Re: On Harvest Moon

Subject: Re: On Harvest Moon
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sun Sep 25 2005 - 19:24:38 EDT

Please remember that the call went out via cec-conference (several
times) the ACMA, SEAMUS and SAN lists, and there were about twice as
many pieces received as performed.

Harvest Moon is a media-specific focused event. No sound projection.
Multi-channel speaker system 4 to 8.1, with 7.1 and 8 (8.1) as the
prefered formats "with a focus on the topic of the loudspeaker as a
point source".

Montreal may have a number of multi-speaker composers, but few have
started to deal with the acoustic and psychoacoustics of point

This is a whole area that the software industry is not able to start
to cope with, so it is not expected that many composers would be up
to dealing with it.

Ned may recall the work by Chris Bailey on the last evening: Sand.

This work is a rather exceptional demonstration of the whole concept,
and reason for this focused event.

Apart from being 26 minutes long, which most festivals / conferences
won't touch!, this work requires exceptional loudspeakers ... sorry
Mackies are fine, Air-20s are another place.

The sound system and the hall, and the composition (!) (sic)
challenged the listeners' limits of (in ASA terms) segregation and
streaming. Can one _really_ hear five, six, seven, eight or more
gestures / events at the same time (without perceptual grouping into
"mass structures")?

Outside of composition classes examining the works of the "mass
structure" composers (ligeti, xenakis ...) where does one find (in
the field of electroacoustic studies) individuals interested (and
capable??) of hearing / exploring / discussing this level of

Ea schools are (still) at the level of "acousmatic transformation"
and "MAX/MSP" patches. As Eliot and Miriam might say ... "So ...
where's the music?"

I think their questions are (simply) mostly premature. The field of
EaSt is still in its infancy -- not even in the place of Arcangelo
Corelli in relation to the progressive tonality of the Mahler Ninth.

Within Corelli's Concerti grosso one has the first intimations of
where tonality may be able to go, but there were too many steps to be
taken before these would start to become evident.

Corelli was born around 1653, about 50 years into the 'baroque'
period. There is somewhere "out there" , born in about 1998 or 2001,
the composer who is going to imply the future of a broader ea

Looking at the Opus 6 from a distance of 300+ years, we understand
how the tonal and mixed sequences (arguably) form the basis for the
evolution and definition of tonality, but this was not seen as such
until 250 years later.

In ea, perception and psychoacoustics lie at the very core and
foundation of the developing art of sound. Are these at the center of
the training of young(er) ea composers? How can they be? These issues
cannot be brought to the community until certain 'technical' issues
of quality are resolved. As Dominique Bassal pointed out (again) the
ea community will need to move to 32/96 (or higher) to start to fully
explore and utilize the latent potential.

The analogy at the time of Corelli would be in trying to explain the
potential "pun" nature of the augmented sixth (^#4 ^b6) with an out
of tune harpsichord (and this before equal temperament).

I am also reminded of the work(s) of the American ea composer Paul
Koonce whose pieces are not frequently fathomable on first hearing.
They often deal with (to mere mortal ears) eccentric and obscure
matters of perception, control and discrimination in sound.

Harvest Moon was not created to be a "popular" event, with 125 pieces
played in 14 concerts. This is left to those expensive and
prestigious groups (Bourges / ICMC) to pull off.

Yes, H-M is focused, and there are not all that many composers
dealing with the core features.

Just keep in mind, it is not everyone who can tell the difference
between poutine ( ) from M
Hotdog and Lafleur. This is highly refined sensibility.



To understand this reference, please Google the Images of poutine.

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