Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:

Subject: Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sun Nov 06 2005 - 11:20:47 EST

At 10:34 -0800 2005/11/06, Eliot Handelman wrote:
>Kevin Austin wrote:
>>The hearing and organizing was hierarchical in nature, starting at
>>the "micro" level, ...
>How would you describe the "micro" level you heard, eg was it
>motivic or some such. Did it emphasize local elements? What
>qualities drew your attention to that "level" whatever it is?

At first it was related to the segregation of the chiff from the
sustained sound of the recorder I played. This became connected (in
certain circumstances) to the tone, and the differentiation of
articulations was present -- legato, separated, staccato ...

In the pitch domain, with the piano, it was a matter of integration
of the partials into (and the detection of) the fundamental. It
appears that I had to teach myself the concept of the missing

>>At the level of (for example) instruments, the struck bell is a
>>form of the (single) impulse variety. Energy enters the system and
>>is lost over time. (A transient source.)
>And why do you like this?

It feels like a number of bodily functions, among them the cough, the
sneeze, the fart, ... and it's a bit like falling, or sliding down a

>Or are you saying that it's not relevant, because compositions can be
>looked at as physical systems, or studied as natural phenomena?

Different strokes for different folks. In my teaching (a central
concern), I work to expand modes and modalities of perception and
representation. Some gifted individuals can do things will relative
ease and not always a profoundly articulable way of describing the
why's and wherefore's. i found found this 'skill' to be something
akin to absolute pitch. There are those of us who have (possibly
relatively good) relative pitch, and those people who have the
perceptual capacity of "absolute pitch". (This can be extended to the
spectral domain, but that is another thread.)

>The problem is this. Are there some moments in the piece that are
>more salient for you than others -- the dissonant climax section in
>the eroica, eg, as opposed to the first statement of the second

I will return to the food / taste analogy. My mouth quite enjoys
"bitter" (I eat lemons and wince at the rind of grapefruit), but
cannot have celery nearby, at all. These for me are a type of
"absolute pitch" response.

Before I knew more, (which was about 3 minutes ago), I had favorite
"little bits" of pieces, as I had favorite "little bits" of journeys.
I could relive these moments by calling them up in my mind.
(Similarly, maps do contain narrative structures for me, and these
narrative structures change over time, and with familiarity.)

As I listened to more and more if the "filling" between the 'good
bits' of the piece, I developed an ability to recognize and feel the
different "characters" of the sections of a work. Some were easier to
recall, some have required 25 - 40 years to flesh out.

(There is a secondary or transitional section in the slow movement of
the Beethoven Ninth that I didn't recall ever having heard until
about 2 years ago ... it was one of those 'forgotten' or 'invisible'
sections. On the other hand, I (somehow) almost memorized that Grosse
Fuge in 2 hearings -- not in enormous detail, but it was "in place"
very quickly. Some pieces have yet to be "in place".)

>This preferential ranking of what takes place in the music is, I'm
>suggesting, a strong candidate for "a way of listening that the
>majority practices."

I have agreed with your proposition all along.

>The notion that we all hear differently doesn't explain the
>existence of stylistic cohesion as in EA.

For me, this is the wrong question. This notion may be related to
only listening to certain (small) amounts of ea composition. Being in
fortunate position, I get to hear (and often listen to) 400 - 800 new
pieces per year, and have done over a long period of time. And these
works are not limited to "those pieces sent to competitions and

The concert venue (and conferences / festivals etc) have defined the
'norms' of ea production aimed at conferences and festivals. I have
pieces that would not get programed simply because of their length
(40 minutes), or their "relaxed tone and length" (90 minutes plus).

The sociology of concerts is well known, but I feel not well
documented, from what I have read.

What kinds of pieces can be performed out of doors on a Sunday
afternoon and indoors on a cold February night?

What kinds of pieces will allow the audience to talk through them?

What kinds of pieces require specific knowledge of a particular
foreign language? While we may listen to Schubert, how many
non-German speakers know what the text of Gesang is (about)?

The 'cohesion' may be an aspect of 'other forces'. As was mentioned
previously, I have little contact with composers of "electro-acoustic
music". The students I work with do live ea / video, write in PD,
create sounds for video / computer games, work in soundscaping,
create pieces that would be right at home in a Communication Studies
bash at a local bar, sound for animation, installations, performance
art, cyber and mediatic arts ...

I do not find this "stylistic cohesion" in ea. There may be cohesion
in 'acousmatic' art, but the parameters of this style have been
carefully documented for the past 25 years.

>>It strikes me that when Eliot looks for "new ideas", it is somehow
>>reflecting where his mind is, as my writing reflects where my mind
>But perhaps, as Lennon said, "I'm not the only one."

I think that's a misquote ... it's as Stalin said "I am the only
one.", or as Ives said "I am only one", or as Roy Orbison said. "Only
the lonely". (*)

>For example, I especially happen to like the dissonant climax inthe eroica.

But Eliot, I haven't wanted to mention this before, but, is it
possibly that you are (simply) weird? <<<8-()>>>>>



(*) Dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah
Only the lonely

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