1906 Cahill’s Teleharmonium
telegraphs sounds. a fluke. way too expensive.
1919-­?20 (russian)
1928 (french)
Ondes Martenot
1929 (german)
The Trautonium
Two of these instruments have a conflicted pitch interface
both continuous pitch control and something resembling the keyboard show up on the ondes martenot (keyboard for discrete control and “ring mode” for continuous) and trautonium (metal bar for continuous and flanges over the metal bar for discrete). The Theremin provides only continuous pitch control.
electric guitar patented
musique concrete Pierre Schaeffer
a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as “musical” (melody, harmony, rhythm, metre and so on).
sound synthesis, music for many loudspeakers, music for combined live and electronic forces
1952 and 59
the Rockefeller Center funds Electronic Music Centers at Columbia-­?Princeton and Mills College respectively
Fluke pop records based on electronic sound
The In Sound from Way Out and Raymond Scott’s work / the Beatles and Wendy Carlos
the modular synthesizer
1. works by connecting signal generators creatively; any signal can control any other signal; any signal can be sent to a loudspeaker.
2.the buchla box (early sixties) did not have a keyboard. the moog synthesizer did.
Computer music
Max Mathews lets people into Bell Labs to compose in the middle of the night on an IBM 7094.
John Chowning
discovered frequency modulation synthesis and digital synthesis became less cpu intensive; the Yamah DX7 in the early 80s was cheap. Digital samplers and drum machines became more popular as computer memory grew.
early techno, minimal pop
Brian Eno
ambient music
creates graphical programming languages for composers
The Hub
Networked improvisations using simple microprocessor (as large as the chips in our coffee machines) programming.
Circuit Bending
the creative customization of the circuits within electronic devices such as low voltage, battery-powered guitar effects, children’s toys and small digital synthesizers to create new musical or visual instruments and sound generators
Despite this, small groups of artists and musicians continue to use these forgotten computers to produce audio and visual work.
Live coding
is the process of writing software in realtime, as a form of improvised time-based art.
Cage’s teachers
Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35)
Henry Cowell
prepared piano/ extended technique
john cage
as reaction (i.e. to background music) -­?as aesthetic position (any sound musical)
-­?reflection of silence as commodity?
The New York School
was an informal group of American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians active in the 1950s, 1960s in New York City. The poets, painters, composers, dancers, and musicians often drew inspiration from Surrealism and the contemporary avant-garde art movements
Feldman’s late music
very long works. over 30 min each.
Modernism and Postmodernism
Aleatoric (chance music)
is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realization is left to the determination of its performer(s).
John Cage’s use of chance
(Etudes Australes, Concert for piano and orchestra, etc.)
Serialism + chance
(Stockhausen Klavierstuck XI)
which denotes the pursuing the meaning of a text to the point of exposing the supposed contradictions and internal oppositions upon which it is founded—supposedly showing that those foundations are irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible.
is a German composer associated with musique concrete instrumentale.
Pression for cello (1969-70), Guero, piano study (1970)
“Zwei Gefuhle…”
Musik mit Leonardo, one quickly gets an overwhelming sense of a split consciousness at work, struggling to suture a cut between brain and hand;
Messiaen approach to rhythm pitch
His music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources); harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations.
Quartet for the End of Time
Messiaen; done behind german lines WWII
Vingt Regards
is a collection of pieces by the French composer Olivier Messiaen for solo piano. “Twenty gazes/contemplations on the infant Jesus”
He notated bird songs worldwide and incorporated birdsong transcriptions into most of his music.
Messiaen bio
a French composer, organist and ornithologist, widely regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century.
Ligeti bio
was a composer, born in a Hungarian Jewish family in Transylvania, Romania. He briefly lived in Hungary before later becoming an Austrian citizen. Many of his works are well known in classical music circles[citation needed], but to the general public, he is best-known for the various pieces featured in the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut
Musica Ricercata
piano cycle; Ligeti’s set comprises eleven pieces in all. The first uses almost exclusively just one pitch A, heard in multiple octaves. Only at the very end of the piece is a second note, D, heard. The second piece then uses three notes (E?, F?, and G), the third piece uses four, and so on, so that in the eleventh piece all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are present.
is a type of 20th century musical texture involving the use of sustained dissonant chords that shift slowly over time.; “resembles cluster chords, but differs in its use of moving rather than static lines”
Just intonation; equal temperament
any musical tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers. Any interval tuned in this way is called a just interval. The two notes in any just interval are members of the same harmonic series.
Harry Partch: instruments, tunings
writing much of his music for custom-made instruments that he built himself, tuned in 11-limit (43-tone) just intonation.
musical piece by harry partch; a work whose text comes from eight pieces of graffiti Partch had spotted on a highway railing in Barstow, California. The piece, originally for voice and guitar, was transcribed several times throughout the composer’s life as his collection of instruments grew.
La Monte Young
is an American composer and musician.
The Well-Tuned Piano
The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano
Riley:In C
In C is a semi-aleatoric musical piece composed by Terry Riley in 1964 for any number of people, although he suggests “a group of about 35 is desired if possible but smaller or larger groups will work”.[1] It is a response to the abstract academic serialist techniques used by composers in the mid-twentieth century and is often cited as the first minimalist composition.
“Music as a Gradual Process”
written by steve reich;
process music
is music that arises from a process, and more specifically, music that makes that process audible
Philip Glass
is an American music composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public
Philip Glass
is an American music composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public
Einstein on the Beach
is described by Glass as an “Opera in four acts for ensemble, chorus and soloists”.
1982 film; music composed by Philip Glass; Glass has become very famous for this.
Rzewski’s Les Moutons de Panurge
inspired decay music by brian eno
is a musical composition practice where compositional decisions are often informed by the analysis of sound spectra. Computer based sound spectrum analysis using a Fast Fourier transform is one of the more common methods used in generating descriptive data.
The Harmonic Series
Because of the typical spacing of the resonances, these frequencies are mostly limited to integer multiples, or harmonics, of the lowest frequency, and such multiples form the harmonic series (see harmonic series (mathematics)).
Helmholtz’description of timbre
“…the amplitude of the vibration determines the force or loudness,
and the period of vibration the pitch. Quality of tone can therefore
depend upon neither of these. The only possible hypothesis,
therefore; is that the quality of tone should depend upon the
manner in which the motion is performed within the period of each
single vibration.”
for six vocalists and six microphones, is a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen, written in 1968 and commissioned by the City of Cologne for the Collegium Vocale Koln
is a defining piece of Spectral music by Gerard Grisey whose opening is derived from an electronic sonogram analysis of the attack of a low E2 on a trombone. This spectrum is orchestrally synthesized through the assignation of different instruments to each partial in such a way as to harmonically and gesturally model the dynamic temporal evolution of the attack
Territoires de l’Oubli
is a massive exploration of the piano’s resonance, unfolding in a huge curve of continuously evolving textures.
Alvin Lucier
One of Lucier’s most important and best-known works is I am sitting in a room (1969), in which Lucier records himself narrating a text, and then plays the recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have a characteristic resonance (e.g., between a large hall and a small room), the effect is that certain frequencies are gradually emphasised as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself.
was a United States-born composer who lived and worked in Mexico for most of his life. He became a Mexican citizen in 1955.
Nancarrow is best remembered for the pieces he wrote for the player piano. He was one of the first composers to use musical instruments as mechanical machines, making them play far beyond human performance ability.
Ligeti etudes
composed a cycle of 18 Etudes for solo piano between 1985 and 2001.
Brian Ferneyhough
His music is characterized by the extensive use of complex rhythmic tuplet notation (sometimes called irrational rhythm) which features in all his works
A significant number of these are piano transcriptions in his very complex style which typically involves intricate polyrhythms, virtuosic technique and interwoven linear, rather than harmonic, textures