Re: "sh"ould/"c"ould - wood

Subject: Re: "sh"ould/"c"ould - wood
From: Rosemary Mountain (
Date: Fri Jun 25 1999 - 05:20:48 EDT

Stephen Rieck wrote:
> ....
> no matter what the details addressed in an EA/techno argument, nobody is
> likely to experience revelationary or revolutionary insight and change
> their work with sound as a result.

?? Actually, they might. I may be reading this wrong, but you seem to
be implying that working with sound is (should be?) carried out on an
exclusively sensory and intuitive level. If you talk to/ read about a
variety of composers (e.g.Xenakis) you will find that some composers are
in fact motivated/guided/inspired by a strong dosage of intellectual
reflection -- to the point of finding new sounds / forms because of
having an abstract thought. I don't think it's a necessary approach for
everyone, but it clearly helps some of us. (to be high quality, I think
there has to be a mix of intuition/conscious thought whose percentage
mix will depend on the personality involved, and maybe the target
         Talking about categories, for example, helps some of us think/explore
ideas, and we like to think (actively) while composing -- even treating
composition as another means of expressing thought. The fact that it is
impossible to completely objectify music does not mean that it is not
helpful to "play" with the categorizing. Ligeti and Stockhausen, among
others, developed their (respective) alternatives to serial music partly
through this device -- identifying textural properties such as "sticky",
"brittle" etc and then using these metaphors as ways to refine the
musical properties -- thereby developing a clearer relationship between
the implied characteristics and familiar environmental properties.
        I think the constant searching for definitions (esp on this list) is
undertaken not so much because we are all confused and bewildered, but
because the paths that our brains have to follow when trying to discover
a definition are pretty interesting, and can help each of us know where
we stand in relationship to it (and in some cases, for example, suddenly
realize that we're in unnecessarily confined corners of a much bigger

        From recent discussions, I conclude that the importance of knowing what
techno is will be most critical when identifying one's work for a
competition -- and there, it might be advantageous in some instances to
be misleading ...
        For the rest of the time, we will continue to like what we like --
those who think they are one type of composer/listener or another will
miss out on some good music.


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