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.
I’ve composed works using electroacoustic technologies since 1963, and I want to share with you over the next several weeks some of my thoughts about the current state of the medium. Since I am trained as a Western classical composer, my comments will be from that perspective. 1. Structural Issues in Current Electroacoustic Music The […]
I most often still catch myself calling it electronic music, even as that term has been appropriated by popular music. But I find the term electroacoustic music works best. It distinguishes what we do from “other” music, while attempting to encompass many modes of production and performance. The term has also come into wide and less controversial usage over the past twenty years (though not without some continued confusion).
I get a rush when I perform, especially premiering a new piece in front of an audience, or when the musicians that I’m playing with sound exceptionally good—when we are all gelling, the stars align and we’re breathing together, and that exact moment is the only moment and it is perfect. It’s a different feeling than when I’m in the audience, listening to others play the music I write down on paper. My heart races. Time slows down and I hold my breath. I am merely a witness to the music.