Tools for Organic Compos(t)ing

“Musical notation is one of the most amazing picture-language inventions of the human animal. It didn’t come into being of a moment but is the result of centuries of experimentation. It has never been quite satisfactory for the composer’s purposes and therefore the experiment continues. Why is this process frowned upon today? Must we alone […]

OBITUARY: Alan Lomax, beloved musicologist, 87

Alan Lomax, the beloved musicologist who brought countless folk and blues artists to the attention of the American public and preserved their work for the future, died July 20, 2002, at a nursing home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 87. So many of our readers have written to say how great an influence he had […]

How does using music notation software affect your music? Walter Thompson

Walter Thompson Photo by Nancy S. Donskoj I am a composer who works with an improvisation/composition system I’ve created called Sound Painting. I was recently asked to compose a Sound Painting for publication. In the process of preparing this piece, I came across some interesting problems using music notation software. The Sound Painting composing/conducting system is […]

How does using music notation software affect your music? Mary Ellen Childs

Mary Ellen Childs Photo by Warwick Green I love using notational software when I write traditionally notated instrumental pieces. However, I also write a lot of music that can’t be notated in any standard notation, mainly because movement is an integral part of my music and I often use invented playing techniques for percussionists. The “scores” […]

View From the West: Experimental Instruments and Sound Sculpture

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki Newly invented instruments offer a world of possibilities to composers. There may be a limited number of possibilities in terms of sound production (percussion, vibrating strings, or columns of air, and the like), but the potential forms and sonorous possibilities are virtually limitless. More than a handful of composers, sculptors, […]