Re: Prix XX

Subject: Re: Prix XX
From: Michael A. Thompson (
Date: Wed Jul 07 1999 - 18:16:04 EDT

Anomalous Records Eric wrote:

> >And what is this "academic music"? Ask composers. Do they really make
> >academic stuff? And do they really call what they do that way?
> I think the one thing possibly dividing things into academic and otherwise
> is what goes into it before hand. Generally an academic CD is composed and
> there are all kinds of considerations towards techniques, methods and so
> forth. More specifically it often is more concerned with the methods of
> creation and the atomistic viewing of each element. While the more
> 'popular' trends tend to be self taught and concerned with the end sounds,
> not so often composed but improvised, and learning about methods by trying
> them out. More of a gut feeling than a cerebral one. These are very black
> and white opposite extremes examples, and as anyone should now, in real
> life one almost never sees the two extremes of duality but rather a mixture
> of the two.

By the description above it seems that I am not "academic" but "popular" in my
compositional approach. I think the major record companies would have a hard
time dealing with my music being called "popular" or "commercial" because it
comes from a different "institution" than the "institution" they are used to
hearing and dealing with.

What I'm trying to say is that popular music is an "institution" with an
active "academy". It might not be taught in a physical "institution" but it
is an "institution" non the less. Popular music, just like any music, has a
certain rule base for its music. It has certain expectations that must be meet
to be called "popular" or be accepted as "popular". These rules are learned by
the composers/writers of "popular" music. It is learned, practiced, and
taught just like any other form of art and the same can be said of the so
called "academic" music.
So, we are either talking about two academies or we are talking about the
projected monetary value in "popular" culture of one "art form" over the other
which has nothing to do with either "art form" from an "artistic" point of
view. We are judging this music based on how we think the mass population will
like the work and not on the work itself. Which I think is wrong for any type
of "art".

What makes music fit within any one academy anyway? and why should I care?

There are different forms of "popular music", why cant we have different forms
of "electronic music"?

This whole "popular" vs "academic" discussion on all of the electronic music
lists is really starting to get silly in my opinion. You cant argue personal
taste. Everybody has different tastes.

As far as Prix Ars goes, I say let them do what they want. It really should
not matter to artists if any prize compostitions exist anyway. We do it for
the art right? err.... No?.....


Michael A. Thompson
[IRIX - NeXTStep - Linux - MacOS - Windows]

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