Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 19 | Leonardo/ISAST

Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 19

December 2009

Contents

Introduction

Special Section

  • News and Olds from the Electronic Orchestra Pit
  • Nikolay Obukhov and the Croix Sonore
  • Artificial Analog Neural Network: Conceptual and Technical Considerations
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    How is our notion of sound art shaped by the current technological landscape, and what is the role of science and technology in the pursuit of new multidisciplinary works? The author meditates on the topics of sound art, sonification, interactivity and network sciences in order to contextualize the Artificial Analog Neural Network (AANN) project.

  • From Reproduction to Performance: Media-Specific Music for Compact Disc
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    When the compact disc was introduced in 1982, it was considered the first recording medium to vanish behind the audio information carried by it. Artists nevertheless discovered media-specific features unique to the CD. This paper focuses not so much on sound production (skipping CDs, glitches, etc.) as on musical form and listener participation in music for CD, which seems to have anticipated certain aspects of iPod culture.

  • In Between as a Permanent Status: Milan Adamčiak's Version of Intermedia
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    Milan Adamčiak is a Slovak composer, cellist and musicologist; creator of acoustic objects, installations and unconventional musical instruments; a performer, visual artist and experimental poet. Traditionally trained but influenced by Cagean and Fluxus poetics, he created from the late 1960s until the mid-1990s a large body of work that transgressed the conventional definitions of art creativity and quickly moved toward the concepts of opera aperta, action music and various intermedia forms. At the same time he was experimenting with electronic media, he created several pieces of electroacoustic music and musique concrète, but it was primarily live electronics that fit the principles of his radical poetics. The author considers Adamčiak's intermedia in the context of philosophical and aesthetical thought, revealing mutual correspondences, apparent as well as hidden.

  • The Blippoo Box: A Chaotic Electronic Music Instrument, Bent by Design
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    This article addresses the design of the Blippoo Box, an audio sound generator that operates according to the principles of chaos theory. By designing the Blippoo Box, the artist attempts to bridge a crossover space between abstract (sonic) art, music and artistic craftsmanship. In the hands of performing musicians the Blippoo Box becomes an electronic music instrument that invites performers to improvise with the chaotic nature of the box. Despite this chaotic behavior, the produced sounds have particular characteristics that are roughly predictable and enable a performer to build a performance around a composed scheme.

  • Sound Explorations: Windows into the Physicality of Sound
  • The Mysterious Power of the Infinitesimal
  • Infrasonic Music
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    Low-frequency sound on the cusp of the audible offers the possibility of redefining the way we think about listening to music. As the perception of pitch is lost in very low-frequency sound emissions, an opportunity arises for a different kind of music and a different way of listening. Low frequencies can be engaged to activate responses other than the aural or be used as a kind of “silent activator,” enabling or affecting other sounds. This article explores the possibilities for what may be called an “infrasonic music.”

  • Harnessing Waves and Elastic Space
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    The author describes examples of her sculptural and installation works, which involve acoustics, electronics, visual elements and elements from natural environments. She also provides a background of historical works and influences.

  • Reflections on the Sonic Commons
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    The authors discuss their large-scale public sound installations that transform city noise into spaces that encourage connection to our environment and our community through hearing.

  • The Institute of Sonology
  • Perspectives on Sound-Space: The Story of Acoustic Defense
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    The late 1920s yielded the development and construction of several large-scale “sound mirrors,” along the southeastern coast of Britain, aimed at intercepting sounds of approaching aircraft outside the visual range. A central mode in the design of these long-range listening devices emphasizes a sonic paradigm in which frequencies are considered in terms of corresponding physical sizes. By examining the case of the sound mirrors as a formative moment within the broader reconfiguration of listening habits, the author attempts to locate a shift in the grasp of space that occurs when an optic model of viewing is replaced with an acoustic model of listening, exposing a condition in which the close-at-hand and the far-off momentarily coincide.

  • The Stochastic Synthesis of Iannis Xenakis
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    In the late 1960s, composer, architect and theoretician Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001) began his research on stochastic synthesis: an approach to microsound synthesis that uses probability distributions to manipulate individual digital samples. He continued with this research for most of the 1970s and from the late 1980s until the end of his career. This article traces the aesthetic origins of this non-standard synthesis technique and gives a historical presentation of its development, including a discussion of the works in which Xenakis used it and a full description of the dynamic stochastic synthesis algorithms. In addition, a new extension of these techniques is put forward: the stochastic concatenation of dynamic stochastic synthesis.

  • Non-Standard Sound Synthesis with L-Systems
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    This paper presents a new non-standard technique for waveform synthesis in the time domain using L-systems, a formalism related to grammars, fractals and automata. This technique, developed as part of a larger-scale compositional system, is based on waveform segmentation and offers various methods for generating wavetables. The paper first introduces L-systems and some specifics of their interpretation and discusses extensions such as incorporating genetic algorithms and designing hierarchical L-systems and L-system networks. The second half describes the implementation model in detail, proposes some sound synthesis strategies and presents paths for further work.

LMJ On-Line Supplement

LMJ19 CD Companion: Listening for Music through Community

CD Contributors' Notes

2009 Leonardo and Leonardo Music Journal Author Index

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