anybody"?
> This fear of loss of personal identity drives some people to more
> extreme forms of "innovative" expression, or what they may think of
> as new or innovative expression.
> >... and the purpose of my "pretension" thread was an attempt to find
> >what was lacking in electronic EA composition and my first argument
> >was around the sound itself where in the spectral instrumental
> >school, most of the composition material comes from the intrinsic of
> >the sound while I feel that in EA and electronic music at large take
> >it for granted.
> I find that there are two issues here being convolved. Instrumental
> sounds are of their nature microstructurally complex in a statistical
> fashion. It is not possible to duplicate a played note on a piano.
> Moreover, the piano is not a point source for sound. Place 12
> microphones at or near a piano and play one note. The 12 signals will
> have statistical and parametric similarities, but few microstructural
> invariant aspects.
> In simpler english ... every time a note is played on a piano, it
> sounds different. Every time the same note is played from a digital
> memory (wavetable) through a loudspeaker, the signal (at the speaker
> terminals) is effectively identical.
> Stockhausen pointed this out in Mikrophonie in 1964
> . While this
> may come as 'new' and 'innovative' to a younger generation those who
> lived through this period possibly carry different baggage, and
> different contexts for the concept of "innovation".
> Best
> Kevin

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