Re: academics & computer music & genreism

Subject: Re: academics & computer music & genreism
From: Nye Parry (
Date: Fri Dec 17 1999 - 10:23:51 EST

On Thu, 16 Dec 1999, Hannah Bosma wrote:

> On ("publications") you can read the text "Why
> Computer Music Sucks" by Bob Ostertag, published in "Resonance magazine". A
> strong statement against academic computer music.

if you really want to...

seriously though (and I havn't read it yet though I have read the Ars
electronica jury statement which it inspired)
I suspect any tirade against any genre! (is academic cm a genre ?-
rhetorical question please don't open that can of worms again)

On the whole I think Genre - ism is akin to
racism: it condems one group of people for being different from
other groups of people, having different priorities, ways of looking at
things etc. It does this by looking at generalities and ignoring
particulars: all - ea is crap because it uses GRM tools shuffling
algorythms - what sort of analysis is that??? you could find good or bad
pieces that use GRM tools shuffling algorythms!
I am trying to think of legitimate complaints about particular genres as a
counter - example and all I can come up with are political arguments not
aesthetic ones (eg the right wing OI music of early eighties britain)
Genres are of course restrictive, they are defined by their resrictions
and one may well critcise the restrictions of a particular genre as
excluding possibilities that as an individual you find important, but
surely most good artists either
play with the restrictions of a chosen genre or don't worry and let their
music be categorised after the fact.
Certainly everything I have read that condems an entire genre has had a
very strong agenda in favour of another genre (not a very imaginative
stance, lets face it) and either
1. was basicly ignorant of that which it condemned
2. deliberately focused on bad instances of the genre (usually contrasting
them with particularly stunning examples of the genre of preference)
3. used criticisms that could apply to any genre, even the genre of
preference, (thus inadvertantly condemning the concept of genre, fine by
4. misapplied the terms of reference of the genre of preference to the
criticised genre.

who after all would spend enough time exposing themselves to a genre they
don't like, to be informed enough to really condemn it?

Nye Parry
City University &
Guildhall School of Music and Drama

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