RE: Meditation / Sports / Music and attention span

Subject: RE: Meditation / Sports / Music and attention span
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sat Nov 19 2005 - 23:47:19 EST

Some of this may be related to one's background and experience.

At 14:25 -0500 2005/11/19, Eldad Tsabary wrote:
>If music performance thickens the cortex in the areas of our brain
>related to attention and attention span (as does meditation and
>sports) do we not lose this important aspect of performance as
>composers of musique concrete, acousmatic works, EA (not EA sports)
>or any other form of performance without live components?

In my (rather limited) experience, composition was more demanding of
my attention than playing, but maybe playing an instrument is not
always really performance.

In the five recent concerts at Concordia, seven students did
stereo-projections of two of Annie Mahtani's pieces. Some had truly
exquisite moments, a couple maintained the level of aural focus that
was quite astounding. Part of the problem was that students had
little "practice" time before presentation. One student's projections
(he was able to do Surfacing three times) 'matured' over the three
days. His listening became more detailed with each performance.

Some students had done mental practice of the piece and it was clear
to my ears that they had become "one" with the inner workings of the

>I am not suggesting we certainly do ... ­ often I feel in a state
>similar to meditation in such concerts ­ as listener or as
>composer. But creating such music I find not to be as demanding in
>unbending attention as does practicing an instrument for example.

This is a point of view that is frequently encountered in discussions
between 'acoustic' musicians who have come to ea, and those who have
'grown up' with ea in their blood. I feel that the differences are
probably greater between individuals than between types of activity.
By this I mean that the 'detailed' mind will be as detailed whether
the medium is ea or acoustic.

If the ea composer uses standard or slightly modified patches /
plug-ins etc, and does not have experience with a lot of serious
micro-editing, then IME their work is closer to that of someone who
writes words without having a strong formation in articulatory
phonetics. The "word" becomes about the smallest building block of
the sonic vocabulary. (The /s/ assignment is designed to break
through this barrier.)

Thanks for the ideas.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:14 EST