Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 9

December 1999

Contents

  • Introduction: Power and Responsibility: Politics, Identity and Technology in Music
  • Faust Music On Line: An Approach to Real-Time Collective Composition on the Internet
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    Collective creation and the production of open and continuously evolving works are, according to the author, two of the major and more appealing artistic breakthroughs the Internet can offer to composers and creators in general. In this context, concepts such as authorship and copyright will necessarily have to evolve and adapt to a new reality. The author discusses an Internet project for real-time collective composition commissioned by La Fura dels Baus, which has been used for the soundtrack of La Fura's play F@ust 3.0.

  • Making Music on the Web
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    Cathedral is one of the first extended works of music and art created as a web site. On-line since June 1997, it includes both acoustic and computer music, live webcasts and newly created virtual instruments. The author discusses the conception and development of the site, and outlines future plans for a 48-hour web concert in 2001. Cathedral may be visited at http://www.monroestreet.com/Cathedral/home.html.

  • Free Enterprise: Virtual Capital and Counterfeit Music at the End of the Century
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    How does a piece of computer network music reflect the virtual economy of the late twentieth century? Was the “open-form” music of the 1960s a bedfellow of organizational science? The author conjectures about the nature of distributed composition and the socioeconomic implications of its application in a composition for networked credit card readers.

  • Talking Drum: A Local Area Network Music Installation
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    Talking Drum is an interactive computer network music installation designed for the diffusion of cyclically repeating rhythms produced by four electronically synchronized instruments separated by distances up to 50 feet (16 m). The reverberant character of the performance space and the distance-related time-delays between stations combine with the speed and rhythms of the music to create a complex, multifocal mix that audiences explore by moving independently through the installation. The software uses Afro-Cuban musical concepts as a model for creating an interactive drum machine. It implements a simple genetic algorithm to mediate the interaction between pre-composed and improvised rhythms.

  • BMB con.: Collaborative Experiences with Sound, Image and Space
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    The author outlines the history and methodologies of the Netherlands-based audio/visual performance group BMB con. He discusses the trio's approaches to audience relationships, technology and collaboration, and attempts to describe the nature of the sound of BMB con.

  • Reunion: John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Electronic Music and Chess
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    The author chronicles his involvement in Reunion, a 1968 collaborative performance featuring John Cage, Marcel Duchamp and Teeny Duchamp, with electronic music by David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, David Tudor and Lowell Cross. After addressing some misconceptions about Reunion, the author outlines specific details about the conditions surrounding the performance and the sound-distributing chessboard he built, then offers an interpretation of the event.

  • Beyond Asian American Jazz: My Musical and Political Changes in the Asian American Movement
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    The author addresses the interconnection between making revolutionary Asian American music and the conditions for its development as contextualized by the ideological and political orientation from the Movement and its organizations. He discusses his own musical and political development as a leading revolutionary Chinese/Asian American artist.

  • Global Village, Local Universe: A Statement of Identity
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    In this article, the author presents a personal view of his compositional identity as an instance of one of the innumerable possible outcomes within a civilization that has become global and individualistic at the same time. The author situates identity within the context of historical, political and social backgrounds and examines it from the point of view of the mechanics of its realization, social function and reach, and cultural baggage—including musical influences from various traditions, technology and science.

  • Music, Language and Environment
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    Interviewed by music journalist René van Peer, the composer and sound recordist David Dunn discusses the sound work he has done in natural environments, his motivations for doing this work, and the thoughts and theories he has developed from it. Most of these works are unique events created for a specific time and location or for specific circumstances. In these events, the sounds generated by the players set up interactions with their immediate surroundings. Soundscape recordings are another aspect of Dunn's work. His work in different natural and cultural environments has enabled him to research areas where music and language intersect.

  • Symphony Orchestras and Artist-Prophets: Cultural Isomorphism and the Allocation of Power in Music
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    The Vienna Philharmonic is the paradigm of the symphony orchestra. No other orchestra in the world has been so intimately involved with the composers and cultural developments that have defined the genre. Despite recent protests against the orchestra, it still excludes women and visible members of racial minorities based on its belief that gender and ethnic uniformity give it aesthetic superiority. The Vienna Philharmonic thus provides an interesting case study for the allocation of power in Western art music. In this article, the author documents the orchestra's ideologies and relates them to a general theory that the allocation of power in artistic expression is often culturally isomorphic with the larger values of the society in which that expression occurs. He then discusses how cultural isomorphism affects concepts of power allocation in the modernist and postmodernist mind-sets.

  • Parma Manifesto
  • Exploring the Self Through Algorithmic Composition
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    The author discusses his views on musical composition in the late twentieth century, focusing on the influence that communication and computer technology have had over his pursuit. He goes on to describe his use of computer-based algorithmic composition and how this particular approach enhances and refines his understanding of his own musical self-expression. He describes four computer algorithms, used in recent compositions and improvisations, that reflect his particular musical interests.

  • Change Over Time: Responsibility and Power in the Midst of Catastrophe
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    After outlining a background of catastrophe theory and its links to musical composition, the author presents a manifestation of those links in the form of a “catastrophe machine”—an interactive musical system in which abrupt changes in computer-generated sound processing are dependent upon performers' sensitive control of acoustic instruments. She then discusses notions of power and responsibility as they stem from a specific realization of this system, Berubah.

  • The Cultural Role and Communicative Properties of Scientifically Derived Compositional Theories
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    The role of science in the processes of musical creation is justifiable as a method of formalizing knowledge used for expressive purposes. The understanding of musical phenomena, however, should not be reduced to cognitive aspects or entrusted to a purely descriptive iteration; certain creative functions of musical composition go beyond the many degrees of control offered by the technologies of knowledge. The necessity of comparison with the cultural orientation of an audience, sometimes considered secondary by some, must remain integral. Our interest in qualitatively new creative and intellectual acts must not abandon the dialectical character of musical communication, which involves, among other things, a shared linguistic universe.

  • Improvising Machines: Spectral Dance and Token Objects
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    The author examines the evolution of a system he developed for the creation of two compositions, Spectral Dance and Token Objects, against a backdrop of other composers who have built their own electronic systems. This provides a window on the gradual transformation that has taken place in the way music has been created over the last three decades.

  • The Aesthetics and Technological Aspects of Virtual Musical Instruments: The Case of the SuperPolm MIDI Violin
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    The author discusses how his critical stance against conformity in computer-based interactive art eventually led him to create his own instrument as a way towards individual artistic sensitivity and thought. He first outlines the development and creation of a virtual musical instrument, the SuperPolm, as well as its technical points. He then addresses the relationship between gesture and music and the variety of human perceptual experiences that may occur during a performance on a virtual musical instrument. Finally the author presents the background of the SuperPolm's development and discusses cultural and technological aspects of interactivity.

  • De-Composing Opera/Re-Composing Listening: John Cage's Europeras
  • Information Systems Development and Music: The Exploration of a Parallelism
  • Unforeseen Music: The Autobiographical Notes of Jim Horton
  • Power and Responsibility: Conversations with Contributors
  • Small Manual of the Leonardo Music Media Journal Machine
  • 1999 AUTHOR INDEX

Responsibility

Identity

Technology

  • Facing the Music: Perspectives on Machine-Composed Music
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    The author describes some of the processes required in creating Experiments in Musical Intelligence, a computer program for the simulation of musical styles. He then outlines many of the problems listeners face when attempting to deal with successful output from such programs. These problems involve redefining terms, debating humanversus computer-creativity and, ultimately, grappling with the meaning of music. This discussion includes an example from the computer-composed opera Mahler. The author argues that such music should be considered integral to mainstream humancomposed music since it results from a collaboration between humans and the machines they have created.

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