Paper Session A – Cadman G027 Lecture Theatre – Tuesday 7th May – 2.30-4.00pm
Neal Spowage: Now I’m digital, where’s my ritual?
Unlike many techno-positivist, ephemeral, discrete and ubiquitous systems for music and performance, post-digital performance objects commonly have three important potentials for: — Agency: A thing (or person) that acts to produce a particular result. — Totemism: The foundations of a social system of obligation and restriction; the rituals, customs and taboos associated with this; often with family veneration and respect within tribes. — Ritual: Activities that convey the sense of re-connecting things, beings, and spheres of existence that once were close but somehow have come to be distant. I argue that performance objects and instruments can be seen as totems that offer instruction through agency and ritual, and that this is an important contributor an engaging performance. These important aspects have, to a large extent, been left out of instrument design with the march of discrete technology. Performance objects can take any form, although they often look like art and craft objects, junk sculptures, appropriated appliances and can even exist as the performance space. They allow artists to create and perform using externalist thinking and object orientated ontological practice. Their interaction/transaction with the performer creates levels of agency that materialise in the performance to lesser or greater degrees, dependent on the strength of totemic values inherent in the instruments. The strongest contribution creates performance specific devices where the instrument is the totem and agent, and the ritual is the making process and final performance. Totemism, agency and the process of ritual anchor the instrument to the composition and the space; I argue they are an essential, and often overlooked network of actions and objects that communicate ideas to the audience.
Dr Neal Spowage is an absurdist artist, musician, lecturer and associate of The Dirty Electronics Ensemble in Leicester, the Agony Art Collective in London and the DAP LAB at Brunel. He creates Sculptural Electronic Musical Instruments then composes works for them using the disciplines of Dance, Video Art and Live Art. Neal’s research interests include subversion, collaborative relationships, negotiating expertise between disciplines, all aspects of sound and kinetics, interaction and interference, objects as totems, junk sculpture and gender dynamics in performance.
Dave Holland: Developing a legacy for sound-based creativity in primary schools
This paper will focus on research at De Montfort University (DMU), in partnership with the Leicester-Shire Schools Music Service (LSMS) and funded by the Midlands4Cities Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship (CEEF) programme, concerned with increasing creative engagement with sound-based music (sbm) in primary schools. The project builds on the EU Interfaces project (a Creative Europe project concerned with bringing new music to new audiences) and other research conducted at DMU (Holland, 2016; Wolf, 2013; Therapontos, 2013;) concerned with increasing access to sbm in pedagogical contexts. The project aims to provide resources for teachers to deliver lessons focused on sound-based creativity, using a free and bespoke software (Compose with Sounds – DMU), to enable a wide range of children to creatively experience sbm. One of the key pedagogical benefits of sound-based music is that it enables pupils of all abilities to have the opportunity to be creative with sound without the need for previous musical training. Although sbm resources have been developed at DMU as part of the EARS 2 project for Key Stage 3 pupils and teachers, there remains an absence of materials at primary level. This presents a gap in the development of the required skills for, as well as, interest in sound-based music that this research hopes to address. The key output of the project will be to provide training and resources for primary teachers to use sbm to develop digital creativity in schools, but also enable the pupils to encounter examples of work by sound-based composers. The paper will give an overview of work in the Interfaces project and how this has led to working with the LSMS in the CEEF programme. Documentation from workshops and resource content will be presented and possible barriers to success (often relating to teacher’s knowledge and confidence in technology) will be discussed.
David Holland is an internationally performed composer and researcher with a particular interest in music technology and education. In 2017 he was awarded a PhD in the field of Music, Technology and Innovation from DMU, which was sponsored by the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. His research has focused on widening access to new forms of music and the powerful role that creativity can play in this. He received the Rolf Gehlhaar Award for Electronic Music Composition from Coventry University (UK) in 2010 and was a finalist in the 2014 Bangor Dylan Thomas Prize for Electroacoustic Composition at Bangor University (UK). He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at De Montfort University (DMU) (Leicester, UK) on the Creative Economy Engagement Programme funded by the Midlands4Cities partnership. He also works as a part-time lecturer at DMU and a researcher on the EU Interfaces project concerned with bringing new music to new audiences.
Emma Margetson: Sound Sculpture: an augmented reality soundwalk
The Sound Sculptures project was devised for Arts & Science Festival 2018 held at the University of Birmingham. This project explores the relationship between sound and sculpture through the creation of distinctive soundscapes inspired by individual sculptures found across the University campus. Sound Sculptures was disseminated via a variety of platforms including an augmented reality app and sound walks. The 2018 soundscapes are influenced by the characteristics and physical properties of each sculpture to stop/start between their natural and abstract sound-worlds. For 2019, this project will expand to explore themes of celebration, change, illumination, hope with a larger-scale composition being commissioned by Research and Cultural Collections for the opening of the Green Heart Festival at the University of Birmingham with the creation of a new work inspired by Ancestor I by Barbara Hepworth. Across all compositions each sound-sculpture combines sounds of the natural world and processed sounds, drawing on historical, physical and contextual aspects of each sculpture. Each sound-sculpture utilises site-specific recordings providing a deeper contextual link to its location. The paper will explore in detail a selection of the works with audio examples. Through members of the public engaging with the work via a variety of platforms this project has increased public engagement with the project and the University’s established Sculpture Trial. Whether this being as active participants on the sound walk or listening at home through Soundcloud this project has engaged with wider audiences and has encouraged active listening of electroacoustic works. This project is a collaboration between sound artists Emma Margetson & Nikki Sheth, the Arts & Science Festival, the Research and Cultural Collections department and the SOUNDwalker app.
Emma Margetson is an acousmatic composer based in Birmingham, UK. She is currently studying for a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Birmingham funded by the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Her research focuses on reaching new audiences through the medium of sound. Emma has collaborated with a variety of organisations including IKON gallery, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sampad. Her works are published with Urban Arts Berlin, Sonos Localia and obs акусма AUDIOR 068. Nikki Sheth is currently pursuing a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at The University of Birmingham. Her focus is on site-specific multichannel soundscape composition. She is investigating approaches to the treatment of field recordings within soundscape composition, including compositional methodologies used within electroacoustic music and those used within an installation context. She has extensive field recording experience having been on various field recording residencies, the most recent being a residency to Mmabolela, SA with Francisco Lopez.
Manoli Moriaty: Interspecific Interactions: interactive system design for sound and movement performance
Collaboration between practitioners of sound and movement is an approach with long history, with more recent endeavours giving rise to interfaces through which the two media can interact. From photoresistors initiating tape players in Variations V by John Cage and Merce Cunningham, to the employment of AI and biophysical Gesture Recognition Technologies (GRT) by Marco Donnarumma and Margherita Pevere in Eingeweide, such practices exist in the intersection between arts and technology, and have given rise to the development of bespoke systems facilitating interaction between sound and movement. As well as creative manifestations, the emergent transdisciplinary field has produced a wealth of research on technology, interface design, and creative implementations, with a particular focus on expressing sound through movement. However, less gravity is placed on collaborative perspectives; the different roles of each performer in operating an interface, and organising the modes of operation in respect to determining outcomes.
Drawing insight from my collaborative practice, I posit a framework of interaction strategies informed by symbiosis. The biological phenomenon describes the close and persistent interactions between distinct species, with the different types of symbiosis – mutualistic, commensalistic, and parasitic – determined according to each engaged organism’s fitness outcome. Having previously concentrated on the distinct modes of the collaborative process, this paper focuses on organising sound and movement through three symbiotic modes. Fitness outcome is interpreted as the level of expressive range allocated to each performer and their respective medium, while at the same time correlating to the level of determinacy from the score and choreography. From a mutualistic improvisation of indeterminate result, to a precisely determined parasitic performance, the symbiotic framework coalesces a broad spectrum of interactive technologies into three distinct modes of interaction, and facilitates an efficient approach in designing interactive systems.
Manoli Moriaty is a composer, performer, and researcher, focusing on the synergy of sonic and performance arts. Regularly collaborating with dancers and performance artists, his practice considers practitioners, media, and cultures as distinct organisms, and organises their engagement according to the spectrum of symbiotic interactions. He has performed internationally at diverse milieus, including collaborations and sound designs for playwright Jim Cartwright, choreographer Teresia Björk, and the Echo Echo Dance Company. His research is published by Taylor & Francis and Society of Artistic research, and is the founder of the Metanast collective, which has curated numerous concerts under the hospices of academic institutions. He recently completed a PhD on collaborative performance practice at the University of Salford, where he also teaches music performance, theatre practice, and multimedia collaboration.
Panel Discussion – Tuesday 7th May – 16:30-17:30
Chair: Monty Adkins
Panel: Manuella Blackburn, Rob Mackay and Sohrab Uduman
Paper Session B – Cadman G027 Lecture Theatre – Wednesday 8th May – 9:30-10:45
Nikos Stavropoulos: Working with microspace
This paper aims to present the notion of aural microspace, an area whose aural architecture is not accessible unless it is mediated by recording technology, and discuss the exploration of this concept in compositional practice.The author considers approaches in the organisation of acoustic space in electroacoustic music and suggests an integrative approach rooted in the ethos of musique concrète with reference to two acousmatic multichannel works, Topophilia and Karst Grotto. In this context, the signification of the musical text appears to have benefited by a perceived increased tangibility of sound materials employed in these works as a direct result of this approach.
Nikos Stavropoulos (b. 1975) is a composer of predominantly acousmatic and mixed music. His works are performed and acknowledged internationally (Bourges, 2000,2002, Metamorphose, Brussels 2002,2008,2016, SCRIME, Bordeaux 2003, Musica Miso, Potrugal, 2004, Punto de Encuentro Canarias International Electroacoustic Composition Competition 2008, Destellos Foundation 2015, 2016, Open Circuit 2016). Other interests include the performance practice of electroacoustic music, multichannel practices and teaching music and music technology. He joined the Music, Sound & Performance Group at Leeds Beckett University in 2006 and is a founding member of the Echochroma New Music Research Group, a member of the Irish, Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA) and the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (HELMCA).
Josh Gledhill: Let’s stop reinventing the wheel
For many centuries, music notation has been around in one form or another. In the last 30 years, development of digital musical instruments (DMIs) have desired for a new way of notating music. There is a rich body of work into the creation of DMIs due to the NIME conference. However many of these instruments have very little or no ancestry to each other at all. There has been rapid development of new digital musical instruments, however factors such as standardisation, notation and repertoire seems to have had very little research conducted on them. Instead researchers seem to just keep re-inventing the wheel on these particular areas. Jorda (2004) talks about the ‘Macro-diversity (MacD)’ rating. He states ‘Macro-diversity determines the flexibility of an instrument to be played in different contexts, musical styles or assuming varied roles’. The assumed MacD level of a DMI is to be low due to the lack of flexibility of the instrument, where as a traditional musical instrument such as a cello or piano would have a higher MacD level. The higher MacD rating is due to them been able to play many different styles of music and in varying contexts. The presentation aims to address some of the issues raised by looking at the way stakeholders can play their role in developing DMIs MacD rating further. The presentation will touch on how designers can implement standardisation in order to form some sort of notation system, where repertoire can be formed by composers and performers. The presentation will also briefly discuss examples of where notation systems have been used. The presentation will close by examining areas of further research which academics and outside collaborators can explore in the future such as repertoire and further standardisation.
Josh completed his master’s degree in Music Production at Staffordshire University in March of 2018. Since last May, Josh has been working with Kris Halpin who uses the Mi.Mu Gloves, a gestural control interface. They have teamed up to work on Kris’s new show called ‘Dyskinetic.’ Josh’s research is based around gestural control and the standardisation of these gestural systems. Josh’s master’s thesis developed a standardised mapping framework for a gestural control system which he developed on his undergraduate degree. Since completing that research, Josh has been proactively researching the wider implications of standardisation within a SEN/D music educational setting.
John Dack: Schaeffer’s “Treatise on Musical Objects” and music theory
Pierre Schaeffer’s ‘Treatise on Musical Objects’ is regarded by many as his most important work. This is only true if we disregard his other book which are relevant to the development of how media such as cinema, television and, most importantly, the radio impacts on society in general. Nevertheless, my paper will concentrate on the specific relationship between Schaeffer’s ‘Treatise’ and music theory. This can be problematic, particularly as Schaeffer himself asserted that the ‘Treatise’ is not a ‘theory of music’ (the quotations marks are Schaeffer’s). I will, however, argue that the ‘Treatise’ clearly benefitted from the dual nature of music as both an art and a science – another theme underpinning Schaeffer’s writings. Indeed, the value of the ‘Treatise’ for musicians lies in Schaeffer’s insistence on asking fundamental questions relevant to all aspects of music. He adopted a position of Cartesian doubt where everything had to be interrogated and re-evaluated. Musicians were forced to re-assess the communicative potential of all sound material and go beyond a simplistic assumption that all perceptible characteristics are equivalent and that, for example, spectral detail and dynamic level can be used in the same way as pitch. Music theory thus becomes an active aural procedure. What Schaeffer provides for the contemporary musician is a range of methods for investigating the materials of music and how they might ultimately be formed into structures. The ‘Treatise on Musical Objects’, therefore, is not a work which sets out a single music theory. It investigates what Schaeffer called the ‘phenomenon of music’, an art form which is both scientific and sensory. The contemporary musician needs to understand how both interact.
John Dack: born 1950 in Kings Cross, London. Formerly employed as photographer’s assistant, grave-digger, guitar teacher. He studied music as a mature student at Middlesex Polytechnic. Subsequent studies led to a PhD in musicology with Denis Smalley, then a PGDiploma in Music Information Technology and MSc (City University), MMus in Theory and Analysis (Goldsmiths College), MA in Modern European Philosophy (Middlesex University). Formerly Senior Research Fellow, now Senior Lecturer (Music and Technology) at Middlesex University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Current research areas: electroacoustic music, sound art, ‘open’ forms in music and fine art. With Christine North he is the co-translator of key texts on electroacoustic music from French such as Pierre Schaeffer’s ‘In Search of a Concrete Music’ and ‘Treatise on Musical Objects’.
Paper Session C – Cadman G027 Lecture Theatre – Wednesday 8th May – 11:00-12:30
Rosalia Soria: Electroacoustic music for a broader audience
Mexican society is the result of a confluence of diverse races and cultures, mostly because of the Spanish colonisation. The great cultural diversity is considered a strength. However, different levels of discrimination towards the indigenous (indios) and morenos (people of dark skin) are present in daily life. I this piece I collect fragments of interviews with Mexicans who volunteered to share their own views and struggles regarding this matter. The idea is not only to raise awareness but also to give some advice on how to eradicate this problem that deeply affects Mexican society.
Rosalía is a Mexican electroacoustic composer and electronics engineer. She is currently a member of the Mexican National System of Art Creators. Her research is focused on multi-channel composition using state-space models for sound synthesis and transformations. She studied composition at the “Conservatorio de las Rosas” in Michoacán Mexico. She completed a MSc in Electrical Engineering at the UMSNH University in Mexico in 2010. In 2012 she received the prestigious PDS award from the University of Manchester, where she completed a PhD in Music at the NOVARS Research Centre in 2016. She has presented her works in various international festivals such as the Ars Electronica, “Sines and Squares Festival”, MANTIS festival at the University of Manchester, SONORITIES festival in United Kingdom and Kling Gut 2018 in Germany. Currently she is working on a portfolio of electroacoustic works addressing racism in Mexico.
Javier Alejandro Garavaglia: Musical engagement – a matter of education?
In my experience not only as composer of contemporary music (instrumental and electroacoustic) but also having taught this at HE level for decades, one of the main factors in regard to audiences’ engagement with music, not only contemporary/experimental but also “classical” (pre XX century music) is education. Without a musically oriented education at all levels, starting with primary schools, only music being streamed everywhere and by all media (internet, TV, radio and records) for the purposes of mainly huge economic profits can reach huge audiences. The main type of music massively put out there by the industry is pop music with its huge multiplicity of styles. There is a clear paradox between those huge advances in music technology and most of the music massively streamed out there (which, whether one likes it or not, is impossible to fully avoid contact with it): whilst the advances in technology offer a large number of advantages and can be used by almost anyone, this very fact makes e.g. that templates and loops in popular audio/MIDI sequencers (e.g. Logic) produce frequently massive repetition of musical patterns in each popular music song. Repetition is so massively embedded in popular music culture, that types of music not responding to such parameters may not seem familiar to non-musically educated audiences and therefore, neglected by our brains as uninteresting/non-engaging. The paper explains how the human brain reacts to repetition and other stimuli. It further explains how education and aural listening training can stimulate our brains for more complex understandings of music, for an engagement with more complex musical structures rather than mere repetition. This education/training also comprises aspects of music dramaturgy including how narrative musical intentions for genres of music outside the mainstream can be received and perceived by audiences.
Dr Javier Alejandro Garavaglia Composer and performer (viola/electronics) born in Buenos Aires, Argentina; he shares also the Italian and German citizenships. He lives between London (UK) and Köln (Germany). Compositions regularly performed in Europe, the Americas and Asia comprise: acousmatic/audiovisual music and compositions for solo instrument, ensembles & big orchestra with and/or without the inclusion of electronic media/live-electronics. Electroacoustic works on commercially available CD releases (Germany, USA, Argentina, Denmark). Research published in journals, books and online in Spanish, German and English. World leadership in the practice of full-automation of live-electronics. Current research in spatial audio: Granular Spatialisation – sound diffusion for High-Density Loudspeaker Arrays (HDLA), with compositions, a long article in Vol. 40:4 – Computer Music Journal and a paper for the ICMC 2016. http://icem.folkwang-uni.de/~gara/
Carola Boehm: Engagement with Contemporary Practices in an Era of Culture 3.0
Contemporary music making in the UK lives in the intersections between university, society, industry and state. Inherently permeable, it asks constantly for an audience. Culturally diverse, it reaches from big commercially funded interests to niche, state-patronised experimental music composers. Its actors live and survive through being social, academic and business entrepreneurs within a seamless continuum. Digitality extends its reach, specifically in music practices that are technologically diverse in its content, mediation, dissemination and consumption. The question of engagement could thus be informed by considering the question of patronage, access and gatekeeping. Are we – as Luigi Sacco (2011) contents – still too hung up on Culture 1.0 (with a key aspect being gatekeeping and patronage) and is this holding Europe back in terms of productivity by constraining cultural engagement? And in the UK, are we – as I have suggested before (Boehm, 2017) – ‘hung up’ on Culture 2.0 (key aspects being gatekeeping, mass production and copyright) with less, but similar negative effects on nationally dispersed productivity. And for the future, do we need, as Sacco advocates, a move towards a ‘digitally enabled’ Culture 3.0, characterised by using open platforms, democratic systems, ubiquitously available production tools and individuals constantly shifting and renegotiating their roles between producing and consuming content. Can we use new forms of ‘culture’ that do not differentiate between content, dissemination and consumption – that of Culture 3.0 – to increase engagement, and thus increase productivity, innovation and wellbeing? This presentation will challenge our current western models of how we make music and its consumption sustainable. It will explore how this has limited our engagement by introducing gatekeeping functions. It will attempt to navigate a way forward into the future, which is already beginning to be filled by examples where the music sector has used Culture 3.0 to pave a way towards a heightened engagement, increase in productivity, more access and wellbeing.
Carola Boehm is Professor of Arts and Higher Education at Staffordshire University. She holds degrees in music, computer science and electrical engineering. She has held positions at the Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Glasgow, the University of Mainz, the Conservatory of Music in Hanover and Den Haag. as well as being self-employed in the 90s. Her public output includes more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and she is regularly invited to give key note papers at various music technology conferences. She regularly peer reviews for EPSRC and AHRC, as well for EU research frameworks. She has coordinated more than 20 collaborative projects, gaining funding from the EC, EPSRC, SHEFC, JISC, British Library, HEA, EU, and HLF. She is a founding member of the Society for Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education, a member the Society of Research into Higher Education, the International Computer Music Association, and Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. Her research areas include music technology education, methodologies for designing music systems, music and wellbeing and the interplay of interdisciplinarity, creativity and technology in higher education. Her most recent work considers the role that universities play in our creative society, including Culture 3.0 concepts applied to the creative industries, partnership models and creative innovation for second order cities.
Duncan Chapman: Music for young players: glimpses of a potential future
The 1960’s and 1970’s were a particularly fruitful time for music education. Music in schools was starting to become less of an exercise in musicology, theory and history and move towards being a subject that embraced composition, improvisation and musics outside the Western Classical tradition. To encourage experimental approaches and connections to the new music of the time, Universal Edition published a series of pieces intended for classroom use. Designed to be accessible to both children with, or without, previous musical experience something that continues to be an important feature of much participatory music today. These pieces represent a moment in music education history where composition had the potential of becoming a core part of what was practised in schools as music education moved from a musicological approach to one regarding music as a practical subject. So what became of the optimism that inspired the commissioning of new works in the spirit of the music of the time and are there any things we can take from this work today? Some recent actions: In more recent years the development and availability of technology has made some of these approaches more and more relevant particularly in the area of “Sound Based Music”. In the past few years, I have been collecting these pieces, using some of them in workshops and projects in schools and with groups of young people.Thinking about the theme of Engagement I would like to talk about how these pieces represent a way of connecting with a wide range of people including those for whom “contemporary music” is completely new. I would also like to talk about how this approach has informed my own practice by discussing how context rather than genre is what connects or disconnects potential audiences and participants.
Duncan Chapman is a composer and sound artist who regularly works with leading music organisations throughout the world. Much of his work results in sound installations, recordings and live performances. Recent projects include co-directing large-scale performance projects for Casa da Música (Porto) and at the 2018 Sonophilia festival in Lincoln. Other projects include Dark Januaries, an annual personal composition project with Isabel Jones ; Rising Breath with Stewart Collinson and Mike McInerney Performances with Supriya Nagarajan (Manasamitra) for the Lullabies project in the UK and at the Ultima Festival (Oslo); the Kamppi “Chapel of Silence” (Helsinki) and orchestration of Indian lullabies (Iceland Symphony Orchestra). The audio-visual piece Mode 5 Down the Mountain was selected for the 2016 Drone Cinema Festival and released on a Silent Records compilation. Duncan is a contributor to courses at De Montfort & York Universities and has been involved in many music education development projects with Sonic Arts Network (Sonic Postcards) Sound and Music (Minute of Listening, Listen Imagine Compose) and Aberdeen, Goldsmiths and Limerick Universities. Current projects include: performance at HCMF further work with the Lullabies project in the UK and Portugal, ongoing work with De Montfort University on the pan-Eu Interfaces project and mentoring two composers (for Sound and Music) writing pieces for the Paraorchestra.
Paper Session D – Cadman G027 Lecture Theatre – Wednesday 8th May – 13:30-14:45
Mike McInerney: Finding a point of engagement between electronic sound and acoustic performance
Providing a contextual bridge that connects new electronic music into an established tradition of reception may be one way to tackle the perceived problem of its ‘difficulty’. In such a situation, arguably the most important quality in the ‘host’ tradition is that it prove sympathetic to our aesthetic aims and processes. The Japanese shakuhachi flute, particularly in its Zen-influenced Hon Kyoku tradition, supplies such a linking point. Albeit with different expectations, and from a fundamentally different aesthetic stance, the traditional Japanese music of the Zen tradition also concerns itself with matters of noise, human presence, sonic nuance and the ‘local/field’ paradigm, identified in Simon Emmerson’s Living Electronic Music as a ‘primary distinction in terminology’ for live electroacoustic music. In this paper I will analyse a number of recent collaborations with electronic and electro-acoustic musicians in the light of these themes, including ‘Rain’ (2017), composed in collaboration with the electronic sound artist Duncan Chapman for performance by our shakuhachi and technology duo, QuietKnot.
Mike McInerney (www.mikemcinerney.com) is a shakuhachi player and electro-acoustic composer. His Logothetis Ensemble electro-acoustic quartet were the featured music artists at the 2017 UNESCO World Humanities Conference. Other recent events include new music for shakuhachi and Aum guitar at Plymouth University Music Week 2018 and a touring performance for shakuhachi, drones and Carnatic singer with composer Duncan Chapman and singer Supriya Nagarajan. Mike is subject lead in music composition with Plymouth University.
John Young: Terms of endearment
Terms to identify tools, objects and structures are common to all human endeavour. They help us to connect ideas and to articulate purpose and meaning. Many explanatory terms, labels and forms of jargon have flourished for the description of sound materials since the first developments of theory in electroacoustic music. As in all music, they have become central to the very notion of theory itself. We might assume several distinct needs for such terminology in electroacoustic music: – Differentiation of sound materials when any kind of sound is potentially at the composer’s disposal. – Legitimation of our artistic products and the materials on which it is based within the wider range of musical practices. – Defining a descriptive language that can encourage engagement of a genreal public with a relatively marginal field. In general, electroacoustic music terminology relies on analogy. Both Wishart’s ‘natural sound morphology’ and Smalley’s ‘spectromorphology’, for example, make use of analogy—though with varying specificity of linguistic imagery. Schaeffer expressed the view that resorting to analogy was a kind of ‘failure’ to deal with the sound object in-and-of-itself. Indeed, even by using the term ‘morphology’ we perhaps tend to connect the shaping in time of sound with visual notions of physical outline. While these terms do provide a basis on which discussion and evaluation of a musical experience can take place, they may also be taken to imply how we should focus our listening, or how creative practices should proceed (sometimes eliciting a negative a reaction that over the years I have witnessed in students). Further difficulties can be encountered where terms overlapping with those found in other musical fields are put forward (consider the meanings of ‘modulation’) or when very precise definitions point to other underlying terminological distinctions (consider Schaeffer’s terms ‘transformation’ and ‘transmutation’). The paper concludes that language is an important mechanism for the externalisation of the visceral nature of musical experience, serving engagement between specialists and practitioners, and well as that between practitioners and audiences. However, although terms, analogies and categories serve the intention of identifying and discriminating between the elements and processes of musical structures, there is need for greater critical judgement in reaching a state where terms are sufficiently appreciated, cross-referenced and valorised.
John Young is a composer whose output includes multi-channel acousmatic pieces, large-scale radiophonic work, and music combining instruments and electroacoustic sounds. His music focuses on the use computer technology to transform, disassemble and reassemble sounds in new ways to create sonic drama and musical development. Some of his recent work has used oral history and archival recordings in a narrative-based approach to electroacoustic music. John is currently Professor of Composition in the Institute for Sonic Creativity at De Montfort University, Leicester, having previously been Senior Lecturer and Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Recent works include the 22.2 channel Abwesenheit (2017) created for the Vienna Acousmonium, Magnetic Resonance (2017) in collaboration with pianist Xenia Pestova (University of Nottingham) and Andrew McPherson (Queen Mary University London), Spirit for orchestra and electroacoustic sounds (2018) commissioned and premiered by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (New Zealand) and the 16 channel acousmatic Sweet Anticipation, premiered at Sound Junction in Sheffield (2018). Two solo discs of his work are available on the Empreintes Digitales label: La limite du bruit and Lieu-temps http://www.electrocd.com/en/bio/young_jo/discog/
Bennett Hogg: Who cares how we listen?
There is, at the end of the day, nothing morally wrong with Babbitt’s position, but the question he asks and the conclusions he arrives at are, I argue, not of pressing importance to us. A more fruitful question to ask today is “Who cares how you listen?” One effect of Babbitt’s essay – and in countless essays and governemntal arts policies since – has been the uncritical assumption that music is an artistic product, made for an audience that does not participate materially in its creation. We are currently in the initial throes of an environmental crisis whose roots do not lie exclusively in the technologies dependent upon fossil fuels who attract the main blame. As such diverse authors as Val Plumwood, LynnWhite Jnr., Timothy Morton, and David Abram have argued, our environmental crisis is also built on certain cultural attitudes, one of the central ones being the alienation of humans from “nature” (the nature culture divide), and the division of subject and object that underwrites this alienation. I will speculate that given the extent to which we learn to listen by making sound, drawing on the experience of “Landscape Quartet”, an AHRC-funded project I led in which improvising musicians tune in to and make sounds in response to the soundscape. I argue that such a practice can shift awareness away from the soundscape – and by implication trhe environment – as something “out there” we listen to “as though it were music” (Schafer, Cage, Oliveros) towards something we are participants in, something that is changed by what we do.
Bennett Hogg is a composer and theorist interesteded in sound/music and place, and sound/music and nature. He directed “Landscape Quartet” (2012-2014), an AHRC-funded project focussed on sound art in natural environments, and held an Austrian Science Fund fellowship at Kunst Universitat, Graz, working on the “Emotional Improvisation” project, led by Prof Deniz Peters (2014). His academic writing draws on phenomenology and psychoanalysis, and his creative work ranges from experimental environmental sound works, through free improvisation and sound installations, to a more “conservative” voice in instrumental composition, long-running collaborations with visual artist Mike Collier, and folk music. Recent publications have included “Geographies of Silence” for the Routledge Sound Studies Reader and “They Call Us By Our Names: Technology, Memory and Metempsychosis” for the Oxford Handbook on Sound and Imagination. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University.
Keynote: Simon Emmerson: Elites and minorities (in the age of the ubiquitous loudspeaker) – Cadman G027 Lecture Theatre – 15:00-16:00
The notion of ‘popularity’ is complex and deceptive. Clearly it is important if one seeks to monetise a product. But listening (indeed music) is a process not a product – so this gets more slippery. It is 50 years since I first heard electronic music. Then you had to choose to be in a room with a loudspeaker. Now you have to choose not to. The original aura of mediated sound has been lost.
Minorities are important – no, more than that – essential, vital. Without minority contributions we would have less chance of renewal, evolution, adaptation, challenge, creativity, innovation. There are, of course, a myriad of minority interests and tastes in music. Some grow while others are threatened with extinction. My argument applies equally to many traditional musics. Perhaps the question shifts – protecting a particular kind of minority music is becoming difficult, even contentious. Here we encounter the problematic notion of elite – I want to avoid it but I can’t.
We need to nurture, encourage, network, develop. But also defend, advocate, argue, – in a sometimes hostile environment. Not kinds of music, but kinds of creative music practice. Not whether the music ‘communicates’ but whether the practices of making music can be more widely shared.
Simon Emmerson came to De Montfort as Research Professor in November 2004 after many years as Electroacoustic Music Studio Director at City University, London. He originally studied sciences and music education at Cambridge before completing a PhD in Electronic Music at City. As a composer he is committed to live performance with electronics and has now forty years of work reflecting the changing technology of music; commissions include works for the Smith Quartet, Philip Sheppard (electric cello), Philip Mead (piano) with the Royal Northern College of Music Brass Quintet, Darragh Morgan (violin) and Keynote+ (Jane Chapman and Kate Ryder – harpsichord and piano) and Sond’Ar-te Ensemble (Lisbon). He has also completed purely electroacoustic commissions from the IMEB (Bourges), the GRM (Paris) and the Inventionen Festival (Berlin). CDs of his works have been issued by Continuum (1993) and Sargasso (2007 and 2008). He contributed to and edited The Language of Electroacoustic Music in 1986 (Macmillan, still in print) and Music, Electronic Media and Culture(Ashgate (now Routledge), 2000). His book Living Electronic Music was published by Ashgate (now Routledge) in 2007. As an outcome of a major AHRC-supported project (2010-2013), he was co-editor and contributor to Expanding the Horizon of Electroacoustic Music Analysis (CUP, 2016) and has contributed many further papers and chapters to publications on live electronics, performance, listening, and gender. He has also contributed to Computer Music Journal, Contemporary Music Review and the Journal of New Music Research. He was founder Secretary of EMAS (The Electroacoustic Music Association of Great Britain) in 1979, and served on the Board of Sonic Arts Network from its inception until 2004. He was a Trustee of its successor organisation ‘Sound and Music’ 2008-2013. In 2009-2010 he was DAAD Edgar Varese Visiting Professor at the TU, Berlin. He was visiting Professor and Composer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth) in November 2016. He gave the keynote addresses at the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2011 (Auckland) and the International Computer Music Conference 2011 (Huddersfield), Music Science Technology 2012 (São Paulo), WOCMAT 2012 (Taiwan), Audiomostly 2014 (Aalborg), AHEM 2016 (London), BEAST Feast 2017 (Birmingham).