Leonardo Music Journal

with Compact Disk

Volume 6 (1996)


Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ) is a print journal, published annually with an accompanying compact disk. LMJ is edited by Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, and published by the MIT Press. Subscriptions and individual issues can be ordered from the MIT Press.



Gerald Hartnett: Ballast Reduction and the Audio Arts

Artists' Articles

LYDIA AYERS: Merapi: A Composition for Gamelan and Computer-Generated Tape
After introducing the Indonesian source of inspiration behind Merapi, a composition for gamelan and computer-generated tape, the author discusses the tuning system for the pitches and the gong partials and explains the algorithmic process used to compose the piece. She concludes with a description of Merapi.

NEIL LEONARD III: A Personal Approach to Contemporary Jazz: Works for Saxophone and Computer-Controlled Electronics

Jazz is often at its best when stretched to incorporate elements that might at first seem foreign or even suspect. It is now clear that computers, critical doubts notwithstanding, provide an important way to extend jazz improvisation and compositional resources. This article discusses how the author's roots in the jazz tradition inform his work using saxophone and computer-controlled electronics. He examines two such works, which draw on diverse traditions and make use of computers to allow jazz to speak in new and different tongues.

Technical Articles

CHARLES AMES: Thresholds of Confidence: An Analysis of Statistical Methods for Composition: Part 2: Applications
This is Part 2 of a two-part analysis of serialism, randomness and statistical feedback. Part 1 developed the theoretical basis, which the present article applies to seven compositional scenarios. Scenarios 1--3 cover discrete distributions in static contexts and deem methods effective when they are able to utilize the least-weighted state at least once. Scenarios 4 and 5 cover continuous distributions, again in static contexts. These scenarios measure effectiveness by comparing the expected mean and variance with the statistics obtained from populations. Scenario 6 covers discrete distributions with evolving weights, with effectiveness being gauged through the number of samples required to establish a trend. Scenario 7 covers conditional distributions through the paradigm of the Markov chain. Here a realization is deemed effective if it represents the least-weighted transition at least once.

STEPHEN BROOKS and BRIAN J. ROSS: Automated Composition from Computer Models of Biological Behavior

The authors discuss two computer-generated compositions that model biological behavior using MWSCCS process algebra. Process algebra is used to model concurrent systems, of which music is a good example. The first composition discussed, Ant Music, is a musical interpretation of Tofts's formal simulation of insect behavior. The second composition, Zoion, is a musical rendition of the breeding and evolution of families of musical creatures.

AXEL MULDER: Getting a Grip on Alternate Controllers: Addressing the Variability of Gestural Expression in Musical Instrument Design

Existing musical instrument designs require the performer to adapt to the instrument rather than stretching the parameters of the instrument to make it adaptable to the needs or preferences of the performer. The author proposes a new approach to musical instrument design that addresses the variability and extent of gestural expression and movement capabilities of individual performers. The role of representation of musical performance in optimizing performer-instrument compatibility is discussed. The author then focuses on musical performance involving use of the human hand. Forms of hand movements are examined and separated into two types. This analysis leads to the definition of GRIP instruments, which allow a performer to reconfigure the instrument to accommodate his or her gestural preferences and/or capabilities.

Theoretical Perspective

JOEL CHADABE: The History of Electronic Music as a Reflection of Structural Paradigms
The author proposes that new and similar paradigms appear in all fields simultaneously. He posits that the two most important developments in the history of electronic music were (1) the opening up of music to all sounds and (2) the development of interactive instruments. He discusses the first development at length, suggesting ways in which it reflected general paradigm shifts in other fields. He then points to ways in which the second development may also reflect broad paradigm shifts, and concludes by speculating about the direction that such paradigmatic changes may be taking in our time.

Special Section: Leon Theremin, Pioneer of Electronic Art


BULAT GALEYEV: Light and Shadows of a Great Life: In Commemoration of the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Leon Theremin, Pioneer of Electronic Art


LEON THEREMIN: The Design of a Musical Instrument Based on Cathode Relays

Artist's Article

LYDIA KAVINA: My Experience with the Theremin
The author, the great-niece of Leon Theremin, inventor of the instrument of the same name, recounts her memories of Theremin and explains how he taught her to play the instrument at an early age. On the basis of her experience as a professional performer, she discusses various aspects of the instrument and its use, touching on the unique construction of the theremin and the qualities of its voice; its place in classical, electronic and popular music; methods of teaching and playing the instrument; and the current revival of interest in the theremin.

Historical Perspective

NATALIA NESTURKH: The Theremin and Its Inventor in Twentieth-Century Russia
The author, Leon Theremin's niece, discusses the development and use of the theremin in Russia. Following Theremin's invention of the instrument in 1920, the theremin enjoyed a brief period of rapid development that was soon hindered by the changing political climate in the Soviet Union, where Theremin himself was imprisoned and sequestered for over 20 years. However, both Theremin and his followers continued to experiment, teach and perform with the instrument throughout the greater part of the century. With the advent of perestroika came renewed interest in the theremin and in electronic music in general, a trend that has continued to date.

Music/Science Forum

ALEXANDER S. BELONENKO: The Electronic Music School Studio at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of St. Petersburg

BULAT M. GALEYEV: Melody-Drawing Transformation

DAN GILLARD: The Theremin Enthusiasts Club International

ANTHONY J. HENK: The Theremin in the United Kingdom

TATIANA KOMAROVA: The Electroacoustic Music Studio of Yekaterinburg

LYDIA LITYAGINA and NIKOLAI NAUMOV: The Graphovox System of Musical Transformation

ALEXANDER P. MENTYUKOV: Followers of Termen from Siberia

ANDRE SMIRNOV: The Theremin Center for Electroacoustic Music

SERGEI M. ZORIN: Optical Theater


Jason Barile, K. Kurlenya, Yuri V. Linnik, Matthias Sauer


Theremin Studies: Russian Bibliography (in English)

Theremin Studies: Russian Bibliography (in Russian)

International Theremin Resources

Theremin Discography

CD Companion


DOUGLAS KAHN: The Lyre's Island: Some Australian Music, Sound Art and Design

Artist's Article

PAUL CARTER: Speaking Pantomimes: Notes on The Calling to Come
The Calling to Come, a stereo-mix sound installation commissioned by the Museum of Sydney, represents an innovative approach to the performance of primary historical sources. The script, derived from the William Dawes language notebooks (1790--1792), explores the ambiguities of cross-cultural communication under colonialism. The work exploits the echoic mimicry characteristic of such situations. The technique of scripting, style of direction and use of environmental sound in The Calling to Come are described and located theoretically and biographically in terms of sound artist Paul Carter's previous work. The political implications of the work and public reaction to the installation are briefly summarized.

Technical Article

RAINER LINZ: Towards the Design of a Real-Time Interactive Performance Sound System
The author discusses a real-time interactive sound system designed for the performance artist Stelarc. The sound system creates sound intrinsic to the body's movement in space and is intended to augment Stelarc's software-driven muscle-stimulator system, which allows direct control of his body movement. A description of system-hardware requirements and general design principles, an overview of sensors and transducers, and a discussion of software requirements, control routines and sound design principles are included.



Contributors' Notes


Artists' Statements

PETER BOSCH and SIMONE SIMONS: The Electric Swaying Orchestra: A Music Machine with Certain Creative Powers

DAVID ROSSITER: Toward the Integrated Support of Computer Graphics and Computer Music Creativity



1996 Index

About the Cover

Percy Grainger, Drawing for Oscillator-Playing Tone Tool, 1st Experiment (experiment made 25 October 1951, sketched 25 November 1951), watercolor and ink. (From the collection of The Grainger Museum, The University of Melbourne. Copyright The Grainger Museum, The University of Melbourne. Reproduced with the kind permission of The Museum.)

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