Re: Computer chicken

Subject: Re: Computer chicken
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Thu Sep 29 2005 - 15:59:00 EDT

> Applying this observation to music
> demands that one ask the question, what makes computer music computer
> music?" If you have some answers, please respond to Martin Supper
> <>

Computer music is that which specifically takes its inspiration from the
computer, or the potentialities of the computer.

Schumann once wrote that at first he was very keen on his sense of
the possibilities of his instrument, the piano, and took inspiration
from it. Later on, he said, he just wrote what he wanted.

Adorno commented (maybe in Klangfiguren?) that Schumann's later music proved
the fallacy of this position, since S's earlier piano music is in fact
much more
interesting and inspired. A composer SHOULD take inspiration from h.

Of course trying to work out an adequate reponse to the universe that
computer opens up is an astronomically more complex problem than finding
eg a style that sounds like it was meant for the sackbut or magnus chord

One critical issue is that the individual composer working on the
computer is
necessarily involved in a visible network of technical causation. The
"il penseroso"
type of isolated faustian genius alone in h. tower is untenable.
Whatever comes of
the computer involves open collaboration in which the sense of
individual artistic
pursuit is necessarily open to question. So at least one aspect of
computer as medium
is about recasting the problem of the individual in the world.

 Art could be thought of as an interpretation of the relation between
the human world
we inhabit and the forces of reality. Zizek commented that in the 20th C
art attempted
to become real -- he found that Stockhausen's hated comments about 9/11 had,
in that sense, an underlying truth. Hal Foster in "the return to the
real" was perhaps not
as exhuberant.

One kind of real is "music as a physical, rather than concept-laden

Specific perceptual and or affective inductions.

Disturbance of ego boundary.

The computability of that which we hold most human.

Explorations into modes of knowing.

An AI program that listens to music in some way that elucidates
the meaning of the term "listening" and the term "music."

An AI program that composes music because it is able to listen to it.

The network as the next evolution of the brain.

Accept no substitutes. We're still in the process of discovering what
computer music might at all be about.

-- eliot

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