Re: A Musicology of Ea/Cm

Subject: Re: A Musicology of Ea/Cm
From: Carlos Palombini (
Date: Mon Oct 11 1999 - 11:46:10 EDT

Hi Kevin,

Professor Leigh Landy is publishing or has published an article titled
'Reviewing the Musicology of Electroacoustic Music: a Plea for
Greater Triangulation' in *Organised Sound* 4 (1). He has been
kind enough to let me read a copy before publication and I have
replied with 'Ideas for a musicology of Electroacoustic Music: Notes
to a Reading of Landy', which has just been submitted to an American

The subject will be the highlight of the Seventh Brazilian Symposium on
Computer Music, which will be happening in Curitiba, the capital of the
Parana state, between 17 and 20 July 2000. (Preliminary call to follow
later this week).

In his article, Landy reviews the musicology of EA music --- 'any music
n which electricity has had some involvement in sound registration and/or
production other than that of simple microphone recording or amplification'
--- according to the traditional division of the discipline: historical
systematic musicology and ethnomusicology, plus critical musicology.

In my view, the musicology of EA music, like EA music itself, at least in
its concrete orientation, is a patchwork, a bricolage. In other words, the
musicological. Text reflects the musical Text, in the Barthesian sense.
Please note that I'm not speaking about computer music here. As such, it
certainly results from analogue recording procedures, as the musicological
text today results from select-copy-and-paste procedures. However, it might
be useful to ask to what extent such procedures, in general, result from a
certain worldview.


PS: pardon my ignorance, but what is 'photoshop music'?

> Some recent (private) discussions have brought up the topic of a
> 'musicology' of ea/cm, which raises the question as to whether there is a
> line in (present) music technology between R/D and the aesthetic which
> comes along with it. It may be a matter of 'profile' of the definition,
> rather than a single polarity.
> What will be the 'new musicology' of ea/cm. ? Does it have historical
> precedents? Can it be removed / separated from technological
> developments?
> Is there a history of ea/cm that can be removed from the development(s)
> of the technology. And there is the impact of Photoshop Music on the
> public. ?
> While Beethoven benefited from the engineering developments that built
> better bridges (because pianos could be made larger and louder), the
> technology was developed for quite a different field and applied by
> artisans (instrument manufacturers) to improve their product.
> The varispeed tape recorder, the sinetone bank, multi-track, DX-7, and
> digital delay lines (and their application in software) were directly
> applicable by composers, and were frequently the results of composer's
> requests (eg the MOOG sequencer 'commissioned' by Joel Chadabe).
> Thoughts?
> Best
> Kevin

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