Media and Contemporary Practices of Sound Art I

Performer vs Electronics: performing music for instrument and electronics by Panayiotis Kokoras/ Electronic Music and Two Composers from Turkey by Seyit Yöre/ The creative listeners and their iPods: their music, their activities and their listening experiences by Nina Gram, Tuck Leong/ Duration and Dancing Bears: Halberstadt’s Cage, Inge’s Beethoven, Zimmer’s Piaf and Pittsinger’s Bieber by Chad Eby
Saturday, 17 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:20
Chair Person: 
Iannis Zannos
Panayiotis Kokoras
Seyit Yore
Nina Gram
Tuck Leong
Chad Eby

Performer vs Electronics: performing music for instrument and electronics

by Panayiotis Kokoras

More and more today performers are asked to perform compositions for instrument plus electronics. Are they ready to do so? A great deal of knowledge is required by a performer which at first looks like alien to what a performer is supposed to know. What a performer should know to accomplish such a project? How far a performer can go and how much a composer can ask for? How much a concert hall can offer? The focus of this research is on works for one instrument and electronics. They are not considered cases where the performer collaborates with the composer and researches in an institutional environment, or cases where ensembles or orchestras hire or have a person responsible for the electronic part. At the beginning of this research a large number of professional new music performers completed a questioner about their knowledge on computers, music technology, sound engineering , about the relative equipments they own like computer, keyboard, speakers, microphone and finally about their interest and will to program such a kind of works. Then, the paper investigates the challenges face a performer when he/she has to collaborate with a composer during the composition process, practice at home alone, and perform at concert hall. The analysis of the survey concludes to a mixture of high marks and the same time incapability to play a work with electronics. The second part of the paper takes as a case study my work ‘Hit the Beat’ for snaredrum and electronics (live and fixed). It explains shortly the way the piece uses the electronics and in more detail the way the score and the performance instructions provide enough information to a performer in order to practice and play the piece alone. As a result this analysis could work as guide for composer to illustrate and explain fully and simply the electronic part and the way the two can collaborate effectively. Finally, a number of ideas will be proposed to be considered in the music school curriculums in order to prepare future musicians to play properly and with no frustration works with instruments and electronics.

Electronic Music and Two Composers from Turkey

by Seyit Yöre

We know that electronic music is one of the styles in contemporary music, and it is composed in styles of both art music and popular music. Although there are its listeners in popular music, but they are at least in art music. So it can be told mostly. Electronic music started to compose firstly in the world at the beginnings of the twentieth century. Electromechanic instruments were produced like Teleharmonium between 1898 and 1912. Amplification of electrical signals, radio broadcasting, and electronic computation, amongst other things were used firstly in electronic music, they still have been used today. However, the first electronic instrument, called Theremin, was invented by Professor Léon Theremin between 1919 and 1920, and then the first work was composed by Joseph Schillinger for Theremin, First Airphonic Suite for Theremin and Orchestra, in 1929. After other electronic instrument, called Ondium Martenot, was invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928. It was used firstly in The Turangalîla-Symphonie composed by Olivier Messiaen from 1946 to 1948. Composer Ferruccio Busoni wrote firstly about electronic music in his book Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music in 1907.  It was discussed by some Italian futurists like Luigi Russolo, and he wrote The Art of Noises for electronic music in his manifesto in 1913. Despite all the debates, electronic music have been gone on until today. Over time, its various styles emerged that the styles are Musique concrète, Computer music, Live electronics Synthesizer, IRCAM, MIDI, Circuit bending, etc. from 1945 to 2000s. Such as electronic music is composed in the world, composed in Turkey, too. There are even two important composer from Turkey in electronic music, they made the works in USA. Bülent Arel,(1919-1990), studied in Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center 1959 to 1989, and he composed the works. His notable students are Daria Semegen, Conrad Cummings, Jing Jing Luo, Joël-François Durand, and Frederick Bianchi. As for İlhan Mimaroğlu, (1926), has studied and composed the works in Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center since 1960s. This descriptive study included information from general to specific on electronic music in musicology discipline.

The creative listeners and their iPods: their music, their activities and their listening experiences

by Nina Gram and Tuck Leong

The iPod and other mp3-players have now usurped other technologies as the device of choice for portable music listening. In fact, the iPod (as a brand) is almost a synonymous term for mp3-player [Abel, 2008]. Not only is listening to the iPod becoming ubiquitous, people’s listening experience has been dramatically transformed by being able to potentially access one’s entire digital music collection whilst listening on-the-move.

Most research of the iPod centers on how it could be used in various instrumental settings such as education [Miller & Piller, 2005]or its commercial success of the iPod [Reppel et al., 2006].  Others examine how iPod listening affords ability to create private auditory spaces and means to withdraw from public space [Bull, 2005, 2007]. However we argue that there is much more about digital music listening practices that is unexplored, especially people’s listening experiences when listening occurs within the heterogeneity of people’s quotidian lives.

We suggest that people’s iPod listening and their interactions with the iTunes management software result in experiences that are suffused with emotional, physical and social potential. Listeners can use music explicitly and tacitly in different situations in order to manage, enhance or facilitate different situations, affective states, processes or activities. In part, this is informed by listeners’ complex understanding of musical genre and style in their collection – an understanding cultivated through past personal or social experiences with music in different situations.

Our paper will first briefly survey existing literature on iPod digital music listening experience. This will serve as a point of departure for our empirical findings where we surface how this technology can influence how, why, when and where people listen in their quotidian lives. We will focus on the following themes connected to the iPod listening: Listening as a mundane activity, listeners intervening to reconfigure their listening experience and the affordances of the iPod technology. Finally this paper offers a perspective in discussing what music means to iPod users on an everyday basis.

Duration and Dancing Bears: Halberstadt’s Cage, Inge’s Beethoven, Zimmer’s Piaf and Pittsinger’s Bieber

by Chad Eby

This short paper is a meditation on the technology, impetus, and cultural resonance of time-stretched audio.  From the lead-weighted keys and reconfigurable organ being used to perform 639 years of John Cage’s As Slowly as Possible through Hans Zimmer’s cinematic manipulations of Edith Piaf, to the digital alchemy of Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch that was employed last year to transform Justin Bieber’s U Smile into 35:29 of lush and blurry ambient textures, a variety of tools and practices now exist to drastically alter the tempo of music without significantly disturbing its pitch.  What are the technosocial motives for the current heating up of slowed down sound?  Who benefits from these greatly elongated soundscapes?  And, in the context of the near instantaneity of the Internet, what does it mean?