Re: Source, Observances, etc


Subject: Re: Source, Observances, etc
From: KEVIN AUSTIN (KAUSTIN@vax2.concordia.ca)
Date: Fri Jul 30 1999 - 08:25:17 EDT


Eric also continued:

>Oh, about Dennis and software 'controlling' people's composing. No, there
>is no devil in there, but when you give people so much of the same
>equipment with so many similar built in choices, then tend to fall in the
>same direction. Downside of technology.

This is part of the on-going educational discussion. Someone paraphrased
the term "PhotoShop Music". My understanding of this analogy is that
prior to powerful, automated graphics tools, a high level of skill (be it
innate or trained) was required to do graphic representations.

Consider one visual arts exercise: Place a fresh egg on a large piece of
white cardboard; light it with one light; take a pencil and draw the
image. This is a 'black & white' exercise. The 'object' to be copied is
white, black and shades between.

This requires that the person drawing "not see" the objects, just the
play of white, black and shadow, and then transfer this to paper.

Electroacoustics education faces the same challenge: how to help the
student (aren't we all students?) cease hearing the 'symbol' of the
object, and seeing 'what is really there'. Enter into the two dimensional
world where there is no 'cause and effect', there is only "is".

A recent question from very skilled and highly gifted visual arts student
focused me (back) into the 'how' of teaching the art of 'seeing what is
there' (or rather, hearing). To hear the ocean and not think water.

This skill requires a degree of abstraction that is inherent in learning
species counterpoint, but not so much in powerful software packages, on
the surface. Max, eg, is an extremely powerful implementation of
information theory and mathematical models of random, weighted, filtered
and stored data, and the underlying basis of the Markov chain. Does the
student benefit from having a profound understanding of the intellectual
basis of this system?

How to make the bridge between the "emotional response" approach to
sound, and the "academic" (abstract approach).

Maybe starting from 'digital music' (oooopps!) is in some ways the same
as starting a visual arts student with a scanner rather than a pencil.

More later ... no doubt.

Best

Kevin
kaustin@vax2.concordia.ca



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