PAE, music etc

Subject: PAE, music etc
From: Barrett NL (
Date: Thu Jul 01 1999 - 04:22:58 EDT

OK, maybe I am a little late on this as I have
only just caught up the Prix Ars recent discussion...

BUT, there is something in the back of my mind concerning
this talk of academic music, techno, results of Prix Ars etc,
and I am wondering if I am alone in the world in thinking like this,
or maybe this is a general thing understood by all, which doesn't
need stating. Well, here it is (non offensive comments welcome):

I have been trying to explore many different types of music which I think
many people are defining as 'non-academic' (i.e. what you might call
popular music, ambient, techno, cross-over electroacoustic etc). In 99% of
these styles I often hear some interesting sounds, some interesting
musical developments, but on the whole I'm sorry to say, short term
musical gratification is what I hear. Well, OK, maybe I should not feel
sad, as this is the idea of the music.

Now, if 'academic' music in fact equals long term music structure,
long term musical development, the unfolding of carefully sculpted
musical materials over the complete (e.g 7 minutes to 1 hour) duration,
and giving the opportunity for a listener to emotionally and maybe
even intellectually explore such concepts (as is the case with most
non-pop one hit, instant gratification musics even before Bach - and thats
not to say that 'academic' electroacoustic music, (nor Bach) does not
ALSO give instant gratification), then why is everyone so critical
of 'academic' electroacoustic music, and trying to evoke continual
cross-overs of styles? Surely the whole concept of 'pop' musics is to
appeal to the instant and not the long term, and the whole concept of
academic music, in fact equals 'serious' music, aimed at the listener
who wants to appreciate the long and even involved revealing of musical

OK, so... if a jury wants to promote the 'pop' style (see definition in
my rambling above), well thats their choice - video or no video. Its
us the composers and audience who give the Ars Elec its credibility,
and so, OK, they are now loosing their credibity in the 'serious' arts
(again see definition in my rambling above) society. Well, their loss!

And, yes, its great to mix styles of music in the same concert,
club, listening situation, because it introduces new music to new
people, but once cross-overs of e.g. techno
and electroacoustic materials happen in the same piece, all my
listening reveals that the serious electroacoustic now becomes
short term instant gratification pop, but never vice versa! i.e.
they are opposite philosophies. (This is not bashing popular art, which
has just an important possition in society as serious art).

OK, so to summarise: 1. If Ars Elec is not actually interested in serious
musics, well then fine, and after all it has now really been stated over
the past few years, so be it a competition now for instant gratification,
superficially structured music.

2. Can anyone give me examples of where cross-over musical styles have
yielded long term musical unfolding (other than drones, loops, repetitive
rhythmic cells)? I would like to hear!

Natasha Barrett


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