Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:

Subject: Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Fri Nov 04 2005 - 01:37:22 EST

Louis Dufort wrote:


>Is it academic wanting the audience
>to connect to our music and learning perception process to achieve those

Of course not. It becomes academic when there's a fixed way of carrying
out this interesting
goal. Instead of "experiencing:" we read the skill levels as a kind of
symbol system about how to compose
EA music. This is why we tend to notice GRM tools, for instance.

>For me, EA composers that want to show their skill is a new concept for me.
>I cannot think of a more low profile artist than the EA composer. Concert
>in the dark, nobody see you, and since the audience are normally not use to
>hear this kind of music there is no way they can understand the "skills"
>behind a ea piece.

Louis, the sense that "skills" are involved leaps out to anyone with any
kind of artistic experience.
Everyone recognizes these sound effects from information overload
culture. The skill is evident
in the way the composer navigates the world of chaotic sounds. He holds
back and keeps in control.
The underlying chaos is restrained by his knowledge of the genre.
Let me address this in a different way. I've recently been playing
around with an
idea I call "structural favoritism." This means the kind of listening
where you "wait
for the good parts." This used to be considered a very low-class way to
to classical music. But I've been thinking that it provides a
cognitively more plausible basis
for the experience of music than do ideas that come from music theory --
that a piece is
unified entity with no extra parts, and which ought to be apprehended as
such. The structure
of music is dtermined by strictly internal considerations, etc.

Structural favoritism says: the cognitive representation of music is in
order of rank by those
bits we most like. I'm trying to develop this into a theory: it's just
an idea at present. (My AI might have to work like this.)

Our cog. reps are greedy about satisfying stuff -- climaxes, the tune
the chord that comes in then, the way the flutes sound there, etc.
Listening to music
means going from what you like via preparation for something else you
like. Of course
you could also like everything that happens. Somewhere along the line
there might be something
like what Jimmy Durante called "a GOOD note."

At least this is what I think it may be in reality, for very many
people. I'm looking at a folksong right now
that has 4 phrases. The second part seems more fun to sing than the
first part. It's as though intnded
to be cognitively mapped by prteparation and activity. The whole thing
is dangling from a hierarchy with the fun bit at top.

What I found in Skyla (a bit of which I listened to again) , and many EA
pieces, was the overt structure of favoritism -- the
sense that there are compelling moments that I'm moving towards, with
long stretches which may offer me
something to listen to, but which I represent as transitional or
preparatory, in case my idea for a theory happens
to be true.

The first music that was earnest about getting us to actually listen
alway7s stayed away from the structure of
favoiritism -- consider Stockhausen's "Moment-form" idea, in which every
moment stands alone -- you
are NOT moving from place to place.

In Skyla I think I find too much place-to-place favoritism. The
oipening, which stravinsky always found most
difficult, is abandoned to fill -0- unless I'm REALLY missing something
(but I listened carefully to this

The music has this structure because it WANTS to produce "what we like,"
whereas that poses a hard
problem in the economy of composing. That is, it's structured by islands
around specific gestures -- the "popular shapes."

I don't find this problem in Ryoji Ikeda's work, because, first of all,
I do find it to be anti-favortistic,
and there is always an underlying drive to directly manipulate the
listener's perceptions. I can't
"reduce" the piece to partoicular moments. The same is true with
Maryanne Amacher's music.

I don't know if I've said what I wanted -- probably not.

> Where in contrary people that make live improv, the "non
>academic real musician", where most of the time it is basically a showcase
>of one can do with an instrument using all the existing technics and how
>fast he can go, this is to me showing off their skill. Or composers behind
>laptops doing stupid gesture to control a filter, this is deeply annoying.
Exactly -- we can't experience it as anything except someone's desire to
social standing. Instead of a piece you have a series of assertions
about someone's
sense about how great they are. If physical skill is involved, though,
we probably have
some additional sympathy.

>That's probably why I rarely
>listen to EA for the same reason that you pointed out. But again, as I'm
>always in the search of novelty, I am sometimes happily surprise ( the ratio
>of nice surprises is about the same for all the other art forms).

You're offering evidence for my theory.

>We cannot
>simply discredit EA or call it academic because it does not bring any
>revolution, for now.

Perhaps the international style is really a teaching tool of some sort?
Perhaps EA really is
a teaching music? What then? Then you should learn to write the piece
and afterwards you
can consider the problem of getting your own voice and vision. IN that
case, I can say of Skyla, "nicely made,"
"transitions were ok," "interesting flip there," etc. Ok. So now that
you passed the course,
it's time to become your own artist.

>It is true that EA could use a couple of drastic
>protagonist to push it to a new level. Has I said earlier, we are in a
>classical period and if it stays in that period for to long it will in fact
I agree -- but for now each of us is responsible.

-- eliot

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