John King composed 14 pieces last year which clock in at more than six hours. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To date he has created well over 200 works in a staggering array of styles and formats–from 28 string quartets and 7 experimental operas to electric guitar solos, orchestra pieces, canons for chorus, and even a few Baroque imitations and a North Indian classical raga exposition. What ties most of his work together is a commitment to indeterminate processes.
New Music USA has announced its sixth round of project grants awards, totaling $310,820 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 60 awarded projects include concerts and recordings as well as dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element.
Narrative structure and pitch specificity are now rarely considered in electroacoustic music. To claim that pitch specificity is important is to risk being labeled a reactionary or, worse yet, conventional. An even more profound change has taken place in our discourse regarding time. There is the strong suggestion that it is quaint to think of music as a narrative form, unfolding in time.
The first half of the 20th century saw the demise of the great operatic heroine and out of the fracture arose a focus on male roles, ensemble casts, and female roles singing in a completely new way. And as opera became a more racially integrated affair, new disconnects emerged while similarly allowing for new audiences to see their bodies presented as operatic vehicles.
Timbre and envelope are intricately related and are major determinants of how effective a sound event in music will be, whether in acoustic music or electroacoustic music. Since the sound events used in electroacoustic music often have little or no distinct pitch characteristics, traditional contrapuntal sequencing devices often may not generate identifiable or interesting variations, but other techniques, including models borrowed from rhetoric, can be used effectively.
Because of Babbitt and others, contemporary music gained access to academia and did find some solace, but the price of admission was nevertheless very high. By fundamentally treating contemporary music as a field of scientistic exploration, this type of music neglected most of its bonds with modernity and its emancipatory project based on self-critique.