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Editors Peter Nelson (UK) Nigel Osborne (UK) Regional Editors Stephen McAdams (France) Fred Lerdahl (USA) Jonathan Kramer Kond J (Japan) Editorial Boards UK: Paul Driver Alexander Goehr Oliver Knussen Bayan Northcott Anthony Payne USA: John Adams Tod Machover John Harbison JAPAN: Joaquim M.Benitez, S.J. Shono Susumu Tokumaru Yoshihiko RUSSIA: Edward Artemyev Edison Denisov Yury Kholopov Alfred Schnittke Aims and Scope: Contemporary Music Review is a contemporary musicians journal. It provides a forum where new tendencies in composition can be discussed in both breadth and depth. Each issue will focus on a specific topic. The main concern of the journal will be composition today in all its aspectsits techniques, aesthetics and technology and its relationship with other disciplines and currents of thought. The publication may also serve as a vehicle to communicate actual musical materials. Notes for contributors can be found at the back of the journal.

This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledges collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. 1996 by OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) Amsterdam B.V. Published in The Netherlands by Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH, a member of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under national laws or under the Photocopy License described below, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature, without the advance written permission of the Publisher. Ordering Information Each volume is comprised of an irregular number of parts depending upon size. Issues are available individually as well as by subscription. 1996 Volume(s): 15 Orders may be placed with your usual supplier or with International Publishers Distributor at one of the addresses shown below. Journal subscriptions are sold on a per volume basis only. Claims for nonreceipt of issues will be honored free of charge if made within three months of publication of the issue. Subscriptions are available for microform editions; details will be furnished upon request. All issues are dispatched by airmail throughout the world. Subscription Rates Base list subscription price per volume: ECU 69.00 (US $89.00).* This price is available only to individuals whose library subscribes to the journal OR who warrant that the journal is for their own use and provide a home address for mailing. Orders must be sent directly to the Publisher and payment must be made by personal check or credit card. Separate rates apply to academic and corporate/government institutions, and may also include photocopy license and postage and handling charges. *ECU (European Currency Unit) is the worldwide base list currency rate; payment can be made by draft drawn on ECU currency in the amount shown or in local currency at the current conversion rate. The US Dollar rate is based upon the ECU rate and applies to North American subscribers only. Subscribers from other territories should contact their agents or the Publisher. All prices are subject to change without notice. Publication Schedule Information To ensure your collection is up-to-date, please call the following number for information about the latest issue published: USA (201) 6437500Dial extension 290Enter the ISSN followed by # key. Note: If you have a rotary phone, please call our Customer Service at the numbers listed below. Orders and enquiries should be placed through International Publishers Distributor at one of the addresses below: Postfach, 4004 Basel, Switzerland Telephone: (4161) 2610138 Fax: (4161) 2610173 Kent Ridge, PO Box 1180 Singapore 911106 Republic of Singapore


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ISBN 3-7186-5932-8 ISBN 0-203-98638-5 Master e-book ISBN

Not dispassionate information, but the music of science. The poetry of reality.

Dziga Vertov


Preface Real-World Music as Composed Listening Katharine NORMAN Real-World Sounds and Simulacra in my Computer Music Jean-Claude RISSET Soundscape, Acoustic Communication and Environmental Sound Composition Barry TRUAX Musical Storytelling Jon APPLETON Imagining the Source: The Interplay of Realism and Abstraction in Electroacoustic Music John YOUNG I Was Running in So Many Different Directions Luc FERRARI Something like a hidden glimmering: John Cage and recorded sound Jame PRITCHETT Frank Zappa as Dadaist: recording technology and the power to repeat Ben WATSON Autonomy, Mimesis and Mechanical Reproduction in Contemporary Music W.Luke WINDSOR Music in the Chords of Eternity Alistair M.RIDDELL Notes to accompany CD Index

vi 1 29 49 65 71 91 99 107 137 149

171 179


The papers which make up this volume are each concerned with issues arising from the compositional use of recorded real-world sound but, in many other respects, the volume is deliberately eclectic in both approach and subject matter. Although computer music composition is well-represented there is a conscious attempt to broaden out the field to include other music in which recorded sound, and the recording process itself, has a significant role. An over-riding common concern is a preoccupation with aesthetic rather than purely technological areas although, on deeper investigation, there are other robust links between papers as different as Luc Ferraris intensely personal manifesto and Ben Watsons comprehensive discussion of Zappas dadaist role. Whilst the musique concrte tradition has resulted in an amount of theoretical work historically indebted to Pierre Schaeffers notions of reduced listening and sonic abstraction, there has been relatively little recent discussion of music which seeks to amplify, rather than mute, the inherent meaning of natural, real-world sound. Perhaps because, as Luke Windsor points out, the latter stance represents a direct challenge to accepted theory. But, as several of the papers here suggest, we can make room for new theoretical approaches and alsoas in the case of John Youngs exploration of surrogacydevelop theoretical approaches which are not entirely divorced from Schaefferian roots. It is significant that almost all, if not all, of the papers devote some time to discussing how the process of listening in everyday life is of elemental importance to the reception and composition of realworld sound as music. The transfer of listening processes normally situated in the real world to the world of musical experience is a potent shift, and one which has previously received scant attention in more than theoretical terms. It is perhaps no surprise that James Pritchetts paper on Cages use of recorded sound focusses on the intertwining of spiritual and listening concerns, but it is interesting to note the same connection emphasised in papers by Risset, Appleton, Ferrari, and in my own contribution. Some of the other links between papers include: the documentary nature of recorded real-world sound and parallels between this and film (in particular, Ferrari, Norman, Watson); the acknowledged influence of Cage and Varse and other, more experimental figures (Pritchett, Watson, Appleton); the listeners role as a creative participant in listening to tape music (Norman, Young, Truax); the


philosophical implications of transforming reality (Risset, Truax, Norman); the dialectic between everyday sound and the autonomous musical work (Windsor, Riddell). The list could go on, but it is evident that there is far more to the incorporation of real-world sound in music than first meets the ear. The many and diverse connections between papers do not invite the organization of this issue into discrete sections; instead, the issue freely intermingles papers dealing with theoretical investigation, compositional analyses, composer portraits and interdisciplinary discussion, in the hope that each may inform the other. Katharine Norman


Real-World Music as Composed Listening

Katharine Norman University of Sheffield, Department of Music, Sheffield, UK

The paper considers the aesthetic implications of employing sounds from the real world as musical material. It takes the view that music composed from, and about, real-world sounds shares concerns already explored by writers and practitioners in film, poetry and other non-sonic arts. The preoccupations of, among others, film-makers Eisenstein and Vertov, philosophers Bachelard and Casey and composers themselves are investigated to support the contention that real-world tape music is enriched and, to some extent formed, through the listeners imaginative response: real-world sounds their meaning, being and sonic implic-ationsencourage an internalized listening montage; a composed listening constructed in order to make imaginative sense from non-narrative sonic journeys. KEY WORDS listening, montage, representation, imagination, real-world music Introduction one need only think of the rumbling of thunder, the whistling of the wind, the roaring of a waterfall, the gurgling of a brookthe rattling jolt of a cart on the road, and of the full, solemn, and white breath of a city at night. Let us cross a large modern capital with our ears more sensitive than our eyesWe will amuse ourselves by orchestrating together in our imagination the din of rolling shop shutters, the varied hubbub of train stations, iron works, thread mills, printing presses, electrical plants, and subways. (Russolo, 1986, pp. 256)

Russolos infamous manifesto, written in 1913, is more than an ironic piece of cultural provocation. His celebration of environmental noise urges us to learn from real-world sounds and from the way in which we listen to them, to gain understandingthrough investigation and analysisof both our environments and ourselves. His proclamations, whilst advocating the philosophical fulfillment of


understanding and enjoying such sounds as purely sonic discourse, also appear to indicate that music made from them cannot be anything but political. Eighty years down the line we have the technology to put it all on tape, weve had it for quite a while. Computers give us the powerand it is a certain kind of powerto orchestrate sampled sounds from the real world, and to use sophisticated wizardry to cajole them into new forms, frequencies and fantastic documentaries. And while there is a vast body of more abstract tape music using real-world sounds as a basis for sonic alchemy, there is also much music which seeks to preserve our connection to its recorded sources. In this latter kind of approach the meaning of the sounds is maintained, heightened or transformed. These pieces are about the real world. My intention in this paper is to examine how this real-world music might be construed as arising from a particular aesthetic approach, one which is listening-centred. Composers working with real-world sounds are, naturally, acutely aware of, and concerned with, listening: Barry Truax and John Young (both writing in this journal) provide enlightening appraisals of how we respond to real-world sounds, in both real life and as music. My initial discussion is similarly concerned with the listeners response to real-world sounds, focussed on an investigation of listening as montage, with direct parallels to be drawn between montage film and documentary art. For Russolo, the orchestration of real-world sounds was an activity necessarilyin the absence of digital editingundertaken in the individual listeners imagination. It is my thesis that real-world tape music still, and primarily, celebrates that internal fusion of listening and imagination. In fact it depends on our listening participation and invites usthrough our active, imaginative engagement with ordinary soundsto contribute, creatively, to the music. In listening to a piece of real-world music we employ, and develop, the non-musical strategies that we ordinarily use, in addition to our more rarefied musical sensibilities. We expand our understanding of both familiar sounds and experiences, and of music itself. As listeners, and composers, we may return to real life disturbed, excited and challenged on a spiritual and social plane by a music with hands-on relevance to both our inner and outer lives.
Listening In

Our ordinary listening is itself a complex, multi-layered activity of which hearing is but a part. In going about our everyday listening lives we takeI suggestseveral different, but interdependent, stances, which amount to a dynamic construct. References, memories, associations, symbolsall contribute to our understanding of sonic meaning. Rather than deprive us of this activity, the realworld composer can treat it as a creative force, one which may be influenced, changed or subtly directed to give us an enriched understanding of real-world sounds: listening is as much a material for the composer as the sounds themselves.
Referential listening

So, how do we listen? In real life, we tend primarily to understand sounds as referring to objects or events, and we use memory to to recall this essential information. By invoking recognition and contextual judgments we decide on a sounds immediate relevance to our situationwhether its worth


listening to. Sounds lead us towards references to sounding things, and in this way referential meanings for sound could be attributed to reminiscences awakened through the sounds agency. Yet, on listening, our immediate reaction is to supplement, or supplant, sound with visual data; we look for the sounding object, either in reality or by using remembered knowledge to envisage a likely source. The persistent dependency of sound on sight could be seen as a corrective strategy; visualization provides information that listening either contradicts, or fails to convey Perhaps visualization is more than a reinforcement of actual aural perception; it is also an attempt to bring a sonic experience into the temporal reality of our presence.
Presence, naturally, is defined in terms of time and space. To be in the presence of someone is to recognize him as existing contemporaneously with us and to note that he comes within the actual range of our senses. (Bazin, 1967, p. 96)

In ordinary experience we each place ourselves at the centre of our personal temporal universe and judge things to be here and now only when they infiltrate our attention. Bazin neglects to stress the primacy of sight in our evaluation of what is presentas a film-maker, he takes it for granted. But attention here is synonymous with sight: we insist on visual perception as our window on temporal presence despite the fact that many other perceptions continually invade our consciousness. As a sound impinges on our listening attention we create an internal visual presence to bring the experience into our perceptual now. For instance, a telephone conversation makes especial demands on our consciousness because, as McLuhan suggests, the auditory image needs to be strengthened by other senses.1 But, surely the reason for this lies not in the quality of the auditory image but in the fact that the experience is insistently present in our attention without providing confirmatory visual data. This is untenable for our visually weighted understanding of presence, so we make a strong and comprehensive visual picture to fit a voice. All our senses ultimately inform our experience of how we exist in time and, with sight as a primary means of defining what is happening in our presence, we readily visualize to draw other senses into our temporal domain. There are other ways, perhaps less consciously perceived, in which sounds can influence our perceptual understanding and defy the symbiotic relationship between sight and sound. Consider, for instance, sounds such as alarms and sirens, or pealing church bells. The meanings that we allocate to these types of sound arise from a contradiction in our referential listening processes, directly attributable to the volume of the sound. These sounds surely claim our full attention, yet they are usually disembodied visually from their sounding objects. Although the objects themselves do not enter our presence their sound, through its continuous and loud insistence, seems near to the point of immediacy. Loud sounds can disorientate us through an apparent spatial proximitythe hypothetical object seems to be here, nowthat contradicts a failure to allocate a focal visual source. The confusion arising from this deprivation of visual conf irmation brings us to a point of timelessness where nothing matters except the aural presence of the sound and we expend little, if any, energy on attempts to

McLuhan, Since the telephone offers a very poor auditory image, we strengthen and complete it by the use of all the other senses. (McLuhan, 1964, p. 235)


imagine the physical source. And this, of course, is the response intended by alarms and sirens, whose role is to alert us to dangera learnt associationrather than refer us to their sounding objects.
Some musical examples

Transferred to a musical domain, the implication that disembodied real-world sounds must be loud in order to have true presence for the listener becomes an issue for the composer. The frequently voiced criticism of tape music as lacking in visual stimulation may have less to do with unsuitable performance or playback scenarios than with the very fact that we are distanced from disembodied real-world sounds in both musical and real life circumstances, and in tape music circumstances all sounds are disembodied. Such criticisms indicate an unsuccessful attempt to find listening parallels between our relationship to recorded sounds and to the sounds of live musical instruments. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to seek similarities between referential listening in real life and in the concert hall. For instance, the sheer volume and intensity of many tape pieces mirrors the immediacy of alarms and sirens and may arise from a similar attempt to force sounds into the individual listeners presence, despite the lack of a visually perceived source. We could make an interesting comparison between sonic amplification and Bazins evaluation of visual enlargement in film:
What we lose by way of direct witness do we not recapture thanks to the artificial proximity provided by photographic enlargement? Everything takes place as if in the time-space perimeter which is the definition of presence.......the increase in the space factor re-establishes the equilibrium of the psychological equation. (Bazin, 1967, p. 98)

As a musical example, Stockhausens dramatic use of a real-world sound as a structural device in his work Trans makes judicious use of our propensity to give presence to loud sounds. The sound engendered by a mundane objecta weaving shuttleis transmuted by amplification into an enlarged and alarming entity, which takes full control of our aural attention. Here, the absence of visual stimulus aids the effectiveness of a sound whose role is to momentarily confound our understanding of temporal flow. We are encouraged to regard the sound as distinct and timeless in relation to the progress of the movementvisual and temporalof the instrumental music.
A shuttle of a weaving chair passing loudly through the hall from the left to the right, shooting through the air. And with each shuttle sound the string players were beginning the next upward movement of their bows, all synchronously, and then in the middle of the duration between two shuttle sounds, they started a downward motion. Another shuttle sound, and they played a new note. The first shuttle sound opens the chromatically dense wall at a certain interval, closes it with the next sound. (Stockhausen in Cott, 1973, p. 55).

In this case whether we recognize the sound as that of a weaving shuttle is less important than whether we interpret it as communicating a particular kind of mechanical side-to-side movement; an abstraction


of the sounds real-world meaning is sufficient and intended. And this dissociation of visual and aural meaning is borrowed from our listening to alarms and other present sounds since, by changing our normal listening relationship to the shuttle sound, Stockhausen discourages visualization and encourages us to refer not to the cause of the sound but to the external information it conveys. The disembodied sound becomes symbolic of a kind of movement which, in turn, becomes an analogy for the slicing of the musical form which it initiates. Indeed the left-to-right spatial projection heightens this significance by translating visual data into aural terms. It seems that, once a sound has become timeless and source-less, in the manner described, we are free to extend our temporal understanding outside the frame of the physically perceived environment to the world of historical remembrance. In this manner sounds are listened to, not as emanations from a visual source but as informing symbols imbued with culturally acquired significance. Although we recognize Stockhausens weaving shuttle as a real-world sound, its actual provenance isnt something we strive to ascertain, in fact we probably cant. Instead we accept it as a generic sound from life, one that has attained a symbolic significance independent of its physical source. Every sound has its cultural tale to tell although the older the symbolic knowledge, the more likely we are to appreciate the historical breadth of its informing content. Consider church bells whose religious symbolism reaches a far wider audience than the Christian community. A large proportion of listeners, in the Western world at least, will be touched by the story of these sounds. And, for the composer, such well-established sound symbols provide a conceptual vocabulary which will have meaning for the audience:

Any attentive reader of newspapers will have noticed the old trick by which his or her attention is soughtthe classic first paragraph in which the essence of a story is presented with maximum impact. Harvey achieves precisely this, opening Mortuos with a vigorous carillon of bells which gradually declines in intensity until only two or three slowly pealing bells are left (Campbell, 1986, p. 524)

Philip Campbell doesnt elaborate precisely on how maximum impact is made at the opening of Harveys work; we might naturally assume it sufficient that the sounds are loud, sonorous and interesting to the ear. But the force of the impact comes as we encounter a known symbol which refers us to a learnt meaning for church bells. The symbolic association of bells with worship and the web of meanings that leads them to enumerate the fleeing hoursmourn the deadcall the living to prayer2 continues to inform because the cultural history of the sound is ingrained. In the composers words:

The inscription on the Winchester Cathedral bell is Horas volantes numero, mortuos plango: vivos ad preces voco (I enumerate the fleeing hours, I mourn the dead, I call the living to prayer) Both the inscriptionsung by a boy sopranoand the sound of the bell itself are used as material in Harveys Mortous plango.


We constitute the music according to the interplay of the composers codes and our own, the references to past meaning and usage of sound, the patterning of repetition and variation within the work itself. A Chinese peasants codes would be totally different from Wagners, and our own different from both. (my italics) (Harvey, 1985, p. 11)

While referential listening connects sounds to objects, to measurements of time and place and to learnt symbols, the latter connection finds us removed from our initial attachment of sights to sounds into a world of conceptual meaning. In broadening our investigation of real-world listening to include such attention we might find that, once we get past seeing things, we can obtain a deeper experience of qualities, rather than quantified relationships, of time and space.
Reflective listening

The above discussion indicates that real-world sounds are loaded towards referential listening, unlike the more abstract timbres of musical instruments whose imaginary world status is clearly delineated. But that isnt to say that real-world listening is devoid of imaginative activity. Howand whydo we hear the song of the sea? To do this we have to switch listening channels to a less usual, reflective type of attention. This reflective listening is neither a contemplation of an action invoked Stockhausens moving shuttlenor a meditation on a sounds extra-sonic cultural historyHarveys ecclesiastical bellsbut a creative, enjoyable appraisal of the sound for its acoustic properties. Yet, although it might seem that reflective and referential listening are independent activities, I prefer to see them as working together as a means of synthesizing our knowledge and our enjoyment of real-world sounds. To hear music in the sea we change our usual relation to the sound, allowing interested enchantment to eclipse alert information-gathering. As in daydreams and reveries a perceptual shift lulls us into forgetting how, and why, things normally make sense. Instead, we use our ears and minds to create, or reinterpret, imagined meanings for the sound. This seems to be diametrically opposed to referential listening in which we take considerable pains to remember how things are. But what conditions encourage reflective rather than referential listening? If a real-world sound can be responded to with either it seems likely that optimum conditions for the one must separate, or mute, an inclination to focus in on the other. We need to consider what inner processes invite a particular listening stance.
Remembered content is actual in status; it is something that we assume has in fact appeared or occured on some previous occasion (even if we cannot now recall the precise moment). Imagined content, in contrast, is purely possible in status, it is something that, at most, might have appeared or occurred previously or that might yet do so in the future. Positing imagined content as only possible, I am not as engrossed in it as such; my attention wanders more freely beyond this content to its immediate environs and more particularly to its margin, where still other possibilities might emerge. When I posit remembered content as


actual, however, I tend to remain riveted to it, and I am correspondingly less tempted to transcend it toward a marginal region that lacks such sturdy actuality. (Casey, 1987, p. 77)

Taking Caseys description as a model for response to real-world sounds, we could take the view that an interest in the acoustic qualities of a sound prompts us towards imagined content while a focus on referential meaning prompts recognition, that is remembered content. Assuming the real-world sounds ability to represent meanings of either the particular or the general when disembodiedas with Stockhausens shuttle soundthen the sound can act alternatively as an agent for remembrance or imaginative fantasy. (In this sense I classify straightforward recognition as remembering the significance of the sound from its sensory data.) Secondly, Caseys assessment of remembered versus imagined content proposes a dependency of inward attentiveness on content for each. This suggests that, in the case of imaginative, reflective listening for instance, we move toward a particular kind of inward attentiveness. By precluding the attentiveness for remembered content we are moved away from our usual relation to sound as a referential trigger. This hypothesis represents an idealized model in which imagination and remembering are completely estranged and, if it is true, we should switch from hearing at one moment the sound of the waves and the next a sound which makes no sense at all, completely divorced from sturdy actuality and taking the sounds disembodiment one step further to a stage where even significatory meaning is abandoned. But reflective listening, as with other perceptual interpretations, doesnt in reality achieve complete estrangement of memory and imagination. This apparent deficiency is especially true of real-world sounds: we cant pretend that we dont know them. Imagination, nevertheless, enables us to attend to remembered data in a creative and free-wheeling way that needs make fewer concessions to commonplace perception; conditions for reflective listening mean that we do not need to hear the sound of waves but can instead imaginatively recognize them as whispers, hissing or any other comparable remembrance. In seeking to clarify the difference between remembering and imagination Casey goes on to suggest that we compare, for example, the visualization of a wholly imagined friend with the visualization of a remembered friend. But there can surely be no such thing as a wholly imagined friend; our imaginings are composite fantasies on experienced data. So, inevitably, tensions are set up by a friction between imagined and remembered content and conflicting types of simultaneously perceived meaning. This continuous shifting between referential remembering and reflective, imaginative forgetting may be constructive in itself. Perhaps one nourishes the other so that contradictory meanings can provide a multi-faceted and richer understanding of a source. Compare, for instance, the way we remember a new acquaintance in terms of friends they resemble, until we know them better. This is a fairly simple example of a deficiency in terms of recognitionwe do not know this person from previous experience being supplemented by imaginations propensity to fill the gaps with remembered data. And the data can be remarkably obscure as our imaginative attention wanders more freely... ...to its margin, where still other possibilities might emerge; we can perhaps come up with remembered vocal inflections or a subtle physical gesture, or even a way of sneezing, to help our understanding. How does this compare with the imaginative conditions of reflective listening to real-world sounds which are, after all, familiar friends rather than casual acquaintances? Perhaps we can find a connection in the perceptual games we play to deceive us into perceiving fictions in everyday


experiences. When we find faces in the wallpaper, demons dancing in a fire or voices in the wind we are playing a similar game of imaginative substitution but in these cases with less imperatively functional intent. So there are fewer constraints on how freely imaginative attention can wander and were at liberty to produce startlingly distant possibilities. And, in the case of these examples, we have time to do so; all of them represent continuously transmitting sources which are recognized in an instant, but leave temporal room to spare. Although survival requires instant, or at least fast, recognition of a source, attention is less weighted to remembered content while the source continues. Synthesizer sounds which splice sampled instrumental attacks to crude synthetic sustains are practical examples which exploit our tendency to lose referential interest. So, time can suspend the source from its usual context; af ter we see the log-fire, we sit down to watch it for demons. In the same way we listen to the song of the sea after weve heard, and recognized, the waves though, in reality, we never stop hearing them completely. But this still doesnt quite account for why we delve up such distant and intricate images as demons and faces, voices and songs to describe the complex appearance of diverse phenomena. This part of the game exhibits an attention to the behaviour of the source and represents another attempt to make sense of the unknown.
They had a game they would play, sitting at a coffeehouse. They would ask: How far away is the nearest strange attractor? Was it that rattling automobile fender? That flag snapping erratically in a steady breeze? A fluttering leaf? You dont see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it, Shaw said (Gleick, 1987, p. 262)

Imagined content produces metaphors for complex behaviour that would otherwise be interpreted as chaotic and meaningless. These metaphors are obviously going to be dependent on to what extent the behaviour seems chaotic, and that will naturally vary from one person to another, as will the right metaphor that imagination provides. But metaphors denote, they dont explain, and the right metaphor must come from an understanding, at some level, of the structure of the behaviour. In reflective listening to the sea we are, again, shifting our relation to sensory perceptions in an attempt to evade normative understanding, but we are also noting sensory messages that dont generally warrant perceptual attentiveness such as subtle changes in amplitude or pitch. If, estranged from its referential meaning, the ordinary real-world sound would have seemed confusingly random, making no sense at all, now we can take an unusually analytical approach in order to explain it. To find a metaphor we perceptually deconstruct the sound and listen to it as temporally shaped behaviour in a constant state of flux. We try continually to build relationships between what we are analytically perceiving and what we know. We are listening differently As we actively engage both referential and reflective listening stances, our freely wandering attention to imaginative content is, all the time, travelling further in order to obtain the right metaphors to summarise this acquisition of knowledge. The metaphors, in turn, change as perceptual understanding increases, giving us pitches, rhythms, songs, voices whatever comes to mind.


Contextual listening

We evidently enjoy attempting games in which, to quote Nietzsche, the over-turning of experience into its opposite, the purposive into the purposeless, of the necessary into the arbitrary... ...delights us, for it momentarily liberates us from the constraints of the necessary (Nietzsche, p. 512). Perhaps we can compare this to our response to humour; we laugh at punchlines that strike home with a shock or surprise because, in the context of a joke, they are non-threatening. Similarly, in reflective listening we direct our attention over the source without any preconceived intent, other than a willingness to fall prey to perceptual deceit. But the material, its context and our relation to both each change in time so that, although we may direct our reflective listening attention over real-world sounds, there is always the strong possibility that, at any moment, circumstances will force a cut to reality. Real life perceptual games are difficult and delight will always be qualified by contextual constraints; if we only see demons in the fire or hear songs in the sea we wander into the realms of unintelligible hallucination. Vacillations between memory and imagination have to be fine-tuned to our evaluation of the materials contextual significance. This implies that both referential and reflective listening activity in fact takes place over a pervasive ground, through which material and context are interrelated and evaluated. It is this ground, an amassing of individually experienced knowledge, that extends beneath all our new experiences to influence and constrain our perceptual direction. Prior to any acquisition of specific ref erential information, we relate our current experience to our experiential history, to the context of our lives. Inwardly comparing remembered and presently experienced personal contexts for the material, we make a judgement as to its likely referential importance. So, contextual listening relates the material to the context of our individual history, and influences both the extent of our imaginative wanderings and the nature of the meanings they provide. Creative tensions arise when the interrelationship between context and material is disturbed so that contextual importance indicates the presence of referential meaning that were unable to perceive. As an example we could consider our response to languagecontextually essential to all our liveswhen verbal meaning is in some way obscured. Jung remarks on a colleagues journey on a Russian train during which though he could not even decipher the Cyrillic script, he found himself musing over the strange letters in which the railway notices were written and he imagined all sorts of meanings for them. (Jung, 1964, p. 27) Successive attempts at finding referential meanings in material with known contextual importance lead imaginatively to all sorts of meanings for an unfamiliar actuality. Similarly, when listening to human speech that is somehow made linguistically incomprehensible, we find it difficult to mute referential perceptions because of the important human context of this realworld sound. This places us in a frustrated listening position in which contextual knowledge points to a vast substructure of referential meaningthe communication of thoughts and emotions, syntactical logic, indications of cultural and personal characterto which we are denied complete access. Trying to gain entry to this mass of referential knowledge we gather all our listening resources about us to perceive the source afresh. In fact, we re-perceive it, attempting to create referential, and contextually relevant, order from the acoustic properties of a cryptic sound. Our appraisal of its qualities now springs from art intent to find informing relationships in the soundaccent, intonation, speech rhythms or imagined verbal contentthrough a fusion of reflective and referential listening stances.




This compulsion to make sense of sounds is interesting; it seems that we are prepared to go to extreme perceptual lengths in our desire to relate an obscured source to experienced models. The more mysterious the material, the more ambitious our perceptual reconstruction and the more varied the relationships we are willing to entertain. We want to make these confusing sounds relevant to the fabric of our lives, to contextualise them. And, I contend, we retain this participatory activity in listening to real-world music. Techniques such as processing and mixing give the composer the opportunity to obscure real-world sounds, and so deny our easy access to ref erential clues without entirely severing our contextual connection with the source. She can guide us on a circuitous perceptual journey in which her reperceptions of the sound direct our own, creative, listening. In this sense we could regard the composer as just another listener, but one who publicly reveals a rarefied listening process through her transformation of the sound. In this sense we might compare her position to that of the film director who reveals a re-perception of real-world narrative through the temporal refinement of montage, but never disallows the viewers personal experience.
each spectator creates an image along the representational guidance suggested by the author, leading him unswervingly towards knowing and experiencing the theme in accordance with his own personality, in his own individual way, proceeding from his own experience, from his own imagination, from the texture of his associations, from the features of his own character, temper, and social status. The image is at one and the same time the creation of the author and the spectator. (Eisenstein, 1986, p. 78)

As summarised by Bazin, who was, however, ultimately critical of this approach to film, the meaning is not in the image, it is in the shadow of the image projected by montage onto the field of consciousness of the spectator. (Bazin, 1967, p. 26) On watching a film, we place the directors image in the context of our own lives. Montage can function similarly in real-world music: for instance, Harveys gloriously familiar pealing bells are abruptly followed by a confusingly alien world where individual spectral components are slowly explored. We retain our recent memory of the source while experiencing sounds whose strange, but familiar, progress clouds our contextual judgements. The music continues with similar juxtapositions and is just one example, from many, of a work combining montage techniques with more traditional relationships of pitch and timbre. This kind of montage, in both film and music, might be defined as horizontal in nature. Ultimately our re-perception of the material is guided by linear divisions of time. But there is also, in both film and music, the possibility of what we might call a vertical montage3. The composer can offer superimposed layers of sonic transformation while appearing to preserve the temporal duration of a realworld scenario. Instead of slavishly following a composer-directed narrative, we create an inwardly perceived dynamic as our listening re-perception travels to and fro.

Not to be confused with Eisensteins specific use of this term to describe the relationship between sound and image in film.



Paul Lanskys Night Traffic appears to preserve the temporal flow of recorded traffic sounds while submitting them to radical transformation. In fact the temporal narrative is also surreptitiously tuned to both rhythmic patterns and the harmonic rhythm of slowly changing chords. Nevertheless, we are left with the sensation that the musics linear time is a naturalistic reproduction of reality. Already his subtle directon of time gives the impression that it is our listening attention, not the composers manipulation, that creates the horizontal dynamic. The sounds themselves are transformed with equal subtlety; the timbre of the source is never completely obscured, instead it is lit by comb-filtered pitches which focus, rather than destroy, our awareness of contextual meaning. Similarly, and importantly, controlled panning of the sounds mimics the spatial effect of passing traffic and places each listener firmly at the centre of the experience. With a great deal of understated listener-direction, Lansky deceives us into thinking that we create the music in these sounds. Everything conspires to place us at the centre of the workfrom the persistent familiarity of the sounds to their listener-centred movement. There is just enough contextual confusionin the filtered pitches, the evolving harmonic progression and also the slightly unnerving sense of an invisible approaching objectto encourage a perceptual quest. At the same time there is enough recognition to maintain our concern with real-world significance and the many associations attached to such culturally powerful, and pervasive sounds. Compared to Harveys Mortuos plango, Lanskys subtle direction is no less rigorous, but is possibly more demanding of the listener. It places far more weight on our individual response and encourages us towards the satisfying impression that we aid the creation of the music through our perceptual activity. We might say that, in doing this, he solves the problems of audience alienation often attributed to tape music. How can we feel alienation when were part of the music ourselves? In both his treatment of the subject and his attitude to the listener, Lansky achieves a gently political work.
Listening Montage in Real-World Music

If the composers direction of our listening can, in some way, make us feel that we participate in the creation of the work, we need some analysis of the means and effect of that direction. Why are realworld sounds, and our ordinary, real life, relationship to them, so essential to its success? Perhaps because, once our real-world listening response can be guaranteed, the composer is at liberty to place noise in our perceptual channels, confusing, obstructing or colouring our normal understanding of the sounds. This leaves our evaluation of who is intending our listening at any one time in a constant state of flux, along with our evaluation of the being of the real-world sound. At one moment recorded traffic sounds, the next a quasi-tonal progression of filtered chords. Real-world and abstract, musical listeningand the various combinations and permutations within themget so mixed up in our responsive endeavours that they engender a kind of internal listening montage. Ultimately they cease to exist as distinct from one another as we re-assemble the relationships between them.
montage is proposed purposefully as a kit designed to be assembled, while collage is nothing but a mixed bag full of obviously incongruous components (Thomas, 1983, p. 85)



But montage, as opposed to collage, strives for coherence through confusion. And, as in montage, our individual reconstitution of intentionally confused listening stances becomes a part of the real-world work.
Confusion of intent

Real-world listeningour ordinary, quite possibly creative, take on sounds as we attend to them in real lifemight be classified, or included, as self-intended listening. While attention is the state of applying our mind to, in this case, sounds, intention is the determinationan active processto stretch out towards this state. Through intention we make the transition from passive hearing to attentive listening. In this sense, self-intended listening occurs when the imaginative decisions that lead to a creative or analytical consideration of sounds are largely, if not entirely, of our own volition. In Cageian terms self-intended listening can certainly be musical; as individual inhabitants of the real world, we can let sounds be themselves and make a conscious decision to attend, musically, to our natural environment. But then we create our own music, and we do not seek, neither are we able, to transmit the inwardly-formed result to another individual And although our appraisal of abstract sonic relationships in ordinarily occuring sounds is certainly, as Ive discussed, encouraged by contextual considerations, it is, finally, our own choice. As we sit on the beach, revelling in our sonic environment, no person tells us that we might listen to the song of the sea. Of course, the real life context may defeat a desire to reflect creatively: if we were drowning, wed probably take less aesthetic delight in sonic matters; presumably, even if we wanted to listen reflectively, wed have difficulty in doing so. Yet, in both cases, our priorities are molded by external, fortuitous circumstances rather than an external, communicating individual. This last point is essential to a distinction between self-intended and composer-intended4 listening. Initially it would seem that composer-intended listening is synonymous with musical listening, in the traditional sense of listening out for an abstract sonic discourse. That isnt to say that the composer dictates, or can dictate, how we listen but merely that she intends our listening to be attuned to the perception of acoustic relationships, sonic architecture and the like. In a concert hall we are already contextually conditioned to expect this intent and we are somewhat more open to aural suggestion, perhaps, than in real life. We are switched into the correct listening channel. But, regardless of whether we hear music in an appropriate, encouraging contextthe concert hall, or coming out of our CD playeror in unprepared, real-world circumstancesas we do the weekly shopping, in a lift, through an open windowwe appear to know that a composer intended us to listen to the sounds in a particular, musical, way. We decide that we are hearing someone elses music. Or so it seems. In fact the ground is already shifting beneath our feet since the perceived distinction between composer-intended and self-intended listening is disempowered when the two fuse, or confuse each other. For instance, Alvin Luciers I am sitting in a room shows an exquisite awareness of

Throughout this discussion the word intent draws its meaning purely from its etymological root, as a stretching out towards some thing or purpose. So, in the case of composer-intended listening the stretching out is initiated by the composer, althoughin more common parlancewe can certainly sit down to Beethovens 5th emotionally intending, or not intending, to listen.



the potentialities of transforming our self-intended experience of real-world sounds into composerintended music, through the introduction of surreptitious intentional confusion. In this work Luciers natural speaking voicecomplete with stutterinforms us of his actions and then, as this recorded speech is successively re-recorded in the same environment, an accumulation of reverberating frequencies transfigures his words into clouds of resonant pitch. Luciers complete text is as follows:
I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but, more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.

Lucier is careful to avoid referring to musical listening or, indeed, listening of any kind. His words refer solely to a description of what we will hear. He tells us what he is going to do, and then he does it; listening, it appears, is entirely up to us. Indeed, as the work commences we seem to be entirely engaged in self-intended, real-world listening. We recognize and process speech, we may well reflectively contemplate the musical qualities of its patterns but in, at this stage, an informative rather than an interpretive context. As the work progresses the reflective aspects of real-world listening take over, the context expands to encompass both demonstration and musical performance, and our engagement with pitches, rhythms and timbral resonances is successively heightened. Yet all these phenomena happen simultaneously and, also at the same time, our referential attention to words is imaginatively redefined. For each of us there comes a point, or rather there isnt a discernible point, where we are listening to music as well as listening musically to real-world sounds. When the work ends, forty-five minutes later, we are left in no doubt that Lucier-intended listening has directed our own intent. But were also in no doubt that our intent made music from what we heard. This is confusing. Its all the more confusing since, in reality, this work is nothing more than a demonstration, a process set in motion by the composer but left to run without any creative intervention. Were duped by our assumptions, but our willing suspension of disbelief enables us to appreciate more fully the musical attributes of a natural phenomenon.
Noise as interference

Ultimately, Luciers work disrupts the powerful connection between listener and language by putting noise in our communication channel. In this case its done, literally, through the noisy reverberation of the room, but this is just one means of confusing the listening intent of speech. Luc Ferraris Presque Rien avec filles achieves a similar confusion simply through the superimposition of material. This work takes candid recordings of environmental sounds and edits them seamlessly together. But his material includes speech, in French, German and Italian. By layering the three simultaneously Ferrari effectively confuses our recognition of intent. If we understand one of the languages, its communication of intent draws our attention while the others appeal more for their sonic content. Yet, even if we understand all, or none, of the languages concerned the experience is confusing. Are we



listening to a surreal multi-lingual conversation? Are we in three places at once? What are they talking about? Are their linguistic messages connected? These disconcerting questions plague us because, despite the fact that we also appreciate the speech for its purely sonic profile, its listening intent is demanding. And Ferraris layering brings noise to our self-intended, real-world understanding, through which we evaluate the being of a sound. On the face of it, the composers creation of cognitive noise might seem a perverse activity because noise generally pollutes communication and confounds explanation. Or, rather, it confounds the expected explanation and makes for a more volatile, unpredictable relationship between composer and listener. But when the noise amplif ies the confusion between listening intents the resulting volatility may provide new listening discoveries. Marie Maclean shares this sentiment with regard to growth in narrative form:
[noise] can be an invaluable stimulus, constantly setting the challenge of winning the battle for control.... ...The disruptive input of anarchy, of violence, of noise, stimulates the mutation and the new growth of narrative forms and their evolution within the wider interplay of social forces. (Maclean, 1988, p. 3)

Perhaps, also, noisily frustrated intents can lead to new growth in our listening habits. Paul Lanskys The Lesson is a rather different work from Luciers, but it also uses speech and frustrates the intents of language. But Lanskys work creates cognitive noise of a complex, dynamic kind by blithely frustrating all intents. Through making all our listening channels noisy and unstable, The Lesson prevents us from clinging to any one point on our listening dial. But of course we might discover new, and more interesting, stations this wayones wed never heard of. Lansky takes some speech (from a friend, and colleague, J.K.Randall) and processes it continuously. Like several of his speech-based works the processing largely takes the form of plucked string synthesis which is generated by the amplitude contours of the speakers inflection and tuned to particular chords. So while the speech engenders the processing, the processing obscures the speech. But this work is, for Lansky, unusual in two particular respects. Firstly, for a significant proportion of the time the words, and vestiges of the speakers natural timbres, are heard intelligibly, or semiintelligibly. Secondly, the harmonies have a distinct sense of progression which is heightened by careful voice-leading, and aided by sustained vocal tones. The composer reveals connected reasons for his decisions:
The Lesson uses more complex sort-of-atonal harmonies, with fairly complex voice leading relations. I remember struggling long and hard with these issues there and deciding that this sort of voice leading was much more analogous to the reasoning processes of JKR than my approaches in Quakerbridge or Night Traffic etc. I think that using these latter approaches with JKRs texts would have made his words seem silly. (from correspondence with the author)

J.K.Randalls words are entirely relevant to our discussion since they are concerned with his experiential evaluation of listening to Mozart and Beethoven, and this is perhaps why Lansky allows us teasing glimpses of the speakers meaning. But they are only fleeting allusions since the text is fragmented in a random collage and the processing ultimately frustrates our engagement with the



listening intent of speech. Repeated listenings reveal a little more each time, but there will always be moments of complete confusion as particularly dense flurries of plucks obscure the words entirely while simultaneously signalling their existence. Even then, as in the popular story of the young Tolstoy, standing in the corner trying not to think of a white bear, we are constantly frustrated by trying not to perceive speech. The plucks seem to impose a particular cognitive noise on the speech; on the intent of its being, its linguistic meaning, and the timbre and inflections of its sound. But the loudest cognitive noise comes from a more traditional direction. While trying to parse the damn thing (one of the few intelligible spoken phrases in the work) I discovered that words were far easier to discern when, winding the tape back and forth, I randomly selected very short sections. In doing so, I removed all harmonic progression. For a few seconds only, the words suddenly emerged more clearly, as did the disconcerting realization that the composer had very tangibly filtered, or intended, my listening. This implies that the familiar logic of an harmonic progression had effectively frustrated the intent of speech and also implies that Lanskys choice of tonal or sort-of-atonal vocabulary achieves far more than mere sonic appeal. This work is especially intriguing, then, because we are presented with a complexity of intents which each impose noise on the other, since the speech and the plucked rhythms also introduce their own cognitive noise to, for instance, the harmonic rhythm. Our listening attention flits rapidly from one to another, sometimes of our own, individual volition, often through the fluctuations created within the work. We are confused, and frustrated, and yet were compelled by the result.
Transforming the being of the sound

While assembling our montage kit from intentional confusion, cognitive noise and frustrated expectations, we begin to see that our precarious listening situation is changing our relationship to sounds. As our listening is questioned and fragmented, so is our evaluation of what sounds mean, of their essential being. Each of the above musical examples makes use of speech, a sound with a peculiar and important being. Lucier could have used any sound source for the same demonstration but instead:
decided to use speech; its common to just about everybody and is a marvelous sound source... ....Its also extremely personal. (Lucier interviewed by Simon, liner notes to I am Sitting in a Room)

His observation understates the significance that speech itself intends towards our ears. As previously discussed, speech has an unusually defined being and we honour it with special attention, even if we dont understand the language concerned, because it speaks of communication. We cannot choose to ignore it, for it communicates such a variety of emotional, intellectual and sonic information. Try listening to a subtitled foreign film with the sound down and see how much you miss. So, while Lucier plays with listener and composer intents he does so with material that makes its own demands, constantly The source exacerbates his fruitful confusion since, even when the intelligibility of the words becomes completely lost in the ringing reverberation, their meaning resonates in our minds. We retain what might be called speech-intended listening to the end; as each re-recording proceeds we compare and contrast it with the remembered original, we attempt to perceive the sound



of the words by continuing to delve for remnants of verbal meaning. The being of speech as a sound source insistently transmits its own listening intent. Similarly, Lansky and, to a lesser extent, Ferrari are engaged in compositional activity which interacts with, rather than radically transforms, the being of the speech. A great deal of The Lessons attraction lies in the resilience of the source. As in other speech-based works by Lansky, we certainly come to perceive speech dif ferently, revelling in its rhythmic and spectral content in a manner which enriches its being, but the enduring magic resides in the persistence of its being, against all odds. But when a composer engages with a real-world source, or sources, of less focussed significance, the result can be very different since our listening montage can causes changes in our evaluation of being. An obvious way to de-focus the being of a sound is to remove it from its usual context and thus deprive us of our contextual listening judgements. Acousmatic music chooses to take this decontextualization beyond the point of real-world understanding, abstracting sounds completely from their being. However, it need not be the case. Ferraris Htrozygote, for instance, is a somewhat pointillistic collage of real-world fragments, ranging from speech to birds, to ambiguously perceived noises. Out of context, we have no environment in which to place these sounds. Unlike his Presque Rien pieces, there is no attempt at conveying a realistic context. The only context is the rhythmic environment defined by the sounds in time. As incongruent superimpositions and momentary realworld allusions assail our ears, we start to listen to sounds as musical objects, almost as notes or phrases, but without ever losing our connection to their real-world provenance. At the same time, we persist in attempts to make some kind of narrative out of contradictory real-world meanings. As a result of their decontextualization, sounds whose being, in real life, might be deemed of passing signif icance become essential to our musical understanding. Jean-Claude Rissets Sud provides an example whose very subject is this active process of transformation. He does this by confusing our recognition of a sounds origins, so that our appraisal of the being of the sound is frequently, and continuously, disrupted. In Sud we are, at all times, confronted with a careful amalgam of real soundslargely unadulterated real-world soundsand imaginary soundstransformed real-world sounds or entirely synthetic timbres. But, because the divisions between real and imaginary are constantly in a process of transition, nothing is what it seems to be. This work infiltrates and directs our internal listening montage to such an extent that we are constantly at sea perceptually. The complexity, and subtlety, of Rissets procedures warrants an extended description of the opening minutes of the work, in which I use the terms real and imaginary in the sense described above5: The movement opens with real wave sounds, filling the stereo field, underneath which an harmonic grid is, very quietly, present. While the waves continue, and get louder, real birdcalls build up distantly. A distinctive real birdcall is accompanied by an equivocal peeping sound, probably imaginary, which is repeated several times, alternating between channels. The waves subside imperceptibly as the birdcall texture becomes louder. The texture has started to pan, fairly rapidly and continuously The rate of panning, and its regularity, is now too controlled for a natural spatial environment. About one minute into the movement, the previously real birdcall texture becomes higher, more white-noise like and pans faster. A new, abrupt birdcall appears repeatedly, with a breathy, pipe-like



timbre. It appears to be real. As it accelerates in tempo and occurrence, its imaginary status is revealed. Its progress occurs over vestiges of the real birdcall texture, which exacerbates the confusion. At around two minutes a croaking, almost frog-like pattern enters under the birdcalls. Its loud, reverberant and very clearly processed. It is hard to pinpoint referentially, perhaps it is slowed-down birdsong, or insects. The croaks rise in an obviously un-natural, fast glissando, the rhythmic pattern accelerates simultaneously. As the pitch rises, the timbre changes until, at the extreme of the glissando, almost imperceptible in pitch, the sound re-emerges as a woody wind-chime clattering. During this mutation the real birdcall texture has continued, similarly accelerating and rising in amplitude, though not so much in pitch. By the arrival of the wind-chime sounds the texture has become unnaturally frenetic and loud. The sound cuts off abruptly at this point. After a moments silence, a resonant synthetic pitch collection bursts in. There is an abrupt change of context, with no real-world sounds. For an extended period the texture is largely synthetic; sine waves, metallic sounds, transformed piano and bell-like sounds. The rhythmic contours of some gestures are reminiscent of the preceding birdcalls, now slower and suspended in an imaginary world. Synthetic clusters, heavily-processed real-world sounds, sine-wave burblings and glissandi are obviously shaped by the profile of the waves. Near the end of this passage a fairly loud, real, seagull crya new sound is suddenly introduced within the established imaginary context. This extended wave of music is a real tour de force; within the large-scale move from a real to an imaginary context, Risset creates a fluctuating and carefully paced gradation which constantly evades our expectations and evaluation of all the sounds. Our listening montage is never allowed to come to rest. Only when we reach his resonant, harmonic clouds do we breathe a perceptual sigh of relief at finally reaching something familiar; if the imaginary can be judged familiar. Yet, now that were safely ensconced in this illusory world the subsequent, unannounced, seagull arrives with an almost extraterrestrial surprise. So our constant re-evaluation of real-world sounds engenders a shif ting appraisal of their meaning. We strive to make sense of our increasingly untrustworthy deductions regarding sounds that, significantly, are rarely abstracted to the point of non-recognition. The birdcalls, initially real, are distinctive enough to be attended to closely. There are several clearly defined, different birdcalls. We are aware of their being, as identifiable cries and as part of a natural environment. Mixing real and imaginary birds creates a progressively uncomf ortable perceptual confusion, a need to re-perceive. What are we listening to? Where (on earth?) are we? While bird, insect and wave sounds are continually in the process of be-coming transformed, so is our appreciation of their being. As the wave reaches its peak the transformations of being reach radical conclusions; when frogs become chimes a communicative cry has become the byproduct of an action, implicitly the arbitrary action of the wind. Animate being has become inanimate being. Rissets perceptual roller-coaster ride puts paid to any representational expectations we might have had of the recorded environment. He isnt in the market for convincing us that what we hear is mimetically realistic but neither is he concerned to disrupt our connection to the real world. What we perceive and listen to are resemblances, traces and transformations of the known. More importantly, what this work is perhaps ultimately about is the way in which we forge some kind of coherence from these perceptions within our internal listening montage.



Listening montage as rediscovery

This brings us back to the initial definition of montage as a purposeful kit designed to be assembled from apparently incongruous elements. As we resynthesize our fractured listening processes we rediscover the relationships between them and we are required to make new listening deductions. The significance of this process of discovery shouldnt be underestimated. Our perceptual deductions are normally ingrained and inflexible. Part of the success of real-world music lies in its ability to shake us out of our established listening processes; deduction is, of course, a process of perceptual subtraction, whereas real-world music seeks to add to our perception. But what exactly is maintained as the result of our reassembled listening? For one thing, real-world music places us in a constant state of retrospective evaluation, both during our listening to the work and afterwards, as we evaluate our musical listening experience in relationship to our lives. To clarify this point, compare the experience to the processes we undertake in completing a cryptic crossword puzzle: As we make successive attempts to solve crossword clues we create a kind of internal linguistic montage. In order to come up with the answers we engage in lateral thinking, exploring all implications of the information. We start to think of words differently; in terms of their sound, their content, their shape or etymology. We look for unforseen or double meanings and we actively strive to expand our comprehension. As when listening to a real-world work, we open ourselves to shifts of perception, to re-perceptions, and on solving a clue we retrospectively trace how we got its meaning. On finishing a crossword we are confronted with an unusual presentation of words, out of their normal context. We appreciate connections of a more unorthodox kind; connections of length, of internal structure, of visual pattern or spatial symmetry. Just as the real-world work causes us to retrospectively re-evaluate the being of familiar sounds, now we overlook a completed structure that presents these familiar wordsfor a while at leastas strange and new. But, more importantly, we have the satisfaction of regarding the completion of the puzzle as partly down to us. Our minds created and perceived the answers. Unless we feel particularly frustrated or peevish we choose to forget that, somewhere out there, a crossword compiler already has them written down. Although real-world music offers an infinitely more enriching listening puzzle, we can likewise emerge from our listening montage feeling that we had a say in creating the answers, even if the composer created the clues that directed our perception. Yet it is the process of completing the puzzle, rather than the final result, that has enlarged our understanding. And the listening decisions that we each make in reassembling our listening montage are personal solutions. Just as the process of solving crosswords is something we each undertake in individual, unforseeable ways, so our listening understanding arises from an individual, creative activity.

provides the following guide to the first movement (of three), my description proceeds from the openingto include the `harmonic clouds': The sea in the morning. The opening profile permeates the entire piece Waking birds: isolated peeps rising to a stretto. Harmonic clouds. Hybrid sounds emerge from the low frequencies. Heat. Luminy, at the foot of mount Puget: real and imaginary insects and birds. (Risset, liner notes to Sud)



Montage postulates intersubjective communication and the transmission of meaning, but it refuses the literal character of representation and the direct accessibility of its meaning. Just like the collage, montage is a destruction of reality; but when collage, insisting on the heterogeneous superficial character of the summoned-up fragments, plays the hand of provocation (the rapture of rupture), montage is an inducement to rediscover the network of signification that organizes them, to recover underneath the deconstruction not a nihilistic chance, which only retains the absurd and the accidental, but the uncanny that economizes significance. (Thomas, 1985, p. 85)

The essence of a real-world approach to composition lies in the invitation to participate subjectively in the creation and transmission of transfigured meanings, to create through the confusion of our individual listening montage. Real-world music prompts a creative state that, while also destructing our normal perception of reality, encourages us to discover it, in retrospect, anew. And this process of rediscovery is, I believe, the aesthetic crux of the matter. Discoverers embark on journeys into the unknown, leaving the safety of hearth and home in search of new knowledge and experience. We, listening to a newly imagined reality, can travel away from both listening, and experiential, assumptions.
Imaginative Journeys

As I write this it is Halloween or, in its original Celtic sense, the Night of the Dead; the night in which we face our innermost fears regarding spirits, ghosts and ghouls, through stories, bonfires and other assuaging rituals. And Ive been listening to ghost stories on the radio, each framed by the lugubrious tones of Vincent Price, conjuring up a dark and forbidding environment for tales which are themselves of darkness and dark things. When we want to be frightened, we turn down the lights and scare each other with spooky stories, or we watch a horror film. Having been transported imaginatively from our darkened reality we return to it again, but now there are movements in the shadows and strange beings in the flames. We have moved from reality to fantasy, and back again. And reality has changed, just as your reading reality has changed as you remember that I have a life, and time, outside this text. But, returning to the text, not all imaginative journeys are frightening, of course. Rissets Sud, even within the short excerpt discussed, makes a similar, wave-like, movement which rises from the real to the imaginary and ebbs back to the known. Like a wave, and like the ending of a story there is that sense of return, of shaking ourselves back into real life, picking up our coats and programmes and leaving for home. Yet we retain the experience of a journey of some kind between departure and rearrival. Sud is perhaps unusual in that the journey is described within the work, but all real-world music is concerned with similar travel A real-world work can be seen as a move away from the reality but through the reality, that frames our experience of the music. And real-world works provide openended musical worlds since they require our continued remembrance of reality; of how things really are, or seem, or were, to us. While not being realistic, real-world music leaves a door ajar on the reality in which we are situated. I contend that real-world music is not concerned with realism, and cannot be concerned with realism because it seeks, instead, to intitiate a journey which takes us away from our preconceptions, so that we might arrive at a changed, perhaps expanded, appreciation of reality



The idea of real-world music as providing an imaginative experience which proceeds through reality towards a more fantastic recognition brings us back to Caseys contrast between remembered and imagined content:
Remembered content is actual in status; it is something that we assume has in fact appeared or occured on some previous occasion (even if we cannot now recall the precise moment). Imagined content, in contrast, is purely possible in status, it is something that, at most, might have appeared or occurred previously or that might yet do so in the future. (Casey, 1988, p. 77)

For me, Caseys distinction remains problematic, since my belief is that in real-world music it is our recognition, i.e. our remembrance, of real events that invites an imaginatively fruitful journey. We need to discover if there might be a useful connection between our remembering of reality and our imaginative reinterpretation of what it might mean. This necessitates exploring how and why listening to recorded events within real-world music might invoke a diff erent kind of recognition from the norm, and it may elucidate the open-ended nature of the world offered by even the most fantastic real-world work.
A departure from realism

Realism relies on, even demands, our normal recognition. For instance, Bazin regards the value of film realism as recording and then re-presenting6 a slice of reality, with the onus on the viewer to provide their own interpretation of events.
Bazin pictures the viewer of mimetic cinematography as accepting that he or she is witnessing a slice of realitythe film viewer is said to regard the image as the representation of some event or state of affairs from the past... ...What Bazin sees as the glory of cinemaits purported capacity to move viewers to accept that they are in the presence of the referent of the imagecin-Brechtians bewail as films disgrace. (Carroll, 1988, pp. 945)

In Bazins view recorded material and reality are, in effect,and affectidentical. This idealistic model requires our perceptual response to film to be identical to our relationship to real, unrecorded, life. But this means that we are restricted to our normal perceptual activities; everything has to come from us, and any meaning we might glean from our experience ofin this casefilm realism will be bounded by personal knowledge. Moreover, any imaginative activity we undertake is purely of our own, unaided, volition. Ultimately, we embark on a journey with few shocks in store, which can prove unsatisfying if we are seeking involvement of a more enlarging kind:

Bazins notion of representation in film is narrowly defined, as Nel Carroll remarks: Bazin argued that the truly cinematic film stays as close to recording as possible, eschewing the interpretation, recreation, or reconstitution of reality. (Carroll, 1988, p. 96) For Bazin the film was, literally and (ideally) exclusively the re-presentation of reality.



When Flaherty sees a woman walking along the shore with a casket of seaweed on her back, it is for him exciting and dramatic, because he knows by experience the struggle for existence that that load represents. But when the audience see the same picture, they see only the woman and the seaweed. Man of Aran is a sealed document, the key to which is still in Flahertys own mind. (from a contemporary newspaper review in The Observer)

But more often realism, in both documentary and fiction film, is compromised by the inclusion of dramatic events that will engender in us an apparently natural trauma. In reality, Flaherty compromised himself in an attempt to capture his audience dramatically: Man of Aran (1934) used actors, contained a dramatic whale-hunt and a storm sequenceboth of which were stagedand, subsequent to its completion as a silent film, an added soundtrack using Gaelic dialogue. In this respect it could perhaps be viewed as one of the first docu-dramas. In their search for hyper-realism docu-dramas impose narratives on reality while soap-operasfictional real life dramasare littered with car-accidents, terminal illnesses, love affairs and other natural conflicts. Yet none of these dramatic excursions ask for a departure from rationally grounded habits. Rather than inviting us towards a more fantastic, imaginative understanding of reality, they confirm what we already know:
photographic and cinematographic processes can accomplish better, faster, and with a circulation a hundred thousand times larger than narrative or pictorial realism, the task which academicism had assigned to realism: to preserve various consciousnesses from doubt. (Lyotard, 1984, p. 75)

But although reality is its starting point, real-world music doesnt seek to preserve normal consciousness of the real from doubt. We arent required to respond to the music as a Bazinian representation of reality. But none of the works I have discussed uses musical drama to spice up the actionthere are no sonata forms or symphonies hereneither do they present overtly programmatic plots. Indeed, Rissettaking the continuous, repetitive ebb and flow of a wave as his structural modelis almost perverse in his avoidance of confrontation. The absence of dramatic realism in realworld music indicates that while it fails to provide a realistic world, rather than leave reality it leaves realism behind.
Emotional recognition

Ferraris Presque Rien avec filles, like montage film, re-orders reality according to the composers internal, subjective viewpoint. What we recognize is not a realistic and objective representation of reality, but an individuals emotionally coloured interpretation of recorded events. In this respect Ferrari, himself a film-maker, has much in common with directors such as Vertov and Eisenstein, who were scathing in their disregard of film realism as an imitative re-presentation of realityImitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not a film, but a filing cabinet (Vertov, p. 264) and polemical in their advocation of subjectively interpreted reality:



Not dispassionate information, but the music of science. The poetry of reality. An emotional approach to the cognitive and a cognitive interest in the emotional. Research that uses the methods of the artist rather than just purely scientific methods. (Vertov, p. 233)

Vertovs proclamations ask for a recognition that is essentially emotional. Similarly, though we may recognize a close friend through their voice, their appearance or their manner, our intelligent recognition of them as a friend employs an emotionally educated knowledge, to which our intellectually governed perceptions contribute peripherally. In comparison, although we might imaginatively understand the sounds of real-world music through a complex listening montage, our recognition of the musics meaningfor us, personallyis both part of, and more, than this. If realworld music seems to offer an open-ended world that both connects us to reality and transfigures our understanding of it, this may be because our remembrance of reality is evoked through an unusually emotional response. From this standpoint there might be more freedom to engage in imaginative flights of fancy, without abandoning a recognition of the real. Many imaginative journeys maintain the appearance of a connection to the known; by convincing us that the world we are entering has some relation to reality, fantasies can encourage us to believe the increasingly irrational intelligence of an imagined world. Once upon a time gives us access to a fairy-tale fabrication but also implies that, once, this remembered time was real. And fairy-tale characters often live in real or pseudo-real countries, have realistically described homes, and do real thingsdrink, eat, sleepeven if the homes are golden palaces, the food and drink is ultimately enchanted or the sleep may be for a hundred years. The irrational is still tenuously connected to reality and, for many children, Red Riding Hood seems real enough to be perhaps inadvisable as a bedtime story. And though we might regard our adult selves as more sophisticated, we are just as prone to the emotional pull of an apparently irrational recognition. However, real-world music differs, of course, from fairy-tale worlds in that its source material is essentially documentary and immediately connected to real life. Like a documentary film, or a journalistic report, it carries the authority of apparent truth. But this doesnt exclude emotional recognitionin fact it may accentuate its effect.
The fabulist need only convince on the basis of the internal cohesion of his purely imaginary works. He says, All this could never happen, so do not blame me if it does not seem real. The new journalist, on the other hand, need only convince on the basis of verifiable sources and his personal integrity: All this actually did happen, so do not blame me if it does not seem real. (Hellman, 1981, p. 11)

The new journalist, in presenting his personal interpretation of verifiable sources has perhaps more emotional latitude than the fabulist because the contract he makes with his reader assumes a connection to reality, however irrational or fantastic its presentation may seem.7 We dont dismiss the authority of his tale lightly, and perhaps this aids a willingness to place more weight than usual on

New Journalism is a term often used for reportage or fictionalized fact, in which an account of actual events is molded into an imaginative, even fantastic, work by the author. Norman Mailer and Truman Capote are classic



our emotional response. Similarly, in advocating that films must be highly emotional narratives and not merely logical exposs of facts (Eisenstein, 1970, p. 62) Eisenstein implies that an emotional recognition can be powerful when the material, and subject, is documentary in nature. A highly emotional narrative doesnt require that we lose our hold on the facts, rather it encourages our recognition of them to be coloured by emotions. Perhaps an appreciation of real things can be changed or filtered precisely because recognition involves both emotional and intellectual responses, and we may be directed towards one response, without entirely abandoning the other.
Partial representation

Through an appeal to emotional recognition, then, we may be distracted from our normal perceptions. We are discouraged from travelling along habitual routes that now appear to be changed or repressed in some manner.
The author sees with his minds eye some image, an emotional embodiment of his theme. His task is to reduce that image to two or three partial representations whose combination or juxtaposition shall evoke in the consciousness and feelings of the spectator the same generalized initial image which haunted the authors imagination. (Eisenstein, 1970, pp. 767)

For Eisenstein partial representation provided the means to the imaginative liberation of emotional recognition. And his chief means of obtaining it was through film montage, which he regarded as an essentially emotional molding of images in time. By cutting up film he also cut up, and thereby obscured, the normal flow of events to create a new structure of relationships, carefully selected for their evocative power. In his film October8, for instance, he conveyed the emotionally charged sense of waiting that preceded the storming of the Winter Palace through a disjointed succession of fleeting images. The film cuts continually from shots which include a stationary warship by a bridge, a pair of soldiers huddled in anticipation of a message and the opposing women soldiers nervously walking the battlements. The same images return repeatedly and, each time, nothing has changed. As an almost superfluous confirmation, the word waiting briefly appears on the screen. An emotional recognition is almost inevitable with such evocative images whose temporally obscured representations transmit far more than the sum of their individual parts. In similarly eschewing realism or plot it seems no accident that real-world music frequently uses signal processing in a manner which, literally, obscures the recorded source. The techniques may be if the composer so choosesdirectly analogous to this intention to partially represent a theme. While

examples of this type of writer. The category might be expanded to include the, increasingly prevalent trait of imbuing fiction with factual events, or vice versa, in what is sometimes termed the post modem novel. As examples, D.M.Thomas Flying in to Love is an investigation of John F.Kennedys assassination that soon becomes a reflection on dreams and collective memory; Martin Amis Money is one of many recent novels where the novelist himself appears as a character in the plot. These kind of strategies rely on our willingness to integrate fantasy within a scenario that appears to be authoritative through its use of real incidents and characters. 8 1927, dir. Sergei Eisenstein and Grigory Alexandrov.



musique concrte frequently uses digital filtering or synthesis, for instance, to destroy all referential information, real-world music may use these same techniquesas in Lanskys filtered speech pieces, or Rissets cross-synthesized birdsto retain particular, evocative aspects of a source. This music speaks ofand throughthe composers internalized vision of realityan emotional response that cannot be communicated through realism alone. Instead, it presents fragmentary or restructured images that, while retaining allusions to their real-world being, are decontextualised from the normal course of events; and each are more concerned with experience than fact. Real-world music, perhaps, has a slight edge on film here sincein less time than it takes to sing a g-sharpreality can be transformed through musical abstraction. Partial representations are abetted by the fact that, in addition to the vagaries of obscured recorded images, we may contend with the emotional disruption of overtly musical contours. This is particularly apparent in Lanskys Quakerbridge, a work where quasi-tonal harmony becomes the means, to quote the composer, to find the music of the experience ofnostalgia or, rather, escape the restrictions of realism in recorded shopping mall sounds. And he, like Eisenstein, speaks in terms of emotional rather than intellectual engagement in referring to nostalgia, an image of personal experience conceived within his own minds eye. Lanskys intention is to lead us away from realism towards a musical appreciation; he places us in a musical chairwe listen to the sounds of the mall through our musical ears because his interaction with the material sits us down to listen this way. It seems that music, more than film, can give us another room from which to watch the world go by. Without in any way seeking to control our emotions the composer invites us to use them to find, in Vertovs deceptively flamboyant phrase, our own poetry of reality. And an evocative, irrational journey, one which takes fantastic flight from normal understanding, depends on a poetic sensibility that, far from being dramatic, arouses a subtle evolution of illusions, allusions and other departures from the known.
Poetic Metaphors We could say that a stable and completely realized image clips the wings of the imagination.... ...But real mobility, the very essence of motion, which is what imagined motion is, is not aroused by the description of reality, even when it describes the unfolding of reality... ....What I would actually like to examine... ...is how the imaginary is immanent in the real, how a continuous path leads from the real to the imaginary. (Bachelard, 1988, p. 4)

If reality obscuredthrough mythologizing, through montage, through digital filteringaccesses a peculiarly emotional recognition, Bachelard gives some indication of the poetic value of this exercise. In exploring that continuous path from the real to the imaginary, through the poetics of real-world music rather than poetry per se, we might discover that real-world music also encourages an individual, imaginative discovery of what is immanent in reality. And this is why it holds fast to its connection to the real. My work, people underground failsintentionallyas an essay in either dramatic realism or abstract sonic art. Because it is about being underground in its metaphorical, as much as its physical, sense, it might be regarded as an attempt to document metaphysical relationships which transcend the reality of our normal perceptions. The sounds of people walking in foot-tunnels, and interacting



spontaneously with these unusual surroundings, are used as the starting point for an imaginative, inner journey, one weighted towards emotional rather than intellectual perception. Although framed by a simple narrativea descent from above ground, a journey underground and re-arrival at the surface this musical underground journey descends beyond reality, and beyond temporal narrative. It strives to take us away from a simple apprehension of real things towards a complex apprehension of their associative meanings. It also seeks to remind us of the un-reality available in real life: we are captivated by tunnels; the changes in our environment are magic, we play with the echoes, stamp our feet and shout as we, temporarily, enter a strange, new world. And magic, of course, causes us to reevaluate reality because what seemed to be real, suddenly isnt. Like a deceptive magical illusion, people underground tries to create an experience which almost could have happened this way, but then again, you never know. You never know because the realworld sounds are processed and rearranged in a surreptitious manner. This places us in a suitably insecure and wary state of mind, despite which fantastic events sneak up on us unawares, sometimes infiltrating our reality without us even noticing. And because the work doesnt sit us down safely in either a real or imaginary chair we dont quite know what kind of ground, or underground, we are going to land on. For instance, shortly after an opening rhythmic descent, composed of sharp attacks and fragments of speech, we arrive in a strange place. This, however, is unprocessed and real: the sounds of two people walking, and talking intermittently, underground. The regular rhythm of the footsteps is interrupted occasionally by sudden thuds, which reverberate in the resonant environment. As we would expect, their pitch is always the same, sinceas in Luciers I am sitting in a roomthe fixed space provides the filter which tunes them. This section could be, and in fact was, a straightforward recording of real events, but its strangeness already engenders some doubt. As the walkers proceed these thuds are tapped out in a clear rhy thmic pattern which is then promptly answered by a loud collection of random attacks, layered and occuring at a variety of pitches. The environment appears to have responded wilfully to the human interaction. Reality fails and fantasy, momentarily, prevails. In spite of the fact that overtly musical parameters are underplayed, it is through these parameters that I tried to extend our underground associations metaphorically. As already indicated, pitch is used to infiltrate reality Towards the centre of this work, where the established underground environment descends even further from reality, pitch and rhythm are used to extend our imaginative journey: A passage using the sounds of a crowd of people passing through the tunnel gradually subsides and is replaced by distant fragments of speech interspersed with the thudding sounds and the disruptive crash created by lift-doors. Solitary footsteps return and continue in the foreground. This section is suddenly much quieter, events happen infrequently and the sounds of the lifts, thuds and distant vocal fragments occur in alternation, separatedfor the first timeby moments of silence. Since the resonance of the tunnel has defined our context, now we are nowhere. All these sounds descend in pitch at each repetition, and the thuds are neither single events nor chaotic collections but descending pairs, almost cadential in rhythm and pitch. Gradually all sounds of human origin disappear and we are left with unidentifiable thuds and crashes. Pitch and rhythm provide a musical trajectory; one which, though clearly descending, provides no clues as to its point of arrival. We perch, tentatively, on a musical chair. I tried to convey the sense that this downward journey could perhaps go on for ever; we are abandoned underground and left alone to contemplate our individual doubtsmusical and otherwisein gradually encroaching silence.



Our isolation is then relieved by the sound of a crowd of people, entering from silence and gradually rising in amplitude and density. Thuds and crashes disappear and humanity enthusiastically reasserts itself. Listening, we return to the inhabited world of the real life tunnel, and the journey continues. And in a work whose only decisive trajectory is that discovered by our listening minds in response to metaphorical suggestions, both musical processes and realism are partial representations that we meet along the way.
of all metaphors, metaphors of height, elevation, depth, sinking, and the fall are the axiomatic metaphors par excellence. Nothing explains them, and they explain everything. Put more simply, if a person is willing to live them, feel them, and above all compare them, he realizes that they have an essential quality and that they are more natural than all the others.... ...And yet language is not particularly well-suited to them. Language, conditioned by forms, is not readily capable of making the dynamic images of height picturesque. (Bachelard, 1988, p. 10)

Bachelard leads us from those powerful, elemental metaphors that all art strives to let us to feelto livetowards languages struggle to express those things that words cant express, and that is the sublime frustration of true poetry:
Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still. (T.S.Eliot, Burnt Norton)

Poetry takes words out of their usual context and seeks to defeat the power of language, the rational conditioning of forms that gives words their normal sense. And real-world music, similarly, takes real events out of their usual context, def eating our rational balance of recognition; but it also takes musical processes out of their, wholly imaginary, world where they normally struggle in abstraction with those same axiomatic poetic metaphors that Bachelard describes. But in this world they find expression in melodies, modulations, gestures, timbres or chords. Now these metaphors are turned to poetic ends in that music enlightens the continuous path from the real to the imaginary. In this manner pieces such as Sud, The Lesson and, I hope, my own work imbue musical procedures with an additional poetic worth; they give us a new, de-conditioned, recognition of chords, pitches, or amplitude curves. Now there is a tension; between what we customarily expect of words, sounds or musical processes and the new ends to which theyre turned. We lose our preconceptions of both music and realitythey make no sense. When preconceptions desert us, were left with fantasythe free play of our creative imagination. And this, for Bachelard, is the dynamic, individual, condition that poetry ideally invokes. I share Bachelards preoccupation with fantasy as an internal state of affairs and believe that real-world music, like poetry, is impelled by a desire to invoke our internal flight of imagination so that, through an imaginative listening to what is immanent in the real, we might discover what is immanent in us.



Bachelard, G. (1988) Air and Dreams trans. Edith R.Farrell and C.Frederick Farrell, Dallas: The Dallas Institute Publications Bazin, A. (1967) What is Cinema? volume 1 trans. Hugh Gray, Berkeley: University of California Press Campbell, P. (1986) The music of digital computers. Nature (December issue) Carroll, N. (1988) Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory, Princeton: Princeton University Press Casey, E.S. (1987) Remembering. A Phenomenological Study, Bloomington: Indiana University Press Collins, N. liner notes to Alvin Lucier I am sitting in a Room, Lovely Music LCD 1013 1990 Cott, J. (1973) Stockhausen. Conversations with the Composer, New York: Simon and Schuster Eisenstein, S. (1970) Notes of a Film Director, New York: Dover (1986) The Film Sense, trans. Jay Leyda, London: Faber and Faber (first published 1958) Eliot, T.S.. (1959) Burnt Norton. Four Quartets, London: Faber and Faber (first published 1944) Gleick, J. (1987) Chaos, London: Sphere (Macmillan) Harvey, J. (1985) Electronics in Music: A New Aesthetic? Composer (Summer issue) Hellmann, J. (1981) Fables of Fact. The New Journalism as New Fiction, Urbana: University of Illinois Press Jung, C. (1964) Approaching the Unconscious. Man and his Symbols (ed. Carl Jung), New York: Doubleday Lyotard, J. (1984) Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism? trans. Rgis Durand. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Bennington and Massumi, Manchester: Manchester University Press Maclean, M. (1988) Narrative as performance: the Baudelairean experiment, London: Metheun McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media, New York: Signet Books Nietzsche, F. (1977) extract from Human, all too Human in A Nietzsche Reader. London: Penguin Classics Russolo, L. (1986) The Art of Noises, trans. Barclay Brown, New York: Pendragon Press Thomas, J. (1983) Collage/Space/Montage. Collage, general ed. Jeanine Parisier Plottel, New York: New York Literary Forum Vertov, D. (1984) KINO-EYE: The Writings of Dziga Vertov, edited with an introduction by Annette Michelson; trans. by Kevin OBrien, Berkeley: University of California Press

Ferrari, L. (1989) Presque Rien avec filles INA/GRM BFHAAST CD 9009 (1963/4) Htrozygote INA/GRM BFHAAST CD 9009 Harvey, J. (1986) Mortuos Plango Vivos Voco Erato STU 71544 Lansky, P. (1990/1) Night Traffic Bridge BCD 9035 (1989) The Lesson Bridge BCD 9050 Lucier, A. (1969) I am sitting in a Room Lovely Music LCD 1013 1 Norman, K. (1991) people underground NMC D0 34 Risset, J.C. (1985) Sud INA/GRM C 1003 Stockhausen, K. (1976) Trans DG 2530 726


Real-World Sounds and Simulacra in my Computer Music

Jean-Claude Risset Laboratoire de Mcanique et dAcoustique, CNRS, Marseille, France

The author first emphasizes the fact that hearing mechanisms are adapted to performing investigations on the origin of sounds generated in an acoustic environment. He states his interest in staging encounters between the visible world of real sounds and the invisible world of digitized sounds: the former are constrained by their acoustic generation, while the latter can be termed illusory and devoid of material constraints. The author then comments on the use of metaphors, real world sounds and simulacra in his computer music, with special emphasis on the pieces Little Boy, Passages, Sud, Invisibles. He proposes that even though art involves artifice, the anchoring of inner perceptual mechanisms in the external, real world can justify the attraction of musicians to nature. KEY WORDS Computer music, nature, computer synthesis of sound, simulacrum, hearing, perception, acoustic world, virtual sound, imitation, program Real World and Real Sounds

Much of my music makes use of computer sound synthesis. Synthesis creates a virtual world of sounda purely sonic world, without a visible physical counterpart. Apparently one can hardly speak in this case of the poetry of reality. Yet synthetic sounds are real: they can be heard. A virtual world of sound is one which has the virtue to suggest a different reality, an immaterial, illusory world, often invisible, anchored in our perception rather than in our environment. Moreover synthetic sounds can evoke elements of our familiar physical world: our perception has a strong tendency to assimilate the unknown to the familiar1.

1 We often try to interpret sensory signals in terms of likely causes in our environment. As J.C.R.Licklider wrote, we hear not the sensory data, but the winning hypothesis. Fitting some known reality to a sonic message can clearly have aesthetic consequences.



In using the computer as a source of musical material, my aesthetic goal was certainly not to realize digital ersatz of acoustic sounds. However, I often synthesized simulacra, imitating by synthesis certain musical instruments or the human voice as well as other soundsmetronomes, planes, birds, windIn Sud and Invisibles, I also used recorded soundsnatural soundscapes, sea, insects, birds, rain. I took into account the denotations and connotations implied by the fact that certain synthetic sounds seem to come from a recognizable source: I shall explain below in what musical context. But I first want to make a point about acoustic sounds and their relation to hearing.
Sound synthesis and acoustic reality

When I started to use the musical possibilities of sound synthesis in the early sixties, I quickly found that it was harder than I thought to synthesize lively sounds and to endow them with a strong identity. Several musical instruments were difficult to imitate and even to evoke: the descriptions found in acoustic treatises were clearly insufficient, because they did not allow an aurally satisfying reconstitution. Thus, in the quest for the sonic resources available from the computer, one must explore the psychoacoustic relationthe relation between the physical structure of the sounds and their perceived effects: synthesis programs require the precise and exhaustive specification of the physical parameters of the desired sound, but what counts in music is the auditory experience, not the physical structure. The early practitioners of computer synthesis who faced this problemespecially John Chowning and myselffound this psychoacoustic relation complicated and even whimsical. Gradually, however, an Ariadne thread emerged, which appeared to explain the idiosyncracies of the psychoacoustic relation, namely the ecological or functional point of view on perception. According to this point of view, first advocated for vision by J.J.Gibson around 1950, our senses are not at all devised to measure the physical parameters of the sensory stimuli. Our perception has evolved so as to interpret the sensory stimuli and to take advantage of them in the way best suited to providing useful information about the world. In particular, hearing is equipped to perform inquiries: at the arrival of a complex sound signal, it can separate different sound sources and guess the direction and the distance of the sound sources as well as the mechanical process they embodied. To achieve such feats, hearing has developed highly specific processes, taking into account the laws of mechanics and acousticsand it resorts to these processes even when it deals with synthetic sounds, for which these processes do not apparently make sense. This point of view was documented and qualified by substantial work, in particular by that of Albert Bregman, Roger Shepard and Steve McAdams, but also by the early research of computer musicians exploring the resources of digital synthesis, especially John Chowning, David Wessel, and myself. According to Albert Bregman, hearing performs auditory scene analysisa term used by analogy to the visual scene analysis implemented in certain artificial intelligence experiments where a computer program attempts to interpret a digitized image and to recognize the consituent elements. Auditory perception has developed mechanisms to parse the complex magma of sound reaching the ear into different constituent sources. In order to achieve this, these mechanisms take into account certain



physical regularities of the world, which perception has learned through the process of natural selection during the evolution of the species. Quite a few of the schemes for our perceptual organization are now recognized to be in our genes, rather than learned through our early childhood2. The elaboration of such schemes developed over more than a million years, and it took place in a world where almost all sounds were produced acoustically. Hearing has thus developed extremely refined processes of investigation for acoustic sounds. For instance, when we receive a sound signal at a given levelsay 20 dBAwe usually have no difficulty in deciding whether it comes from a loud source situated far away or from a soft source close by. This decision, however, resorts to very fine cues, and no computer program can achieve it as we do. Acoustic sounds are constrained by the way they are generated. We attribute a clear identity to sounds when we can guess which mechanical process produced themhitting, scraping, bowing. In contradistinction, the generation of digital sounds is devoid of material constraints: one can thus shape or sculpt sound in arbitrary ways. However the lack of acoustic constraints often confuses the processes of hearing developed to interpret acoustic sounds in terms of causality. The ear is at a loss as to how to deal with digital sounds, and even though it can appreciate differences, it has few references and can perform only vague differentiations. The discrimination is better when the listener can assign synthetic sounds to specific mechanical causes, even if this assignment is wrong. For instance, sounds with a sharp attack and a gradual decay are interpreted as percussive, although nothing is hit inside the computer memory, and the listener can distinguish between various kinds of such percussive sounds according to their presumed causality. To the ear, certain percussive sounds can appear to originate from specific vibrating materialsskin or metal, for instanceeven though these sounds have been produced by digital synthesis, provided certain spectromorphological patterns have been stipulated.3 This is a certainly a disappointing situation for those longing for the sonic ocean or the blank page of soundwhich appeared within reach with the availability of digital synthesis and its promises of infinite virgin sonic territories. The first synthetic sounds sounded dull and electronic a derogatory adjective hinting that these synthetic sounds were stereotyped rather than original and varied. Even now, we have difficulty manufacturing synthetic sounds which sound very novel, except by endowing them with very special morphologies. But above all we still need a better understanding to build sounds which do not turn off the ear.4 Most of the early synthetic tones were not complex enough, but their problem was not merely the lack of intrinsic complexity: it is easy to inject randomness into synthetic sounds so as to make them intrinsically more complex than acoustic sounds, but they are not recognized as such by the listener, and this is not solely a matter of training and education.

To a question raised in 1935 by Kurt Koffka, the Gestalt psychologist: Does the world appear the way it does because the world is the way it is, or because we are the way we are?, Roger Shepard answers as follows in 1981: (1) The world appears the way it does because we are the way we are; and (2) we are the way we are because we have evolved in a world that is the way it is. 3 This is the case of examples 400 to 440 of my Sound Catalog. Cf. also the tape part of my piece Passages, 8:389:33 (or track 3 of Wergo C.D. 201350, Os to 55s). The word spectromorphology was coined by Denis Smalley. 4 Edgard Varse followed the early exploration of computer sound synthesis with interest and sympathyhe decided to present in public one of the first experiments of computer synthesis in a Varse-Cage concert in 1959 at the Village Gate in New York. However he could not stand the dead, embalmed quality of simplistic synthetic tones.



The easy way to confer a strong identity to synthetic sounds is to specify them in such a way that the listener can attribute a specific mechanical causality to them. For instance, Mathews and his collaborators added an exaggerated frequency modulation at the onset of their synthetic copies of violins tones: this made the tones appear very realistic, since they strongly suggested the clumsiness of a beginner unable to hide his bow scratches. When I came close to producing a proper computer imitation of a trumpet tone, I could make the simulated tone rougher or less regular than the original: then listeners, asked which of the two tones was synthetic, tended to guess wrong at a better than chance level. One can thus manufacture synthetic sounds that are in some sense more real than the real ones. Such considerations plead for the so-called physical model approach to synthesis, which simulates the process of sound production rather than merely trying to duplicate the resulting signal. With the physical model approach, one is likely to synthesize sounds with a more pregnant identity, since the sounds are produced within constraints that mimic the acoustic constraints, those to which our auditory system is tuned. In France, Claude Cadoz and his group ACROE have invested considerable effort in developing physical models. This approach also has the capacity to simulate a more complete world, with visual and haptic modalities as well as auditory ones. However this is bad news for those trying to create a novel world of sound. As one who has placed much hope in synthesis and still does, I consider this situation is difficult, but not desperate. One should draw lessons from the above remarks. This does not necessarily means that one should stick to acoustic reality, but that one should take into account the ways hearing interprets sounds in terms of acoustic production in the real world. A revealing example is the point John Chowning makes strongly about loudness: one tends to consider the amplitude of the wave as the physical correlate of loudness. However the amplitude of the sound which reaches the ear depends upon the distance as well as the energy of the source. When we listen to the radio, we know whether speakers speak loudly or softly or whether an orchestra plays pp or ff, regardless of the setting of the volume dial. Our ear resorts to fine cues to appreciate our distance from the sound source as well as the energy of the production of sound. For instance, the spectrum is richer if the trumpet is played louder; the level of the vowels increases more than that of the consonants when one speaks louder; and the ratio of direct to reverberant sound is larger when the sound source is closer. These relations provide more robust cues than a mere amplitude level: for instance the direct to reverberant ratio helps to evaluate the distance of the sound source, similarly to visual perspective (Cf. Chowning, 1991). Consequently, one has trouble conveying a strong feeling of loudness and dynamic contrast in synthetisized sounds by resorting only to amplitude differences. One can induce more vivid sensations by introducing cues similar to those the ear resorts to with acoustic sounds to appreciate the energy at the source, its distance and the effort put into the production of the sound. We have only two sensitive and precious ears: to suggest strength, energy and loudness, we should know better than deafening listeners with decibels. In my synthesis work, I have taken such considerations into account in order to animate sounds. I have carved and transformed sound in special ways to obtain specific morphologies. In certain cases, I worked at contriving the sound parameters so as to suggest paradoxical sound behaviors or acoustic illusions; for instance in creating a succession of tones which seem to go up in pitch but which end lower than they started; where the beat rate seems to constantly slow down yet is much faster thirty seconds later; and which seem to rotate in space (Risset, 1989). The listener quickly becomes familiar with the



morphology of such sounds, surprising as they may sound at first. The pitch paradox results from our belief that the pitch we hear mirrors the objective frequency. As was explained earlier, hearing functions in a peculiar way. It certainly does not measure physical parameters, as I showed in two demonstrations: a tone can appear to go down in pitch when its frequencies are doubled; and a pattern of beats can appear to slow down when one doubles the speed of the tape recorder on which it is played (Risset, 1986). Here the relations between sounds are not the same in the heard phenomenological reality and in the physical reality In so far as music is meant to be heard, what counts is the relations we hear, not the relations we stipulate between physical parameters which our ear does not measure and appreciate directly. There is an effect of tensionthis paradoxical situation seems logically impossiblestemming from this divergence between physical and phenomenal reality. I have tried to synthesize a lively world of sounds, distinct from the acoustic worldthe world of real objectsand to control synthesis so that these two worlds can occasionally merge as well as diverge and contrast. I shall now discuss this with regard to specific examples. Of course, other composers had similar concerns; I shall just mention a few here. According to Franois-Bernard Mche, nature and mythical thinking both reveal fundamental archetypes of form, which music should attempt to revive (Cf. Mche, Grabocz, 1993). Several musicians of the musique concrete school Pierre Henry, Luc Ferrari, Franois Bayle, Georges Boeuf, Daniel Teruggi, Magnus Lindberg, Knut Victor, Jon Appleton, Michel Redolfi5of ten played with the denotations and connotations of sounds of recognizable origindespite the advice of Pierre Schaeffer, who recommended hiding this origin, in order to incite the listener to pay attention to the morphology of the sound rather than to reduce it to a label signaling a category. In his piece Saturne, Hugues Dufourt calls for a vast instrumentarium of percussion and electric instruments, with full awareness of the symbolism of their pop-music connotations (Cf. Castanet, p. 88). I mentioned above John Chownings concern to construct synthetic sounds in ways appropriate to the auditory organization of the listener. Chowning worked hard at introducing a dimension of depthin the proper senseinto the illusory world of digital synthesis. His efforts to provide subtle cues hinting at some reality gave depth to this world in the figured sense as well: Turenas carves its own space through the trajectories of illusory sound sourcesbut the timbres are also given trajectories that take them from harmonic to inharmonic and back to harmonic spectra, occasionally evoking either closely or remotely familiar soundsbirds, bells, drumsbut with a ductility which is the mark of synthesis. Some other examples: Mike McNabb has synthesized separate realities in his pieces Dreamsong and Love in the asylum; Charles Dodge has used artificial voices produced by computer programs implementing analysis-synthesis techniques such as linear predictive coding: the composer modifies the data before resynthesis and deliberately makes the voices unnatural; Paul Lansky resorts to similar programs to mirror reality and to recompose it artificially; in Interphone, Michel Decoust uses the amplitude and pitch contours extracted from the recitation of a poem by Claude Minire to control synthetic sounds which no longer evoke a voice; Trevor Wishart has composed a cycle of vocal works called Vox, where the human voice undergoes metamorphoses.; Jonathan Harvey built his Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco from the recording of two sound elements, the voice of his son and the bells of the Winchester cathedral, processed and resynthesized by computer; in

Redolfi used sounds recorded under the sea, and some of his pieces are intended to be played and heard under water.



Aber die Namen, Gerald Bennett confronts flesh and blood singers with desembodied synthetic voices; in Rainstick, he turns a synthetic sound evoking a male voice into the very concrete sound of a rainstick.
Metaphors of Reality

In several of my pieces, I have used metaphors which allude to aspects of reality. Inharmonique, for soprano and computer-synthesized tape, has a metaphorical scenario. As a symbol of emergence, pure tones come out from noises: liquid sounds evoke the amniotic environment which precedes birth. The emergence of the high soprano voice, piercing the screen of inharmonic tones, is a stylization of the primal scream. Then the voice part grows, lives, dies, its remembrance floats around the hall, with the help of computer spatialization, and the piece ends on the ebb and web of noisy textures. There is a theatrical aspect in the confrontation of a live soprano on stage with computersynthesized soundspresence and absence. Songes takes the listener from an instrumental reality into a dream-like world, where the material constrainsts dissolve into fluid textures and flying sounds. In Voilements, for tenor saxophone and tape, the soloist fights against his sound shadow, which becomes more and more troublesome to his playing, until a crisis erupts. Then the perspective changes as, zooming back, the timbral range of the tape sounds expands, and the relation between the soloist and the tape become more distant and more peaceful. Saxatile, for soprano saxophone, places a live performer, coming from the organic realm, against a mineral world of sounds (saxatile means leaving among the rocks). I have also taken advantage of the denotation and connotation of a particular object evoked by its sound, letting the identity of the sound come throughor its make believe identity: for programmatic purposes (Little Boy), for games of identity (Lautre face, Passages) or to invoke the poetry of reality (Sud, Invisibles).
Little Boy and its theatrical scenario

Computer Suite from Little Boy, completed in 1968, was my first significant computer piece. In 1969,1 composed Mutations with pretty similar synthesis elements. These elements are described in my 1969 Catalog of synthesized sounds: imitations of instruments, sonic developments using additive synthesis of frequency components, and paradoxical sounds. However the pieces are quite different: the scenario for Mutations is only metaphoricala gradual mutation from a discontinuous pitch scale to a pitch continuum, while Little Boy follows a theatrical scenario.6 Computer Suite from Little Boy is part of the music I composed for the play Little Boy by Pierre Haletthis music also included sections for soprano and instruments. Little Boy is the code name for the Hiroshima atomic bomb: the play begins by the announcement of a commerative broadcast of the Hiroshima raid on the television of a psychiatric hospital. Eatherly, the pilot of the reconnaissance plane of this raid, is under treatment at the hospital; he gets excited, and is calmed down by drugs, and then relives the raid in his dreams.

In her work, starting with her study of the piano works of Liszt, Marta Grabocz has emphasized the influence of the programmatic aspects on the form of the music.



To illustrate this musically, I simulated several musical instruments with the computer, using the results of my experiments in imitation, notably my brass tone studies. I used computer synthesis to stylize realistics elements such as the roars of the planes, the siren warnings, the sounds of a jazzband or of a japanese instrumental ensemble. Taking advantage of the flexibility of computer synthesis, I introduced a process which played a substantial role in my computer music: the inharmonic structuring of timbre. Synthesis permits one to compose the sounds themselves, just as one composes a chord: composing spectra helps to give them a functional role and not merely a coloristic one. The germinal cell of the piece is a harmonic structurefrom bottom to top: G sharp, D, G natural, E, B, A sharp. This structure can be heard clearly in the instrumental passages, but it is also imprinted, for instance, within plane sounds as well as within certain gong-like sounds. A priori, there seems to be no point replicating a gong sound by synthesis. However, I could compose a pseudo-gong sound just like a chord, with a prescribed harmonic content, a content which cannot be controlled in a real gong. Thanks to the flexibility of computer synthesis, I could thus produce stylized imitations of instruments or other soundsplanes, sirens, engine noiseswhile endowing them with some unreal quality (and also some tight, organic relation with the musical structures performed by the singer and the instrumentalists in the non-computer sections). But I also used the computer to manufacture sounds in a non-instrumental fashion. In particular, I produced paradoxical sounds going beyond Shepards scale to heavena circular motion of pitch, which Shepard could initially only produce with successive sounds separated by silences (Shepard, 1964). To illustrate the mental collapse of the pilot, I generated glissandi endlessly gliding down. I also synthesized paradoxical tones seeming to go down in pitch locally but ending much higher than they started. The power of synthesis permits one to provoke sonic illusions by contriving the physical structure of the sound in specific ways that trigger certain perceptual mechanisms. I worked on these illusions to produce certain dramatic effects in line with the plota fantasmatic reliving of the Hiroshima raid. I also used the harmonic cellG sharp, D, G natural, E, B, A sharpas the root of melodic textures, such as the spectral analyses of chords heard several times in the piece, in particular at the beginning and just before the end. These textures are clouds of harmonics of the component pitches, which appear above the specified chord structure in regular or irregular order. By controlling the amplitude envelope of the components, I could either make them stand out clearly, or nearly fuse with sounds imprinted with the harmonic cellemanating insidiously like a harmonic vapor. This occured in accordance with the suggestions of the theatrical plot. The Suite attempts to roughly sum-up the movement of the play; it comprises three parts. The first section, Flight and Countdown, follows the pilots dream, which takes him through a musically stylized plane flight, with episodes of synthetic jazz and japanese-like tunes. The flight is terminated by a count-down preceding the release of the bomb. The following section is the Fall. The pilot thinks that Little Boy, the bomb with which he identifies in his inf antile regression, is fallingin fact a psychological collapse takes place that never reaches any bottom. The last part is called ContraApotheosis, like the anti-climactic end of the play. Here various time fragments are recalled or evoked in a deliberately desintegrated way, as the obsessions of the central character and his entire world mentally rotate. Although the music is meant to accompany a specific action and includes sounds that seem to come from the real world, certain cues in the sounds or in the music indicate that the action is in a mans



mind. The ductility inherent to synthesis allowed me to mutate certain sounds into others, to suggest the shattering of the world in a shaken mind. Thus, in the contra-apotheosis, the jazz band gets mixed up and ends as a gun-like beat; the Japanese instruments turn into sirens; a pandemonium of sounds builds up above an endless rotating glissando, to be quieted down and dissolved into memories.
Acoustic Instruments and Synthesis: Passages

In a number of my pieces, I merged the world of acoustic instruments and the world of synthetic sounds. In Dialogues, I staged encounters between flute, clarinet, piano, percussion and a computersynthesized tape. The central concern here is the interaction between these two worlds, which can come close, but which are different in nature. Instruments and synthetic sounds respond to each other, prolongate each other, fuse or contrast. For instance, the third movement of Mirages7 confronts 16 live instrumentalists with an unreal instrumental ensemble. Passages,8 for flute and computer, is conceived as chamber music rather than as a concerto. The title refers to the changing sonic environment created by the computer: indeed, the nature of synthetic sounds is to have flexible identity. I had the image of a traveler observing through the train window different landscapes filing one after the other. In the piece, the flute plays against successive soundscapes, each with a different character. One hears successively noisy glides, with spectral distributions similar to those found in turbulence phenomena; fluid noisy contours, ending as clear pitches; harmonic scans; vibrato tones insidiously turning into quasi-trills; serial snatches, as historical remains, played with timbres evoking flute and brass; rhythmical beats, as for parades or danceswith synthetic percussive sounds which, however, clearly evoke skin membranes or metal instruments; bouncing beats, later frozen into imaginary bells; tones mutating into voices. Confronted by this shifting scenery, the flute maintains its identity but varies its modes and moods, merging with the soundscape or contrasting with it. In fact, Passages is an experiment in identity. The flute player varies his playing technique to some extent; yet the identity of the flute remains clear, even when it plays breathy sounds or whistle tones. The tape part initially attempts to confuse the issue by introducing flute-like sounds; but only toward the end do identities become blurred, when the flute player sings and plays at the same time, while an irregular vibrato imposed on synthetic sounds endowes them with a voice-like quality These sounds, even though they only roughly approximate the sounds of a real voice, evoke in a compelling way the in the flesh reality of a non-existing singer. In Lautre face, for soprano and computer synthesized sounds, I staged a similar confrontation between a live soprano on stage and a sound evoking a non-existent singer. Manipulating numbers specifying spectra, envelopes or modulations does not seem to imply anything human or sexual: yet, while I was synthesizing these sounds, I confess to have been haunted myself by the sonic apparition of an illusory female presence.

7 8

Commissioned by the Donaueschingen Festival. Commissioned by Biennale di Venezia (Laboratorio dInformatica Musicale).




My piece Sud can be termed hybrid and naturalistic: it invokes the poetry of reality. It opens with environmental soundscapessound photographs of a natural scenefollowed by quite different sounds obtained via synthesis. In the course of the piece, the two worlds of soundnatural and artificialwill gradually merge together through transformations and hybridations. As Katharine Norman writes, the very subject is this active process of transformation.what we perceive and listen to are resemblances, traces and transformations of the known. (Norman, 1993) The piece was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture at the request of Franois Bayle, the director of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in Paris. Pierre Schaeffer introduced musique concrete here. Now GRM has electronic equipment and computers: it has, however, continued to pursue its original protocols and aesthetic aims. Working in this context incited me to choose for the first time a sonic material including natural sounds. I had long been resisting concrete sounds because I found that it was hard to carve them, to transform them intimately, in ways that would not be rudimentary compared with the richness and the strength of identity of the original sounds. Not feeling able to submit these sounds to my compositional intentions, I feared an aesthetic of collage. This is still a concern of mine. A major research goal in my team of Inf ormatique Musicale at the Laboratoire de Mcanique et dAcoustique in Marseille is to gain the ability to process sounds with a ductility approaching that afforded by synthesis. Daniel Arfib, Richard Kronland-Martinet, Philippe Guillemain and others took the approach of analysis-synthesis and modelling. One can alter the data between the analysis and the resynthesis in order to perform inner modifications which are hard to achieve otherwise, for instance modifying independently the scale of time and the scale of frequency.9 Modelling implies extracting from a given sound the parameters that allow one to make a replica of this sound using a given model of synthesis such as additive synthesis, substractive synthesis, non-linear distorsion, frequency modulation, or a specified combination of these methods. If one succeeds, processing a modelled sound is then akin to synthesis, which ensures flexibility and malleability Thus one can hope to exert genuine compositional control extending to the level of the sonic microstructure.
Succcessive steps of the composition of Sud

At GRM, the late Benedict Mailliard had developed efficient programs for processing sounds, and these programs, together with Mathewss MUSICVoften used internally in Mailliards routines afforded possibilities to transform sounds in ways that could be appropriate to my project of merging together the world of natural and synthetic sounds. I began by assembling a set of recorded sounds. I recorded a few soundscapes from the sea and the country around Marseille: the ebb and flow of a quiet sea; roars of a mistral tempest; water lapping ringing in rock cavities; remote birds and voices; insect buzzes and cracking seeds in the summer sun; nocturnal stridulation of crickets. I also collected a few other sonic snapshots: a short cello note, bangings from wood chimes and metal chimes, a fast arpeggio gesture played on the piano, short sequences of tropical and equatorial birds songs from a recording found in Singapore. Some of the

I used this transformation in Invisiblessee discussion later in this paper.



above soundscapes appear in the piece with only minor modifications or no modification at all, for instance the sea at the beginning, or the insect sounds at the end of the first movement. I selected fifteen rather short recordings, lasting between 1 and 20 seconds, as a kind of sonic kernel: these were subsequently submitted to several generations of processing, as described below. In Marseille, I also generated some synthetic sounds with the MusicV program. I chose a defective major-minor pitch scale, which encompasses two octaves (G naturalBEF sharpG sharpBEF sharpG naturalBEF sharpG sharp) as the trade mark of synthetic sounds in the piece. In contrast, the natural sounds I gatheredfor instance birds or cricketsoriginally comprise no pitches intended by the composer; they may even have no distinctive pitch, for instance sea sounds. Most of the synthetic sounds follow this scale. Although they were not generated in real-time, these synthetic sounds were conceived as gestures. For instance, I have specified ample arpeggioes in terms of curves abstracted from wave contours and quantified to the steps of the major-minor scale. I also generated tones which which appear to fly in space like birds: sine waves modulated in frequency by complex, supple, almost visible contours. Next I modified and proliferated my original soundsmost recorded, some syntheticby submitting them to the transformations implemented by Mailliard in studio 123 at GRM. I now describe various kinds of transformations and the way I used them for my project: Firstly, I recall that sound recording is akin to photography: it is not enough to push the button one has to choose the subject, the time, the light, the focus. Using sensitive microphones and hiding myself still and silent in the tall wild dry grass in Luminy, below the Mont Puget, I could zoom into the multiple insect world and obtain close-ups of humming bees and cracking seeds in the heat of high noon. (This is presented around the middle and the end of the first movement). One also must select from the recorded material. Somewhat arbitrarily,10 I chose a found object the sound of a wave, recorded a certain morning of June 1984to serve as a seminal cell used throughout the piece. With the GRM program Brage, one can shuffle sonic elements, i.e., control the division of sounds into short time fragments and the reassembling of these fragments in various ways. I used this sound shuffling to perform sonic developments from short sounds, such as wood and metal chimes, (heard notably in the first movement) and to produce a stuttering piano, further processed by ring modulation. Starting from birds songs, which were originally found objects, I rearranged them compositionally to obtain first a pointillistic rendering, then a stretto-like episode. (This is heard in the first movement, just before the entrance of synthetic sounds). A few sounds were spatialized. The piece is originally in four tracks, but it is often treated as dual stereoback and front. Spatialization was performed on recording of birds to give the illusion of a controlled and somewhat (purposely) artificial movement of rotation. Thirty seconds after the beginning, a relatively slow movement is heard to the back of the listener; thirty seconds later, higher tones seem to rotate faster in front. Spatialization was also performed in the course of synthesis on bird-like tones, modulated in frequency by supple and complex curves. I used reverberation to smooth certain processed sounds (for instance shuffled wood chimes), but I avoided it for recorded soundscapes, so as to suggest to the listener the actual spaces where they were

In fact, I did take into consideration my evaluation of the pattern of this found object and of its generative potential when I selected it as a germ-cell.




captured. (This can be heard specially in the first three minutes or at the end of the first movement). I did add a little background reverb to reinforce the illusory rotations. By mixing the sound to itself with a short time delay, I induced a pitch coloration: the pitch heard corresponds to a frequency which is the inverse of the delay. This is surprising for those unaware of digital comb filters: the precision of analog manipulation is usually insufficient to encounter such phenomena. Yet Greeks and Chinese knew about this effect. In a Greek semi-circular theatre where the audience faced the sea, the successive steps reflected the sea sounds with equally-space time delays, corresponding to the additional path of sound to and fro the next step: the actors noticed the ensuing coloration of the sea sounds. One can increase the degree of coloration by adding more copies of the sound shifted in time. I used this to introduce a G sharp colouran important pitch in the major-minor scale permeating the piecein a more and more intense way at the beginning of the third movement. By phasingmixing a sound to a transposition of itself with a minute frequency difference (say a twentieth of a Herz), one can turn steady periodic tones into a pattern where the harmonics of the tone wax and wane at different rates, proportional to the rank of the harmonic. This happens because the small frequency differences cause phase differences to slowly go from 0 to 360: thus beats appear, with a period of 20 s for the first harmonic, but of only 2 s for the 10th harmonic, and of 20/n for the nth harmonic. This produces an unexpected effect. It requires the precision of digital processing, and it is reinforced by the addition of more transpositions with the same frequency difference. I have used this trick before to animate synthetic sounds in a number of pieces: Little Boy, Inharmonique, Songes (cf. Hartmann, 1984). Through phasing, I produced spectral scanning of cello tones, heard toward the beginnning of the third movement. I was curious to submit non-periodic sounds to phasing. One can change the frequency of digitized sounds by properly interpolating between the samples. I applied the process to sea roars recorded during a day of mistrala heavy sound with a wide spectrum. The result came to me as a surprise: added to the sea sounds was a powerful downward glissando, starting shrill and widening in spectrum until it finally got lost into low depths, not to reappear again. The explanation is not as simple as with periodic tones: the rate of descent could be predicted as a function of the frequency difference as in the periodic case, but several scientists I asked were puzzled by the result. I questioned Max Mathews, who proposed the following explanation: noise is not periodic but, unless it is white noise, it has some span of coherence, although the autocorrelation function dwindles to zero with increasing time (while this function is periodic for periodic tones). Hence a beating effect functions to some extent, reinforcing the gliding frequency with a spectrum which gets richer and richer, as long as this coherence still exists. After a while; coherence gets lost, and the beating reinforcements do not recur. Anyway, this was a powerful found object, or rather a found effect. I decided to take advantage of serendipity and to change my plan for the piece as a result of this encounter. The second movement would be a metaphoric tempest, striated by these impressive scannings, and with a catastrophic endinga metaphor for a wreckage. Applying time reversal was necessary to obtain ascending curves from the preceding descending ones: an upward scanning cannot be obtained in real time, since the descent corresponds to the entropic loss of order, while an ascent would be a statistically impossible route to coherence. I also resorted to mixing with enveloping and transposition. I used this to shape synthetic inharmonic tones from energy fluxes of the wind and the waves of the sea (for instance at the beginning of the second movement). I used amplitude contours stylized from actual dynamic curves



found in recorded sounds, with frequency trasposition intervals also calculated in accordance to these dynamic curves, but quantized to the steps of the major-minor scale. I also used transposition to exert control over certain pitches of the natural sounds. For instance, shortly before the end of the first movement, one can hear cricket-like chirps on the following pitches: G sharp, G sharp, F sharp, E, G natural, B. In June around Marseille, crickets tend to stridulate on F sharp: transposition made them follow the steps of the chosen scale. Many listeners attribute a gliding hum heard shortly after to an actual plane: but it is only a by-product of the frequency transposition of the background. In the third movement, low and slightly coloured sea sounds are presented successively so as to be heard as G natural, B, E, F sharp, G sharp. filtering. I extensively resorted to filters implemented by Mailliard. I used about 25 resonant filters tuned to the steps of the minor-major scale. Their impulse response increases when the bandwidth narrows. Very narrow filters are in effect oscillators: an excitation will make them resonate at the frequencies they are tuned to, and the long resonance will completely blur the temporal behavior of the excitation. One can compare the array of resonant filters to a huge piano where the only raised dampers correspond to the notes of the major-minor scale. On the contrary, wider filters will do better in preserving the original identity of the excitation, but they will be weaker in the imposition of the scale. As the reader may have gathered, real world sounds and synthetic sounds are made to come closer principally through two kinds of transformation (in addition to cross synthesis described below): 1) External morphologies from real world sounds are imprinted onto synthetic sounds; 2) the majorminor pitch scale is gradually imposed on real world sounds. In addition to tranposition, the use of resonant filters tuned to the steps of the minor-major scale played a major role in the latter operation. I applied such resonant filtering to various sounds: for instance the seminal wave contours which opens the piece can he heard filtered in the third movement, in a kind of liquid singing and ringing to the scale. In the first part of the third movement, birds songs and caws are followed by their resonance. Working out of real-time, I delayed the birds with respect to their resonance: non-causal filters responding before having been excited! However I did not use this effect in the piece, perhaps because to me it sounded non-natural. Later in this movement, I let a bird raga flourish: it was obtained by filtering a selected bird song through a set of relatively wide resonant filters: this allows pitches other than merely those of the scale to come through, being heard as a kind of appogiatura preceding the E. As Marta Grabocz (Grabocz, 1989) notices, in the second movement of Sud, the pseudo bell-buoy and the sea sounds resonate in the manner of an organ. I obtained this by applying some of the abovementioned transformations: resonant filtering creating an harmonic skeleton, and reproducing motives in several octaves and on degrees of the scale through mixing with transposition. This evokes a religious connotationpantheistic and cosmic, since natural sounds are incorporated in this organ. modulation or cross-synthesis. Starting from two sounds, the process of modulation or crosssynthesis produces an hybrid which combines certain characteristics of both original sounds. In the digital domain, ring-modulation is a simple multiplication of waves: from sine waves of frequencies f1 and f2, it produces additional components of frequencies f1+f2 and f1f2. I have modulated piano arpeggioes to make them inharmonic (they were then subjected to resonant filtering: the result can be heard in the first part of the third movement). Linear predictive coding (LPC) is more elaborate. LPC analysis separates a sound into two parts: one primarily characterizes the excitation, the varying, dynamic, agogic aspects, whereas the other



determines the response, the fixed, spectral, structural aspects. I thus crossbred sounds of different origins: birds with metallic plate or cello sounds; sea waves with wood chimes or synthetic harpsichords. The former yielded intriguing chimerasbird-gong, bird-cello. The latter produced waves of wood chimes, or waves of harpsichord, thus imprinting on recognizible sounds the powerful energy profile of other sounds. (Note that the effect of a cross synthesis of this nature is much stronger that the mere imposition of an amplitude envelope taken from one sound onto another sound). My main purpose was to endow certain sounds with fluxes from other sounds, injecting specific qualities without necessarily confusing the identitiessimilar to Czannes desire to merge feminine curves with hill shoulders.11 When one performs several generations of cross-synthesis, spectra can become very thick and dark. I resorted to the hybridation of sea sounds with wood and metal chime sounds for the catastrophical ending of the second movement. Even though the origin of the sounds gets confused, one still gets convincing suggestions of energy: for instance the excitation by metallic percussions is transf ormed, but its effect is still felt as powerful shocks. I kept track of the successive transformations I performed in a family-tree listing the file names of the original sounds and their descendants (an asexual lineage, except for processes like modulation and cross-synthesis). This pattern looks like a big web with names at the nodes and transformations indicated along the lines. Yet this proliferation of sounds was only the pre-compositional stage, and the history of their generation has essentially nothing to do with the flow of the final work. I then had to proceed to genuine compositionarranging sounds together in a certain order, making an in-time12 ordering of this out-of-time collection of sounds. I had initial plans concerning the structure of the pieceincluding the idea of a gradual merging of real-world and synthetic sounds through the applied transformations. To get better acquaintanced with the many sounds I generated, I waited a few months before finalizing the composition, which was done in ten daysactually ten nightsin studio 116, well equipped for massive analog mixing. Digital mixing would have been easier, although perhaps I would have missed the control of the potentiometers through live gestures. However the number of sound files was quite high, and a lot of memory space would have been required. Digital mixing for such a piece was out of the question at that time, where it was hard to have at ones disposal more than 64 k of core memory and 100 Megabytes of disk space. As I already mentioned, I had selected a found objectthe ebb and flow of a wave on rough sand as a seminal cell, used throughout the piece. It is repeated in different forms; its dynamic flux permeates the whole piece. It is imprinted onto other sounds, real or synthetic. It is even reflected in the form of the work, where many structures are build around the idea of the wave. The piece is a homage to the beautiful landscapes and soundscapes surrounding Marseille, which are represented rather than reproduced. I was guided by a metaphoric scenario, which has much to do with nature in the first movement, and later with merging nature and artifice:

11 Near Marseille, the Montagne Sainte-Victoire and the view of the gulf from lEstaque suggest that nature imitates art. 12 The terms in-time, out-of-time correspond to Xenakis categories en-temps and hors-temps.



I. The sea in the morning. Waking birds: isolated peeps rising to a stretto. Harmonic clouds. Hybrid sounds emerge from the low frequencies. Heat: real and simulated birds and insects. II. Calla bell buoy animated by the sea. Wind, waves, energy flows: a metaphoric tempest and wreckage. III. Sea sounds gradually get tuned into G sharp. The harmonic grid unfolds, animated by various pulsesfrom programmed gestures, from sea waves which finally subside.

The formal scenario may be more important: it tells the story of the encounter between natural and synthetic sounds, first presented separately, and the growth of their mutual interactions. The incomplete major-minor scale initially characterizes the artificial sounds, but it is gradually woven into the natural ones. The energy contours from natural sounds progressively print their mark on the synthetic ones. The compositional logic is not one of pitch: the pitch structure does not evolve; it is merely animated by dynamic fluxes. A logic of flux? Perhaps rather a journey, an adventure. After a final recall of the initial wave contour, in counterpoint to its filtered variant, footsteps hint at a human presence, and the sound of the surf evaporates. The final dissolution may be interpreted as the abating of the tensions between the two sound worlds. Thus the piece is about the natural environmentthe animal realm rather than mankind, almost absent;13 about the sea, the wind, the elements. It also deals with energy, motion, foreground versus background, coexistence, conflict, transformation, progression, merging, fusion and hybridation, blurred distinctions and modified identities. I have given many details about the processes and their raison-dtre in my project. I shall say no more about the piece: music should speak for itself. I was fortunate to read perceptive and eloquent comments, notably from Marta Grabocz and Katharine Norman, and also Jon Appleton, Nicola Sani, Jean-Baptiste Barrire and others. Leigh Landy has bravely proposed an analysis of the third movement. I want to acknowledge Ray Gillette, Anu Kirk, Michael Casey, Cliff Kussmaul, Martin McKinney and Gerry Beauregard, which wrote enlightening short essays on Sud while they were graduate students of Jon Appleton at Dartmouth College.

Both Invisibles14 for soprano and computer, and the companion piece Invisible Irene,15 for tape, confront real world sounds with synthetic ones, and play with the identity of the sound sources. Unlike the case of Sud, however, the sound objects invoked are in this case determined by texts. The two pieces were freely inspired from Italo Calvinos Le citt invisibili, at the suggestion of soprano Irne Jarsky. In Calvinos work, Kublai Khan, the Emperor of China, listens to Marco Polo describing the many cities he visited. These cities are given womens names. In fact, they are the product of dreams or nightmares: they express desires, phantasms, fears, processes, utopias, deep schemes. As in chinese poetry, which attempts to organize words in space, Marco Polo delivers a spatial description of time;

13 14

With the exception of the heavily processed instrumental sounds. Commissioned by GMEM (Groupe de Musique Exprimentale de Marseille). 15 Commissioned by Sonic Arts Network.



he imagines a geography of mind and memory, he unveils a different world which is true and which speaks to us because he invented it. I did not actually quote a single phrase from Invisible Cities; instead, I mostly used writings by Tchouang-tseu (or Zhuangzi), a chinese Tao poet and philosopher of the IVth century B.C. These writings evoke sounds and beings, extremes and contradictions, sky and earth, nature, words and speech, idea, breath, voidin a manner often surprisingly close to the tone of Invisible Cities. Without trying to visit the many themes and mythical cities found in the texts of Tchouang-tseu and Calvino, the sound images attempt to suggest metaphorically some haunting themes taken from these texts. I also used short quotations by Lao Tseu, Wang Wei, Basho, Dante, Leopardi, Goethe, Heine and Longfellow, which evoke similar themes. In this piece, the central sonic material is the recorded voice of Irne Jarsky speaking or singing the texts. I explicitly used sounds of natural origin: rain, thunder, wind, birds. They are often presented in a plain way. For instance the sound of the rain echoes a haiku by Basho:
furu ike ya kawasa tobikomu mizu no oto

which means:
an old pond a frog jumps the sound of the water

Natural sounds are also transformed and combined with different sounds. At the beginning, gusts of winds are echoed by sibilants from the singer. Later in the piece, in order to echo Tchouang-tseus evocation of breath as a void capable of modeling itself to external objects, I have performed cross synthesis of wind sounds with speech, replacing in effect the sopranos vocal cords with the blowing of the wind. I have also slowed down the sound of the word langsam (German for slow) without frequency transposition, to echo Heines evocation of the sluggishness of time. The name Chlo is also slowed down at a variable rate, reckoned to follow a composed melodic contour. In such a case, computer processing permits to preserve the identity of the sound origin while transfiguring its time scale, hence its dynamic behavior. Here composition, rather than assembling sound objects in time, specifies time within sound objects. Many of the sounds which interact with the recorded voice of Irne Jarsky do not come from a physical world that can be seen and touched, they are not the audible trace of mechanical vibrations in a material world, even though these sounds evoke objects or instruments. Thus I simulated bells and gongs. Synthesizing bell tones makes it easy to compose them as minor harmonies, as in usual bells, but also as majorto echo a poetic suggestion by Tchouang-tseu: zephyr produces a minor harmony, squalls a major harmony. In several sections, I also synthesized the acoustic environment. Sonic transformations bring the voice into a fictitious, virtual acoustic, which does not come from the bouncing of sound waves against solid obstacles: but of course we interpret this acoustic by assuming



a space in which the sounds travel. Specifying the acoustic and its transformations is part of the composition; the connotations of the space the listener is led to imagine must be taken in account. The use of digital synthesis and processing thus permits one to implement immaterial processes, to produce illusory voices, to set the sounds in imagined spaces comparable to Calvinos invisible cities even though Calvinos imagination is more agile and varied than the sound simulacra I was able to produce.
Reality In Us and Around Us

The chinese poet and painter Wang Wei states that things must be both present and absent. I try to implement this idea in my computer music. Music is an art of illusion. Ars bene movandi according to Saint Augustine, it must convey impressions of movements. Schumann, stressing the importance of playing legato at the piano, remarks that it is a deception of the ear. More than a century ago, visual illusions were described by Purkinje as deceptions of the senses, but truths of perception. Auditory illusions are recent: only with digital synthesis has it become possible to specify directly the physical parameters of sound and to contrive them so as to produce illusions. To a large extent my deep interest in the possibilities of computer synthesis has to do with the possibilities it gives to act upon perceptual processes and to foster some illusory aspects of music. I endea vour to control the parameters of the synthetic sounds to suggest an illusory world that can appear true to perception. My piece Songes takes the listener from a quasi-instrumental soundscape into a sound world devoid of material constrainsts, a world where the identity of sound objects gets dissolved into a drifting flux of of textures. Songe is a French word for dream: this transformation is intended to suggest the dreamlike character of adventures taking place in a unreal world. But can we be sure to distinguish between illusion and reality, insofar as our experiences all come through our perception, our conscience? Tchouang-tseu recounts a dream in which he thinks he is a butterfly. When he awakes, he wonders: is he Tchouang-tseu and has he been dreaming that he was a butterfly, or is he a butterfly dreaming that he is Tchouang-tseu? Could our dreams (songes) be dreams of a dream? I wish to relate this question to some burning issues in contemporary physics: Quantum mechanics makes important distinctions between what can be observed and what cannot be. Recently, the mathematician Alain Connes has merged differential geometry with the algebra of non-commutative operators. As the physicist Daniel Kastler noticed, this theory bears the promises of a brilliant model for elementary physical interactions. In this framework, aspects of which had been foreseen by Riemann and Von Neumann, the notion of algebra of interactions tends to take precedence over the notion of space. Space becomes the resultant of interactions: it is no longer the a priori framework, the empty stage thought of by Kant or Einstein. A bold extrapolation of this view would lead to negate external reality per se and to consider it only as an interpretative and speculative construction from our inner perceptual operationsas the illusory sound sources which swiftly whirl round in the illusory space carved by Chownings Turenas. I do not, however, believe in solipsism. Perhaps it is only within us that the world rises to consciousness, that reality fires, that values and transcendence can live: yet I believe that external reality is robust. According to the ecological view, it is in order to accommodate itself to the real world which surrounds us that perception has become so highly specific. Thus, far from being an escape from



external reality, playing with perception, illusions, simulacra is a way to deepen our relation to reality, to explore the workings of our senses, our only windows to the the world. As novel as it may seem, the creative work does not spring from nowhere: it stems from reactions of the artistand the microcosm the artist elaborates is anchored in the reality surrounding him as well as in his own self. The anchors may be explicit, obviouswhen the musician resorts to natural sounds evoking some specific sound sourceor implicit and latentwhen he properly devises his synthetic sounds so as to inject into them life, identity, presence (an illusory presence). I am interested in confrontingfusing or constrastingtwo different worlds of sound, relating to what Roland Barthes calls gnochant and phnochant: the acoustic world, which is the sonic aspect of the external reality, and the synthetic world, which is mere auditory appearance, but which takes presence and identity in our consciousness through perceptual operations that were originally favored by evolution, in so far as they provided hints about the external reality. Perhaps I have set up encounters between these two worlds in a groping attempt to revive and ignite archaic and forgotten relations between the world inside us and the world around us. I will give the last word to Debussy:16 music was intended to reflect the mysterious accord that exists between nature and the imagination.
Arfib, D. (1991). Analysis, transformation, and resynthesis of musical sounds with the help of a time-frequency representation. In The representation of musical sounds, edited by G.de Poli, A.Picciali & C. Roads, pp. 87118. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T Press. Barthes, R. (1972). Le grain de la voix, Musique en jeu, 9 5763. Bennett, G. (1981). Singing synthesis in electronic music. Research aspects of singing, edited by J.Sundberg. Stockholm: Publication n 33 of the Royal Academy of Music, Stockhom, 3450. Bregman, A.S. (1990). Auditory scene analysisthe perceptual organization of sound. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press. Cadoz, C., Luciani, A. & Florens, J.L. (1984). Responsive input devices and sound synthesis by simulation of instrumental mechanisms: the Cordis system. Computer Music Journal 8 n 3, 6073. Castanet, P.A. (1995). Hugues Dufourt25 ans de musique contemporaine. Paris: Michel de Maule. Chowning, J. (1971) The simulation of moving sound sources. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 19, pp. 26. Chowning, J. (1973). The synthesis of audio spectra by means of frequency modulation. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 21 n 7, 526534. Chowning, J. (1989). Frequency modulation of the female voice. In Current Directions in Computer Music Research, edited by M.V.Mathews & J.R.Pierce, pp. 5763, 403405, sound examples 3038. Chowning, J. (1991). Music from machines: perceptual fusion and auditory perspectivefor Ligeti. In Fr Gyrgy Ligeti, Laber-Verlag, Hamburg, 231244. Dodge, C. (1989). On Speech Songs. In Current Directions in Computer Music Research, edited by M.V. Mathews & J.R.Pierce, pp. 918, 399400, sound examples 813. Dufourt, H. (1991). Musique, pouvoir, criture, France: C.Bourgois. Gibson, J.J. (1950). The perception of the visual world. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Gibson, J.J. (1966). The senses considered as perceptual systems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Grabocz, M. (1986). Morphologie des oeuvres pour piano de Liszt. MTA Zenetudomanyi Intezet, Budapest.


This quotation courtesy of Ray Guillette.



Grabocz, M. (1989). Crations franaises en Hongrie: oeuvres de F.B.Mche, M.Battier et J.C.Risset. Cahiers du Centre International de Recherches en Esth tique Musicales, n 1415, 261263. Grabocz, M. (1993). The demiurge of sounds and the poeta doctus: Franois-Bernard Mches poetics and music. Contemporary Music Review 8, 131182. Hartmann, W.H. (1984). The frequency domain grating. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Landy, L. (1991). Whats the matter with todays experimental music?, London: Harwood Academic Publishers. Lansky, P. (1989). Compositional applications of linear predictive coding. In Current Directions in Computer Music Research, edited by M.V.Mathews & J.R.Pierce, pp. 58, 397399, sound examples 17. Mche, F.B. (1983). Musique, mythe, culture. Paris: Klincksieck. Mathews, M.V. & Pierce, J.R., editors. (1989). Current directions in computer music research, (with a compact disc of sound examples). Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press. Norman, K. (1993). Realworld Music. Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton. Risset, J.C. (1969). An introductory catalog of computer synthesized sounds (with sound examples), Murray Hill, New Jersey: Bell Laboratories. (Reissued in 1995 on Wergo record WER 20332, The historical CD of digital sound synthesis). Risset, J.C. (1985). Digital techniques and sound structure in music. In Composers and the Computer, ed. Roads, 113138. Risset, J.C. (1986). Pitch and rhythm paradoxes: Comments on Auditory paradox based on a fractal waveform. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, 80, pp. 961962. Risset, J.C. (1989). Paradoxical sounds. In M.V.Mathews & J.R.Pierce, 149158, 414, sound example 67. Risset, J.C. (1989). Additive synthesis of inharmonic tones. In M.V.Mathews & J.R.Pierce, 159163, 414415, sound examples 6870. Risset, J.C. (1991). Computersynthesis -perception -paradoxes. In Fr Gyrgy Ligeti, Laber-Verlag, Hamburg, 245258. Risset, J.C.(1992). Composing sounds with computers. In Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought, edited by J.Paynter, T.Howell, R.Orton, P.Seymour, pp. 583621. London: Routledge.. Roads, C., editor, 1985, Composers and the Computer. Los Altos, California: W.Kaufman. Shepard, R.N. (1983). Psychophysical complementarity. In Perceptual Organization, edited by M.Kubovy and J.R.Pomerantz, pp. 279342. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Smalley, D. (1992). The listening imagination: listening in the electroacoustic era. In Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought, edited by J.Paynter, T.Howell, R.Orton, P.Seymour, pp. 583621, London: Routledge.

J.B.Barrire, M.Decoust, C.Dodge, R.Reynolds, T.Wishart. Computer Music Currents, 4. Compact WERGO 202450. F.Bayle. Les couleurs de la nuit. Compact INA C1001. L.G.Bodin, R.Karpen, T.L.Petersen, J.C.Risset, F.White, J.Yuasa. Computer Music Currents, 7. Compact WERGO 202750. G.Boeuf. Abyssi Symphonia. GMEM, Compact Effects input n 1. G.Boeuf. Nocturne. GMEM, Compact Effects input n 4.. R.Boulanger, C.Dodge, P.Lansky, J.C.Risset, K.Saariaho, D.Warner. Electrocoustic music. Compact NEUMA 45073. C.Chafe, D.Jaffe, W.Schottstaedt. Computer Music. Compact CCRMA. J.Chowning. Turenas, Stria, Phon, Sabelithe. Compact WERGO 201250. The Digital Domain: A Demonstration (Excerpts from M.McNabb, J.Mattox, J.A.Moorer, L.Rush, etc). Compact Elektra/Asylum & WEA 603032. C.Dodge. Speech Songs, The story of our lives, In celebration. Compact CRI SD 348. C.Dodge, D.Fulton, P.Lansky, A.Vinao, S.Krupowicz. Computer Music Currents, 11. Compact WERGO 20312. H.Dufourt. Saturne (et Surgir). Compact MFA Accord 202542.



J.Harvey, G.Loy, M.Maiguashca, K.Saariaho, D.Smalley. Computer Music Currents, 5. Compact WERGO 20252. P.Lansky. Homebrew. Compact Bridge Records, BCD 9035. P.Lansky, J Dashow, M.Waisvisz, C.Barlow, S.Kaske. New Computer Music. Compact Computer Music Journal & WERGO. F.B.Mche. Korwar. (Avec Ferrari, Gorecki, Knittel, Horowitz). Compact ADDA 581233. G.Racot, J.C.Risset, D.Teruggi. Sax and computers (D.Kientzy, saxophones). Compact INA C2000. M.Redolfi. Sonic Waters. Compact hat Art C6026.



M.Redolfi. Desert tracks. Compact INA C1005 J.C.Risset. Sud, Mutations, Dialogues, Inharmonique. Compact INA C003. J.C.Risset. Songes, Passages, Little Boy, Sud. Compact WERGO 201350. D.Smalley. Nv. GMEM, Compact Effects input n 3.

Soundscape, Acoustic Communication and Environmental Sound Composition

Barry Truax School of Communication & School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
The problems of introducing environmental sound into the compositional process are discussed, including its acoustic character, syntactic organization, contextually based meaning, and resultant listening patterns. Gaps in traditional disciplinary approaches in dealing with environmental sound are identified, and an acoustic communicational model is proposed as an interdisciplinary alternative. The research activities at Simon Fraser University in this area, including soundscape studies, acoustic communication, soundscape composition, and the granulation of sampled sound, are summarized, along with examples drawn from the authors compositions, and the work of R.Murray Schafer, Hildegard Westerkamp and the World Soundscape Project.

KEYWORDS environmental sound, soundscape, composition, electroacoustic music, sampled sound, granular synthesis.

The current technological situation in music has brought sampled sound increasingly into the compositional domain where it is at once both familiar and problematic. The widespread availability of digital samplers and digital recording seems to bring to a grassroots level the modernist credo that all sounds are potentially musical material or, to give it a liberal political twist, that all sounds are created equal. At the lowest level of acoustic pressure function or digital sample stream, there may be a certain truth to this equality but, at any level above that, irreconcilable differences become evident. Although it is clearly possible to mitigate the consequences implicit in the use of environmental sound through such prophylactic means as abstraction or sound effects, it will be my contention in this paper that the serious use of environmental sound in music is potentially disruptive and even subversive to the established norms of the artistic field.



One major reason why environmental sound is potentially disruptive is because it points to a blind spot in the dominant paradigm of nearly every discipline which can be related to electroacoustic and computer music, a few of which I propose to summarize here: a) Western music theory, having followed composition in its path toward increasing abstraction and the primacy of pitch relationships, finds itself powerless to deal with the largely unpitched material of environmental sound. A concern for timbre might have developed, and indeed, in isolated instances has been proposed (Erickson, 1975; Wishart, 1985; Young, 1991), but progress has been slow and generally relegated to the periphery of music theory. The lack of notation and the necessity to rely on aural judgement seem to present the most serious initial problems. Moreover, musicologists themselves cannot agree on the role of timbre within a musical language. At one extreme, Jean-Jacques Nattiez claims that a style or a new system [of musical language] cannot develop, transform itself and enjoy an organic life unless it possesses a syntax[and] objects defined uniquely by way of their timbral properties cannot give rise to a syntax. (Nattiez, 1992) This position seems to correspond to the often heard conservative opinion that electroacoustic instruments should take their rightful place as just another member of the orchestra, another source of timbral variety to support the instrumental music model. A more radical position is taken by John Shepherd who argues that timbrally based composition is less abstract than pitch-time music and more situated within the world of lived experience. He remarks that As the essence of individual sonic events, timbre speaks to the nexus of experience that ultimately constitutes us all as individuals. The texture, the grain, the tactile quality of sound brings the world into us and reminds us of the social relatedness of humanity. (Shepherd, 1987) b) Psychoacoustics, having been dominated until recently by reductionistic, parameter-based models, has concentrated more on materials from speech and music which are relatively well behaved, than on the more unruly sounds of nature. In tracing the evolution of the field, Stephen McAdams (1987) has suggested that the earlier emphasis by Gestalt theorists on the integrity of the whole is returning within contemporary models of perceptual organization such as cognitive approaches to audition (McAdams & Bigand, 1993), auditory scene analysis (Bregman, 1990) and listening theory (Handel, 1989). However, as advanced as these models have become, they have been applied almost exclusively to speech and music, and one finds in these books only passing references to listening within environmental contexts, an exception being the work of Ballas and Howard (1987) who suggest that top-down and bottom-up strategies similar to language processing may be involved. c) Sound analysis and synthesis, following closely the models of acoustics and psychoacoustics, have relied on linear models, such as Fourier analysis, and the principle of independently controllable parameters. Reasonable simulations of speech and music have been achieved but I have yet to hear a convincing synthesis of any environmental sound. Even though producing such sounds through resynthesis, based on analysis, may be possible using various models, researchers typically focus on speech and instrumental sounds as source material. I have suggested elsewhere (Truax, 1992a) that we may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift toward models that deal with the complexity of environmental sounds more effectively. d) Audio artists of all persuasions often deal with environmental sound in a practical way, operating on a theoretical basis that extends from the sound effects of the foley artist, for which the sacred triumvirate of dialogue, music and effects circumscribes all possible approaches to film sound, to the acousmatic tradition of Schaeffer which starts, promisingly enough, with the complexities of real



world or concrete sound, but quickly detaches such sound from its source as an object for perception. Both in theory and practice, this approach abstracts the sound from the real world and hence preserves the European paradigm of art as the highest abstraction from reality. Although the sound object recorded out of context eschews its natural origins, the implications of those origins return with the sound event recorded within an environmental context. Theorists typically analyze the semiotic attributes of such sounds, despite the fact that semiotics has been largely developed with visual and linguistic signs and arbitrarily applied to their aural equivalents (Metz, 1985). Radiophonic artists may be the closest in their direct involvement with and use of environmental sounds (Lander & Lexier, 1990), but with many such artists one senses the dominance of conceptual approaches, with little sophistication in the design and compositional treatment of the material. e) Sociologists and communication experts similarly show a pronounced visual bias, or what might be called a deaf spot for sound, when they deal with perceptual matters at allwhich they tend to do awkwardlywith little of the sensory refinement characteristic of the musician. Even communication theorists who deal with listening (Wolvin & Coakley, 1993) focus almost exclusively on speech and music. This is an unfortunate lacuna as knowledge about how sound acquires meaning and functions to create social and psychological order (Attali, 1985), not to mention the profound impact of electroacoustic technology to drastically alter that order, would be a significant contribution to a theory on which to base environmental music. (Note that even a label such as environmental music is obviously problematic in its possible confusion with Muzak, background or New Age music, music performed in various environments, eco-propaganda, and so on.) f) Acoustical engineering and audiology are applied fields that deal largely with the trauma produced by environmental sound, generally termed noise, and its physical and psychological damage. Given the rather large potential for consequences ranging from health risks to social disruption and lawsuits, it is not surprising that a huge research literature has been created in these fields, not to mention the cadre of professionals who constitute what may be called the institutional response to these problems. Critics of the field argue that such institutions have a vested interest to manage the risk potential, not to eliminate it, and do so by maintaining the dominant paradigm (Htu, 1994). More constructive approaches (e.g. hearing conservation, acoustic design) may be found but are hindered by the lack of consensus about positive criteria (as opposed to the absence of negative effects) except in narrowly defined situations. Thus, when we look to the body of Western research that deals with environmental sound, we find the glaring absence of a coherent knowledge base; instead, there exist fragmentary, isolated pockets of expertise, conventionally based on simplistic models of energy or signal transfer with resultant effects. The absence of cognitive approaches (to the level we have come to expect in music and speech) is disheartening, and a complete model of how sound functions within a complex system of psychological, social and environmental relationships seems tentative and remote at best. Further on I will suggest how a communicational approach may circumvent many of these problems.
The Musical Use of Environmental Sound: A Dilemma

What is it about environmental sound that makes it difficult to introduce into the artistic domain? Why is it unsatisfying to substitute such sounds for either instrumental or conventionally synthesized material in a compositional process? At the most basic acoustic level, environmental sounds are much



more complex in their spectral and temporal shape than most other musical material; synthesized sound in particular has been plagued by an artificial sound quality that has none of the corporeality of environmental sound. The tools to shape and explore such sounds remain primitive and largely dominated by signal processing models. Moreover, environmental sound is not easily parameterized, and hence does not fit into any of the permutational ordering schemes normally thought of as compositional techniques. Similarly, the syntactic organization of environmental sound bears little relation to that found in speech and music, if only because these latter are intentional forms of human communication involving analogous processes of encoding and decoding. Environmental sound is decoded by the listener, whose own soundmaking operates with a different repertoire of materials, let alone conceptual intent. Nattiez, as quoted above, would be correct in maintaining that timbre cannot be the basis of a musical language because it lacks syntax, if we were to allow him to define syntax only in terms of musical models based on pitch-time parameters. The fact that environmental sound can communicate meaning, based largely on timbral distinctions, will suffice as a counterexample to his claim as long as we are prepared to accept its own forms of organization as syntax. Perhaps the biggest obstacle that environmental sound erects to its musical usage is the fact that its meaning is inescapably contextual. I have argued elsewhere (Truax, 1984) that environmental sound acquires its meaning both in terms of its own properties and in terms of its relation to context. Therefore it cannot be arbitrary as is the semiotic sign, because its own aural properties become inextricably associated with its meaningas communities who have tried to substitute a new sound signal for a traditional one have discovered to their dismay. Electroacoustic techniques, of course, specialize in taking sounds out of their original context and reproducing them arbitrarily in anothera nervous condition described as schizophonic by Murray Schafer (1969)and therefore it is not surprising that environmental sounds have been used as source material for many electroacoustic compositions for nearly a half century. The attractive acoustic richness of such sounds (in comparison to their primitively modelled electronic counterparts) has been claimed to be the motivating force for the French acousmatic school since its inception. Yet when such sounds are used less as abstract sound objects and more for their contextual associations, the tendency, particularly among composers, has been to cry anecdotal or programmatic. As a tempting parallel to Rissets (1985) classic critique of the early concrte workthat the means to transform such sounds were inferior to their richnesswe could speculate that at the level of meaning, most compositional work with environmental sounds has been inferior to the richness of their semantic content. Finally, and perhaps the most subtly, environmental sound results in a different pattern of listening than one might expect within a musical situation (Smalley, 1992). Most obviously, despite the ubiquitousness of music, environmental sound surrounds us constantly and the conventional modes of interpreting it are far more habitual and operate at a lower level of awareness than a focussed attention for speech or music. Actually, background music and public address systems maintain their ambiguous position precisely on this point, that the reproduced, disembodied sound is simultaneously speech or music and environmental sound. They have both the characteristics of their original human production, and the inanimateness of a non-human form of communication. At the very least, environmental sound compositions may challenge what constitutes a musical form of listening, if not the most appropriate venue (concert hall, radio, or public and private spaces), for their performance.



Given the degree and range of problems which environmental sound presents to the composer, it is not surprising that its use until now has been characterized as falling along a continuum between sound effects and abstracted discourse, with serious composers treading cautiously the more that any hint of the former might pertain. Simon Emmerson (1986) has added a useful second dimension to this continuum by separating material and syntax, with each dimension ranging from abstract to abstracted (the latter being the most imitative of reality) whether in terms of material or syntactic organization. He further comments that most composers wander somewhat uneasily within this field of possible discourse. Although the clarity of his model is useful for focussing attention on the problem, it can also be seen as originating from within musical practice in an attempt to absorb environmental sound into Western tradition, rather than re-evaluate or reconstruct that tradition. As such, the attempt seems most characteristic of European artistic evolution that renews itself from within through periodic revolutions that become absorbed into the dominant paradigm, no matter how bizarre the new may seem at first. A contrasting approach can be found in the work at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada that began with a study of environmental sound and all aspects of its behaviour and communicational roles as distinct from its potential musical value. In fact, the original aim of this work was largely educational and archival, motivated by a concern for the deteriorating state of the world soundscape. Admittedly the aural sensibilities of the original participants, mainly composers, played an important role and, of course, musical compositions inevitably sprang from this work. However, the basic aim was not to further exploit the environment as a source of musical material but rather to exploit the knowledge base of musical design in order to re-design the soundscape, and to reawaken peoples perceptual appreciation of its importance. The contributions of three composers and their colleagues at SFU may be singled out: R.Murray Schafer, Hildegard Westerkamp and myself. Schafer founded the World Soundscape Project (WSP), supervised its activities and those that led up to it at SFU (19651975), and through his publications most notably The Tuning of the World (Schafer, 1977)established a largely descriptive basis for soundscape studies. Westerkamp was a member of the original WSP group and has perhaps the most consistently worked both educationally and compositionally with environmental sound, in all formats including concert, radio and live performance. Most recently she has been instrumental in helping found the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) that connects groups and individuals around the world who are concerned with the soundscape, principally via a newsletter which she edits. I joined the WSP in 1973 following postgraduate studies at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht (where my work in computer music began), and besides being responsible for the teaching and research program at SFU (1975-present), have published Acoustic Communication (Truax, 1984) which extends the theoretical and applied basis of soundscape studies within acoustic and electroacoustic contexts. Since 1987 my compositional work has been exclusively with digitally sampled environmental sound for which I have developed techniques for its granulation and processing (Truax, 1990a, 1994b). In the remainder of this article I intend to summarize some of the most salient features of this work as they pertain to the dilemma of the introduction of environmental sound into composition.
The WSP and the Soundscape Composition

The basic concept of the World Soundscape Project and its establishment by R. Murray Schafer occurred at Simon Fraser University during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the details of which have



been documented by Keiko Torigoe (1982). It grew out of Schafers initial attempt to draw attention to the sonic environment through a course in noise pollution, as well as from his personal distaste for the more raucous aspects of Vancouvers rapidly changing soundscape. This work resulted in two small educational booklets, The New Soundscape (Schafer, 1969) and The Book of Noise (Schafer, 1970), plus a compendium of Canadian noise bylaws (WSP, 1972). However, the negative approach that noise pollution inevitably fostersalways being against somethingpointed to a lack of knowledge about what one wanted to achieve as a positive example. It also proved not to engender enthusiasm in students, but rather cynicism and a fatalistic attitude that nothing much could be done. A more positive approach had to be found, the first attempt being an extended essay by Schafer (1973) called The Music of the Environment, in which he describes examples of acoustic design, good and bad, drawing largely on examples from literature. Schafers call for the establishment of the WSP was answered by a group of highly motivated young composers and students, and, supported by The Donner Canadian Foundation, the group embarked first on a detailed study of the immediate locale, published as The Vancouver Soundscape (WSP, 1978a), and then in 1973, on a cross-Canada recording tour by Bruce Davis and Peter Huse. In 1975, supported by another research grant, Schafer led a larger group on a European tour that included lectures and workshops in several major cities, and a research project that made detailed investigations of the soundscape of five villages (one in each of Sweden, Germany, Italy, France and Scotland). The tour completed the WSPs analogue tape library which includes more than 300 tapes recorded in Canada and Europe with a stereo Nagra, all of which have been catalogued, their subject matter classified, and many of the sounds analyzed according to spectrum and level. The work also produced two publications, a narrative account of the trip called European Sound Diary and a detailed soundscape analysis called Five Village Soundscapes (WSP, 1977a, 1977b). Excerpts of the field recordings were prepared to accompany both documents, though only those for the latter were published. Schafers definitive soundscape text, The Tuning of the World (Schafer, 1977), and my reference work for acoustic and soundscape terminology, the Handbook for Acoustic Ecology (WSP, 1978b), completed the publication phase of the original project. Although the principal work of the WSP was to document and archive soundscapes, to describe and analyze them, and to promote increased public awareness of environmental sound through listening and critical thinking, a parallel stream of compositional activity also emerged that created, perhaps less intentionally, what I have called the genre of the soundscape composition (Truax, 1984). Although in Emmersons terminology (1986) the soundscape composition may be defined in terms of mimetic discourse and abstracted syntax, what also characterizes it most definitively is the presence of recognizable environmental sounds and contexts, the purpose being to invoke the listeners associations, memories, and imagination related to the soundscape. The mandate to involve the listener in an essential part of the composition, namely to complete its network of meanings, grew naturally out of the pedagogical intent of the Project to foster soundscape awareness. At first, the simple exercise of framing environmental sound by taking it out of context (where often it is ignored) and directing the listeners attention to it in a publication or public presentation, meant that the compositional technique involved was minimal, involving only selection, transparent editing, and unobtrusive cross-fading. In retrospect this neutral use of the material established one end of the continuum occupied by soundscape compositions, namely those that are the closest to the original environment, or what might be called found compositions. The aesthetic



proposed by John Cage of treating any such material as music can be justified in that it emphasizes the listening process as being musical, not necessarily the inherent content. However, the WSP avoided proclaiming any such distinctions by, firstly, not attributing these compositions to a single individual (instead, they were collectively authored by the group) and, secondly, by emphasizing the educational rather than the possible aesthetic intent of the exercise. A subtle but important extension of this practice occurred with the Entry to the Harbour sequence from The Vancouver Soundscape recordings: here, in order to simulate the experience of entering Vancouver harbour on a boat, past the various foghorns and buoys, it was necessary not only to compress the event in time, but also to mix together all of the separately recorded components, with appropriately engineered illusions of their approaching and receding. A recording of an actual boat trip would ha ve been dominated by motor noise which would mask the desired sound signals and natural sounds. Of course, this abandoning of the ear as a navigational aid in favour of modern electronic instrumentation and visual orientation is indeed symptomatic of the modern experience that leads away from soundscape awareness, and historical examples drawn from aural history accounts with boat captains were reported in the written document. But the purpose of the composition was to stimulate soundscape awareness by presenting a possible, if simulated, aural experience. By being potentially familiar but strangely imaginary at the same time, the composition invoked various levels of listening activity, ranging from identification to symbolic communication. The piece begins with a resonant, low pitched diaphone, suggesting solitude, darkness and primal nature, and ends with an unloading sequence and people retrieving baggage in a small, confined room with bright high frequency scrapes and a squeaky door. This form suggests a larger metaphorical transition for both the city and the individual that is symbolized by the simulated voyage. Every sound can be heard as it was originally recorded, but the discourse of the resulting work is not merely documentary because of its various levels of possible meaning. Between the Canadian and European recording tours in 1974, the WSP members assembled a series of 10 one-hour radio programs for the CBC called Soundscapes of Canada. These included, and for the first time essentially defined, the entire range of soundscape compositions, from naturalistic documentaries that were collectively authored through to abstracted compositions attributed to individual composers. In the former category were documentaries including those that are fairly traditionally narrated, such as Signals, Keynotes and Soundmarks, as well as a set of listening exercises conducted by Schafer, through to Six Themes of the Soundscape which substitutes for narration three independent voices each presenting either a factual, subjective, or literary, historical perspective on the theme in question. From the point of view of soundscape composition, the most unique documentary was the collectively authored Summer Solstice in which two minutes representing each hour of a midsummer day and night, as recorded beside a pond near a rural monastery outside Vancouver, were combined into a 50 minute composition. Although it was introduced with narration and examples in the broadcast version, the piece itself includes only minimal narration in the form of a verbal identification of each hour (done during the original recording). Edits are transparent with no mixing, so the effect is a compressed span of time that an individual would seldom, if ever, experience directly. An expanded version of the morning section, called Dawn Chorus, was also made. The choice of time and location was designed to present to the listener what might be called the natural acoustic ecology, disturbed only minimally by the monastery bell on the one hand, and aircraft and distant train horns on



the other. The most striking example of the intricacy of that ecology was observed at dawn when the aural collision of high pitched frogs with the dawn chorus of birds in the same frequency range was avoided by the cessation of the former. This is a small example of what Bernard Krause (1993) terms the niche hypothesis of natural species and their acoustic communication patterns where each species occupies a specific frequency band or, as in the solstice example, a different time frame. The composition of the Summer Solstice documentary, then, was largely realized by natural forces with the studio manipulation intended to evoke an appreciation of that ecology. Two interesting, and more humanly composed, documentaries by poet and composer Peter Huse made effective use of field recorded language material. These are both organized from the east to west, the first being Soundmarks of Canada which features the unique sound signals of the country, identified by locals or the recordists themselves, and the second being Directions which is entirely composed of fragments of conversation that the recordists had with locals while asking for directions. The close juxtaposition of sound signals and local dialects provides an aural map of the country which is experienced within a short space of time. An even denser collage of found radio material was assembled by Howard Broomfield in his Radio Program About Radio Programs. In this sometimes bizarre piece, the composer plays on the simultaneity on the airwaves of unrelated material, using both historical and current examples, as well as the habit of radio to jump cut between items in a surreal fashion. The piece treats the disembodied soundscape of the broadcast medium as an environment with its own conventions and syntax which the composer gently satirizes. Another experiment in sudden juxtapositions is my Maritime Sound Diary in which three stories taken from three original recordings are interleaved by an automated signal switching process that, instead of cross-fading the material, jumps into the next sequence in a series of short, then increasing durations. The points of transition throw both soundscapes into high relief, and the narrative line is maintained when the listener picks up each story later, despite the gaps that have intervened. Several pieces within the set went farther than those described already by using transformations of the environmental sounds that were chosen. Here the full range of analog studio techniques came into play, with an inevitable increase in the level of abstraction. However, the intent was always to reveal a deeper level of signification inherent within the sound and to invoke the listeners semantic associations without obliterating the sounds recognizability. These pieces include Bruce Davis poetic documentary Bells of Perc where clouds of filtered bells and voice fragments symbolize the memories surrounding the historic bells in the Gaspe region of Quebec as colourfully described by the parish priest. Davis pair of works, Play and Work, include more elaborate rhythmic and timbral alterations of the material that highlight the character of the sounds accompanying these two classes of human activity. And finally, my Soundscape Study takes a set of sounds with archetypal imagery (e.g. footsteps, a clock ticking and chiming, water gurgling, a tree being chopped, and church bells ringing the Angelus) and subjects them to a series of transformations in speed, pitch, and textural density (usually independently). The piece invites the listener to follow the resulting changes in morphology and imagery that the transformations produce, and hence to become more aware of how these variables condition our habitual responses to environmental sound. Schafer himself did not produce any soundscape compositions with environmental sound directly, the exception being the collaboratively produced (with Bruce Davis and Brian Fawcett) quadraphonic tape Okeanos (1971) that predates the WSP and is based on literary imagery of the sea. However, soundscape concepts influence many of his instrumental and vocal works and, perhaps most strikingly,



he has created site-specific works, such as Music for Wilderness Lake (Westerkamp, 1981) which takes place at dawn and dusk, and several music theatre works for outdoor or unconventional performance environments. He has also continued to write about soundscape studies, such as in his recent collection of essays, Voices of Tyranny, Temples of Silence (Schafer, 1993). On the other hand, all of Hildegard Westerkamps compositional work utilizes environmental sound (Zapf, 1981), usually recorded by herself, except for the early piece Fantasie for Horns (1978) which utilizes mainly the WSP sound library to create a musical collage based on the sound of various horns and a creek. Moreover, not all of her works are for concert performance, many being designed explicitly for radio, including those that were introduced as part of her Soundwalking program series on a local community station (Westerkamp, 1994) and, more recently, for live performance by her with tape accompaniment, as in Cool Drool (1983), a satire on Muzak, and India Sound Journal (1993), a soundscape diary. Since contemporary radio often functions as an artificial companion environment it is particularly suited for presenting environmental compositions that may invite different levels and spans of attention. However, the medium also implies that the listener may enter the work at any moment, and therefore linear forms that depend on recognizing previously heard material may be inappropriate. Using a series of poems by Norbert Ruebsaat as material, she solves this problem in the lengthy work Cordillera (1980) where a series of wilderness images are linked together like a landscape with multiple dimensions, and no linear highway to dictate the direction of travel. A striking advantage of the electroacoustic medium, on the other hand, is the layering of what may be called different levels of remove where the actual present, the recorded present of the running commentary, the re-enacted and remembered past, as well as imagined events past or future, may coexist with the listener moving fluidly between them. Westerkamps performances often exploit this layering of levels as we hear her voice both live and recorded in a creative use of schizophonia. One of her most ambitious projects was the Harbour Symphony commissioned by the Canada Pavilion during Expo 1986, performed by tugboats in Vancouver harbour around Canada Place. This as in all her radiophonic and live performance workspresents the possibility of breaking down the concert hall barrier, and hence the division of music and the soundscape, the concertgoer and the general public. Social, cultural and political issues can also be effectively brought into the compositional domain, as in His Masters Voice (1985), Street Music (1982) and Under the Flightpath (1981). The listening process itself can be addressed with a resulting increase in awareness, as in the early work Whisper Study (1975) or the more recent Kits Beach Soundwalk (1989). However, the level of complexity in her soundscape compositions remains the highest in the solo tape works. These include the text-soundscape piece, A Walk Through the City (1981), based on a poem and reading by Norbert Ruebsaat, and the recent works, Cricket Voice (1987) and Beneath the Forest Floor (1992), that gently unfold in what might be called the hyper-realism of the composed soundscape in which voicesboth natural and humancarry on an interplay. In all of these works, Westerkamp explores the wide ranging possibilities of the soundscape composition, inspired by the legacy of the World Soundscape Project.
Acoustic Communication

Most of the gaps in the knowledge base which might inform environmental sound composition, as described at the beginning of this essay, can be traced to the models used by each discipline to



determine its explanatory strategy. I have found that, although traditional bodies of knowledge are still useful in specific contexts, the only way to transcend the limitations inherent in each model is to construct a new interdisciplinary paradigm based on different concepts. I believe that communication studies provides the most appropriate framework for such a reformulation, and that what I call acoustic communication (Truax, 1984) is an appropriate starting point for understanding the intricate system of meanings and relationships that sound creates in environmental contexts. Unlike the models of the traditional acoustic disciplines which are based on concepts of energy transfer and signal processing, an acoustic communicational model is based on the concept of information exchange. At the centre of the model is the listener because listening is the primary interface where information is exchanged between the individual and the environment. The auditory system may process incoming acoustic energy and create neural signals, but listening involves the higher cognitive levels that extract usable information and interpret its significance. Listening is also multi-levelled because it can involve various degrees of conscious attention. We normally think of listening as always attentive, or listening-in-readiness as I have termed it (Truax, 1984), and in fact this is the most analytical form that listening takes. However, most of the time, we process acoustic information more at a background level without attention being focussed on it. This information provides the environmental context of our awareness, the ongoing and usually highly redundant ground to our consciousness. However, background listening is still a sophisticated cognitive process, involving feature detection, the recognition of patterns and their comparison to known patterns and environmental signatures. Moreover, background listening can trigger conscious attention to be focussed on an incoming sound when there is sufficient need or motivation from the listener. We have all experienced the recognition of a particular sound, such as a voice, footsteps, or a door opening, even when we are not listening for it. The sound attracts our attention either because it is unfamiliar (who could that be?) or instead, precisely because it is familiar and because it has significance (oh, I need to talk to that person). I call this situation listening-in-readiness because it involves both background and foreground listening strategies. It requires a favourable acoustic environment for information to be available (a good signal-to-noise ratio in technical terms), and an active cognitive processing of patterns and their comparison to known ones. These different levels of listening involve analytical attention being paid to short-term details in the foreground case, and holistic or gestalt pattern recognition in the background case. These two complementary strategies are often described as the respective provinces of the two hemispheres of the brain, and music is known to involve either or both such strategies depending on the listening context and the listeners training or competence (Bever & Chiarello, 1974; Wagner & Hannon, 1981). But I suspect that our traditional experience with environmental sounds predates the development of these cognitive abilities with music, both for the individual and the species, and therefore soundscape experience is fundamental to all forms of listening. However it is understood, listening is at the centre of the complex relationship between the individual and the environment. I have suggested elsewhere that instead of listening being the end stage of a series of linear energy transf ers from source to listener, we can understand it within a system of inf ormation exchange that I call the acoustic community where sound mediates the relation of the listener to the environment (Truax, 1984). In the traditional soundscape that mediation entwines the listener in a unity with the environment and in turn, the sounds come to symbolize that relationship. Hildegard Westerkamp has



characterised the relationship as a balance between input and output, impression and expression, listening and soundmaking (Westerkamp, 1988). The information we take in as listeners is balanced by our soundmaking activities that, themselves, shape the environment. Acoustic ecology mirrors and complements the social and biological ecology in traditional societies. The impact of electroacoustic technology on acoustic systems of communication is typically paradoxical. For instance, it extends the range of listening levels towards more focussed analytical modes of listening on the one hand, and towards more distracted and passive forms on the other. Not surprisingly, it is the same technological functions that provide the opportunity for both types of experience. For instance, the ability to repeat a sound exactly (an impossibility prior to electroacoustic technology) can reduce a sound to a familiar background and habituate the listener to it, or within a studio context, the same type of repetition may allow the listener to focus on details that would have escaped in a single listening, particularly when aided by other forms of transformation. Similarly, the ability to take the sound out of context can focus attention on it (much as photography achieved for the visual sense), but it also allows a sound (including music) to be imposed onto any environment regardless of its appropriateness. Reinforced by repetition, such sounds generally become accepted by the listening public as somehow natural, despite the fact that they impose a tempo, mood, and character (or in some cases even a political influence) that the listener comes to associate with the environment or product (Truax, 1992c). Therefore, what we learn from acoustic communication as composers using environmental sound is that these sounds are not only source material that is rich in acoustic complexity, but also rich in a variety of levels of meaning, both personal and cultural, and possibly even cross-cultural. These sounds connect listeners to a web of social and other relationships. Instead of ignoring all of those levels of contextual meaning, which are largely lost through treating the sound abstractly, the composer may use the artificiality of electroacoustic techniques to amplify those relationships and bring them into the compositional process (Truax, 1994a). Lest the reader conclude that the resulting music is simply one of collage, may I suggest that beyond contextual information, many environmental sounds are also rich in symbolism (Wishart, 1986). As a result, image and metaphor will play a central role in the compositional use of such sounds, and through images and metaphors an aesthetic discourse will follow.
Composing through Environmental Sound

The predominant digital techniques for treating environmental sound compositionally today are samplers and signal processing (or effects processing in commercial terms). I regard both as encouraging composition with sound rather than through or within sound. This distinction, which I owe to Walter Branchi (1983), captures the essence of the difference between conventional approaches, including the acousmatic tradition, and the soundscape composition. When one captures what is sometimes called raw sound on tape and subjects it to studio processing, whether for mundane sound effects or the abstract material of the acousmatic approach, this manufacturing process with its industrial overtones suggests that one is composing with the sound and using it for its desired effect and affect, essentially turning it into a consumable product. The soundscape composition typically reverses the process because in a sense, the sound uses the composer, and ultimately the listener, in that it evokes in each a wealth of difficult to verbalize images



and associations, all of which guide the composition and its reception. The distinction is subtle because it involves a difference in musical process that conventional analysis of the end product (e.g. form, materials, structural organization) may not reveal. As in the acoustic communication model, listening is central to the process as the sound guides the composers shaping of it, not the other way around. In contrast to the linear model of the composer sending out sonic messages that finally dissipate their energy in the hearers emotional and other reactions, in the soundscape composition the sound itself mediates the relationship of the composer/listener to the social and environmental context, reflecting it, commenting on it, imagining its ideal form, probing its inner meanings. In essence, one is both composing and being composed through the sound. That technology might become intimately involved in this process will surprise some, but only if we regard technology as alien from ourselves. As an embodiment of our knowledge and a tool for extending a wareness, technology fits perfectly into the compositional process, whether at the initial stages of recording, or the later stages of studio transformation and final mixing. The microphone, for instance, can open ones ears to a changed listening perspective, the most dramatic of which is probably close miking where detail becomes more apparent (Westerkamp, 1994). Listening becomes active, unlike the conventional approach of getting it on tape where the recordist is merely the conduit for transferring the signal to a storage medium. Likewise, studio transformation is a key element in the composers process, so much so that processes of transformation are often central to the final result presented to the listener (Smalley, 1993). In a manner similar to a childs cognitive development, active manipulation of the object leads to its functional and conceptual understanding, and therefore, similar to its role in childhood, play is an important activity to stimulate that learning. Playing with a sound involves both memory and imagination, the what if question, and the sense of discovery. What I have always found the most fascinating is the experience of having the expanded awareness facilitated by technological intervention influence perception later under more normal circumstances. Detail, for instance, heard at slower speeds can often remain audible when the speed is returned to normal. The expanded awareness of studio manipulation often carries over into soundscape awareness when similar sounds are heard later. The technique I have found the most striking in the way it facilitates moving inside a sound is realtime granulation of sampled sound (Truax, 1990a, 1994b). Briefly, the technique divides the sound into short enveloped grains of 50 ms duration or less, and reproduces them in high densities ranging from several hundred to several thousand grains per second. A dramatic alteration of the sound called time stretching is made possible with this technique in that it allows a sound to be prolonged by any factor with no resultant change in pitch. The principle of the technique is that the samples within the grain are identical in order to those found in the original (hence the absence of pitch change), but the rate at which the grains move through the original material may be arbitrarily controlled. The fact that the grains are enveloped prevents audible transients and allows arbitrary sections of the original material to be juxtaposed and combined freely. The effect may be called slow motion sound, as it was envisioned by filmmaker Jean Epstein in the 1940s, about the same time that physicist Dennis Gabor (1947) provided the theory about the grain as a quantum of sound appropriate to perceptual processing. However, granulation and its twin, granular synthesis, did not become a viable compositional tool until I was able to develop a real-time implementation in 1986 with a programmable digital signal processor (Truax, 1988).



Since 1987 I have used this technique extensively to process sampled sound as compositional material (Truax, 1990b, 1992b, 1994b), at first being limited only to short phonemic fragments, as in The Wings of Nike (1987) and Tongues of Angels (1988). However, since 1990, longer sequences of environmental sound have been used in pieces such as Pacific (1990), Dominion (1991), Basilica (1992), Song of Songs (1992), and Sequence of Later Heaven (1993). In each of these works, the granulated material is time-stretched by various amounts and thereby produces a number of perceptual changes that seem to originate from within the sound. Most obviously, the duration of the sound is usually much longer by anywhere from a doubling to a factor of several hundred times. This effect is used not merely to create drones, but to allow the inner timbral character of the sound to emerge and be observed, as if under a microscope. For instance, the crashing of waves in the Ocean movement of Pacific sounds remarkably like a choir of distant voices when stretched. The complex bell resonances in Basilica resemble organ clusters slowly dying away in a reverberant cathedral. However, in terms of the soundscape composition, the added duration also allows the sound to reverberate in the listeners memory, providing time for long-term memories and associations to surface. This effect was deliberately encouraged in the classically oriented soundscape piece Dominion, based like its predecessor, Soundmarks of Canada, on an east to west sequence of unique Canadian sound signals. By keeping the attack portion relatively intact and stretching only the body of the sound, each signal retained its recognizability, but allowed listening associations to be savoured, along with the inherent musicality of its constituent harmonics. Secondly, the volume or perceived magnitude of the sound is enhanced by time stretching. Both the superposition of 1012 asynchronous grain streams using the same material, and the prolonged duration, contribute to this effect. The resultant sound seems larger than life, and hence more potentially symbolic. In The Wings of Nike the enhancement corresponds to the heroic figure of the statue of the Winged Victory that is the basis of the accompanying graphic images, and in Tongues of Angels, the magnification of the instrumental sounds used by the soloist creates an environment that challenges his virtuosity (the piece was written for oboeist Lawrence Cherney) while maintaining a fundamental timbral connection with the soloist In terms of soundscape considerations, the magnification seems to relate less to the brute force amplification of the public address system than it does to the corporeality that is characteristic of acoustic sound. Musicians have become accustomed (though I suspect the public remains dubious) to the artificial, dimensionless timbres of synthesized sound, often disguised in heavy reverb and chorus effect. A concern for the physical body in contemporary thinking about visual and performance art might correlate well to a re-evaluation of the physicality of acoustic sound. Granulation and physical modelling synthesis (De Poli et al., 1991) are the only types of digital processing I know of that produce that sense of physicality. I have used this sense of physical volume in Basilica to suggest a parallel between moving inside the bell sound and entering the volume of the church itself. In Dominion the enhanced sound signals threaten to overwhelm the 12 accompanying instrumentalists in much the same way that the vastness of Canada dwarfs the small population. However, the stretched sound also provides the pitches which the performers mimic, thereby giving them the role of personages within a landscape. In Pacific the sheer volume of some of the enhanced sounds suggests the vastness of the geographic region in question and the power of the ocean itself, though in the final movement, Dragon, the stretched sounds of the drums, cymbals and firecrackers from the Chinese New Year celebrations mainly suggest a fiery mythical beast. The epic character of the forces and imagery in the I Ching cycle known



as the Sequence of Later Heaven is suggested in my work of the same name which is based on chordal mixtures of four to ten Pacific Rim musical instrument sounds that are layered in up to 50 simultaneous grain streams spread out quadraphonically. Thirdly, time stretching changes both the morphology (Smalley, 1986) and the associated imagery of the resultant sound. If it does so gradually, the listener may experience a process of transformation or interpolation (Wishart, 1993). The most extensive use of this feature may be found in my mixed media work Song of Songs, based on the sensual Song of Solomon text from the Bible. Time-shifting is used to modify the rhythm of the spoken text subtly and make it more songlike, as well as to prolong the sounds into sustained timbral textures, frequently accompanied by multiple pitch shifting implemented with a harmonizing technique. Although these sustained sounds are vocal in character, their length and steadiness mean that they resemble environmental sounds. Moreover, the amount of stretching was modified during the recording of the environmental soundtracks (birds, cicadas, crickets, monastery bells) in response to the vocal ones already present, thereby creating a constant interaction of all the material and further blurring the distinction between voice and environment. This sense of merging of sonic elements is consistent with the extended metaphor of the original text which compares the Beloved to the richness of the landscape and its fruits. At a time when the Western imperative to dominate Nature has reached a critical juncture, this metaphor of love would seem to offer an alternative image of the individuals role within the environment.

The soundscape composition, with the interdisciplinary conceptual background of soundscape studies and acoustic communication, and the technical means of granulation and time-stretching, all of which have been developed at Simon Fraser University over the past 25 years, provides a well developed model for the musical use of environmental sound. The principles of the soundscape composition are: (a) listener recognizability of the source material is maintained, even if it subsequently undergoes transformation; (b) the listeners knowledge of the environmental and psychological context of the soundscape material is invoked and encouraged to complete the network of meanings ascribed to the music; (c) the composers knowledge of the environmental and psychological context of the soundscape material is allowed to influence the shape of the composition at every level, and ultimately the composition is inseparable from some or all of those aspects of reality; and ideally, (d) the work enhances our understanding of the world, and its influence carries over into everyday perceptual habits. Elsewhere I have described the ideal balance that should be achieved in such work as matching the inner complexity of the sonic organization to the outer complexity of relationships in the real world, without one being subordinate to the other (Truax, 1994a). Thus, the real goal of the soundscape composition is the re-integration of the listener with the environment in a balanced ecological relationship.
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Truax, B. (1994b) Discovering inner complexity: Time-shifting and transposition with a real-time granulation technique. Computer Music Journal, 18(2), 3848 (sound sheet examples in 18(1)) Wagner, M.T. & Hannon, P. (1981) Hemispheric asymmetries in faculty and student musicians during melody recognition tasks. Brain and Language, 13, 379388 Westerkamp, H. (1981) Wilderness lake. Musicworks, no. 15, 2021 Westerkamp, H. (1988) Listening and soundmaking: A study of music-as-environment. Unpublished M.A.Thesis, Simon Fraser University Westerkamp, H. (1990) Listening and soundmaking: A study of music-as-environment. In Sound by Artists, edited by D.Lander & M.Lexier. Banff, Alberta: Art Metropole & Walter Phillips Gallery Westerkamp, H. (1994) The soundscape on radio. In Radio Rethink, edited by D.Augaitis & D.Lander. Banff, Alberta: Walter Phillips Gallery Wishart, T. (1985) On Sonic Art. York: Imagineering Press Wishart, T. (1986) Sound symbols and landscapes. In The Language of Electroacoustic Music, edited by S. Emmerson. London: Macmillan Wishart, T. (1993) From architecture to chemistry. Interface 22(4), 301315 Wolvin, A.D. & Coakley, C.G. (1993) Perspectives on Listening. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation World Soundscape Project (1972) A Survey of Community Noise By-laws in Canada. Simon Fraser University World Soundscape Project. The Music of the Environment Series, edited by R.M.Schafer. Vancouver: A.R.C. Publications (1973) No. 1, The Music of the Environment (1978a) No. 2, The Vancouver Soundscape (1977a) No. 3, European Sound Diary (1977b) No. 4, Five Village Soundscapes (1978b) No. 5, Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, edited by Barry Truax Young, J. (1991) Sign language: source recognition of environmental sounds in electroacoustic music. Canzona 2229. Zapf, D. (1981) Inside the soundscape, the compositions of Hildegard Westerkamp. Musicworks, No. 15, 58

Musical Storytelling
Jon Appleton Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA

An autobiographical account of a composers discovery of a programmatic style of electro-acoustic music and a discussion of specific works in that style. KEYWORDS programmatic music, electro-acoustic music, musique concrte, electronic music, musical composition, musical style

I had to find my own way when I began composing electro-acoustic music in 1963. Still in graduate school, my instrumental music was a tortured compromise between my love for Tchaikowsky, Ravel and Stravinsky (the latter being still very much alive) and the absolute conviction of my teachers (Homer Keller and Henri Lazarof) that serial music was the only path a serious, young composer might follow. Two years later I was a student in Vladimir Ussachevskys electronic music course at Columbia University, taught in fact by Bulent Arel and Mario Davidovsky. We were expected to imitate the works of these composers and to some extent I did incorporate the tense pointillism of my teachers. I also spent many studio sessions listening to the works of Schaeffer, Ligeti, Stockhausen and others, none of which were on record at that time. Ussachevsky himself made brief appearances in which he humorously dismissed the works of those composers not working at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Cage was called a charlatan. So was Xenakis. Koenig had really composed Ligetis Artikulation. In truth we rarely listened to electronic music except those works composed by our teachers. I admired the precision and control in their music but its emotionless character, its lack of any connnection to the music I loved, convinced me that I had to find my own path. How sweet it is to have lived long enough to have my intuitive convictions validated. If I had been more secure of my compositional gift I would have paid closer attention to Leonard Meyers belief that in the late 20th century, stylistic pluralism reigned. There were no traditions to followone made his or her own rules. I longed for an artistic community with whom I could share my ideas. At Columbia there were only two composers with whom I could discuss my vision; Emmanuel Ghent, a psychiatrist by profession, and Richard Taruskin who became an important musicologist. Over the years I finally did find kindred spirits in composers Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Jean-Claude Risset, David Evan Jones, Michel Redolfi and George Todd.



The malleable and elastic nature of natural sound sources appealed to me as did the remarkable transformations made possible by the tape recorder and associated equipment. The opportunities and difficulties presented by instrumental composition and electro-acoustic music were quite different ones. When composing instrumental music I was continually beset by the question of originality. What had I to say that had not been said more eloquently by others? By contrast, the world of electroacoustic music was devoid of precedents; I need only choose those sounds and structures that appealed to me. The 1960s was a time quite different from our own with respect to artistic values. The chimerical climate of the avant-garde was still prevalent and more and more listeners were willing to stretch their conceptions of what music could be. It was the power of association created by ordinary, non-musical sounds which fascinated me the most. I was intrigued by the emotional impact which occurred when one suddenly recognized a sound in an otherwise mysterious aural landscape. Likewise, it was exciting to observe the gradual transformation from a recognizable sound to a purely musical object. At what point did one lose the sense of the original? Unlike the composers of musique concrte, I sought to explore the ambiguity of the known sound world in a musical context. These ideas were the result of experimentation in the electronic music studio. I had no plan in mind as to how these pieces might develop. But looking back at the pieces of this kind that I have composed over the last thirty years, it is clear that a specific style of music developed. Perhaps the best way to describe this style is to describe some of these works which were recorded commercially so that interested listeners might compare my intentions with their own experience. I never was able to attach a label to the style of these pieces. I variously called them storytelling pieces, programmatic electroacoustic music, films for the blind, dreams heard where sound events are scrambled or as melodramas in the 17th and 18th century sense of the term. The pieces were certainly dramatic if one defines drama as any series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest. At the very least they conveyed a rather specific mood, gave rise to laughter or fear and sometimes they told a brief story. The pieces were usually short; between two and fifteen minutes. I suspect their brevity had more to do with my impatience than with the form itself. Infantasy (1966) begins by alternating the pitch of cries and wails of an infant with electronic sounds containing similar pitches and envelopes. Infant cries become terrifying adult moans when lowered in pitch. Loops of singles cries provide the rhythmic content of this piece. As their speed and pitch increase they lead to further development of the same material. There are two melodic motives constructed by splicing different transpositions of the cries. These recur several times in the work. The mood is dark and led some listeners to think the true title of the piece was Infanticide. Chef dOeuvre (1967) became the best known of these works. Released both on a long playing record and 45rpm single, the source was a singing commercial by the Andrews Sisters for Chef-BoyAr-Dee frozen pizzas. The commercial represented the largest collection of musical and poetic clichs I had ever heard. The only term that really fits is corny. By itself it was hilarious and by exaggerating the vamp bass line, the bright, brass punctuation marks, and the close harmony of the singers I was able to compose one of the first comic pieces of electro-acoustic music. Listening to the work made audiences laugh at predictable places. They were of course laughing at such ludicrous text as Four little pizzas from Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee, frozen so theyre easy as one two three. Great for kiddies lunches cause the size is right, also pretty good for grownups late at night But most of the humor came from sudden musical alterations of the singing and accompaniment and by juxtaposing foreign,



electronic elements into the piece. My experience with this work led me to realize how rarely one finds humor in serious art. Several other subsequent works used humor if not as blatantly. There was one other important work of this kind I composed in the late 1960s called Times Square Times Ten. The piece opens with the sounds of New York City traffic heard from curbside. Horns near and far answer each other until it suddenly become clear that their response patterns are too regular. At that instant they start to play a melody The melody turns into the sound of a giant music box, ring modulated so that the tune it plays is not immediately recognizable. Slowly it becomes recognizable as Peg O My Heart but with a square-wave, synthesizer lead. As the tune comes to an end the rumble of subway trains emerge until they are bearing down on the listener with frightening speed. One train comes to a stop in the station and the doors open to the announcement Rainbowsung by Ada Jones and Billy Murray. Edison Records. At first the listener thinks of a train conductor announcing the stop but instantly one recognizes an antiquated recording as the singing begins. The song stops immediately as the doors shut and the train moves out of the station. The sound of the train recedes as it moves down the tunnel leaving an eerie but peaceful, distant bell motive. We find ourselves in the bowels of the city with long moans and chants distantly heard. Above this enters the sound of a comedian telling a funny story from 1910 when such comedy records were released on Edison cylinders. The chants and moans return (they were actually my own singing of the phrase Times Square Times Ten lowered in pitch). The polyphony of train entrances and exits overtake the chant and gradually rise in pitch. These are accompanied by voltage-controlled sirens from a Moog synthesizer. They continue to rise in pitch until they blend into the sound of Spring peepers, small frogs I recorded at my home in Vermont. Times Square Times Ten depicts a vertical, archaeological cross section of New York City. Beginning at street level it moves through layers of subway, buried memories, ancient records and returns to a time when Manhattan was farm land. I dont think the story is important. What makes this piece music is its contrast of musical styles, its sudden juxtaposition of sounds which never occur at the same time in real life and the quality of the sounds themselves. It is greatly dependent on human voice as were most of the pieces I composed in this style. There were another nine pieces I composed in this style which deserve brief mention. Apolliana was a humorous fantasy about the moon landing wherein the voices of real and toy astronauts are combined and former President Richard Nixon uses the event to announce his plans for world conquest. Nevsehir consisted of sounds I recorded in small Turkish villages. Sones de San Blas was a telephone conversation between Marysa Navarro and the manager of a small Mexican tourist hotel. The conversation is transformed into Mariachi band music. Ofa atu Tonga used sounds and music I recorded in that small Polynesian kingdom to form an historical collage. Nyckelharpan involved no human voice but rather was a short study based on recordings of the Swedish keyed fiddle of the same name. C.C.C.P. told the story of the defection to the West by the Soviet writer Anatoly Kuznetsov through radio broadcasts from Moscow and London. It also used Russian folk music and the recorded voices of Tolstoy and Lenin. At the same time that I was composing these pieces in the United States, a strong tradition emerged in Europe, centered in Sweden, in which text and music became one. Called sound poetry or textsound composition by its creators, the works used speech sounds as music. Some of my music was thought to belong to this category when I lived in Sweden and I was commissioned by the Swedish Radio to compose such a work. Dr. Quisling in Stockholm was the least musical of my



compositionssomething of a radio play without much dialogue. The work has never been recorded but is remembered by Swedish composers because of its political implications. Ten years went by before I returned to my musical story pieces. I became interested in computer music and my subsequent involvement with live performance and the Synclavier took me to another place. There were two exceptionsin 19811 composed two melodramas called The Tale of William Mariner and The Snow Queen.. These were works in the style of Prokofievs Peter and the Wolf, wherein I narrated the stories and accompanied myself on the Synclavier. The pieces were not intended just for children but it is there that they found their biggest audience when they were released on longplaying record. In 1986 I fell in love with the song Si el poeta eres tu, composed and sung by the great Cuban musician Pablo Milans. The music and text became the inspiration and source for my composition Homenaje a Milans and my return to the style I had developed earlier. I had the text recited by a woman (Marysa Navarro) and a young boy (Perico Irazoqui) and used the Synclavier to turn their speech into sung versions of phrases from the song. I constructed my own Latin percussion accompaniment that could evolve and be combined with extra-musical sound sources such as the cheers of crowds and the calls of wild birds. In the middle of the piece, a single, unaccompanied phrase sung by Milans is heard and reveals the source of all that has come before. It also sets the stage for what will follow. The piece was heard by most listeners as having a strong political message. When it was heard in Cuba, listeners thought it was in praise of the comandante and in the United States it was heard as a condemnation of the Castro regime. The most recent composition in the musical story style was Dima Dobralsa Domoy composed in 1993 using the voice of the Russian choral conductor and ethnographer Dmitri Pokrovsky. The title means Dima (diminutive for Dmitri) finally returns home after a long voyage. I recorded Pokrovsky singing single pitches, melodic fragments, ancient folk melodies and reciting several phrases. Using the Synclavier I created choral arrangements of his voice and interspersed them with sounds of trains, boats and village gatherings. Also included is a recording of an old Soviet song in praise of Stalin for electrifying a village. The narrative is mysterious and synthesized sounds enhance the mood and heighten expectation. There are some other composers who have worked in a similar vein, Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Noah Creshevksy, Henry Jacobs, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Katharine Norman, and Vicki Rudow. I have also heard other, anonymous works of this kind while serving on the jury of the electro-acoustic music competition sponsored by the Groupe de Musique Exprimentale de Bourges. Electro-acoustic music seems driven by composers more interested in logical construction than by intuition. We also live in a time where storytelling is almost exclusively an art reserved for film and video. The works I have described do not seem to fit into the category of serious music. Perhaps that is why few younger composers have been attracted to the kind of music I have written about.



Appleton, J. (1969) Apolliana. Folkways/Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1969) C.C.C.P. Folkways/Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1967) Chef dOeuvre. Flying Dutchman Productions, Ltd., FDS 103 (1993) Dima Dobralsa Domoy. Unreleased recording. (1986) Homenaje a Milans. CDCM Computer Music Series, Vol. 11, Centaur Records, Inc. (1966) Infantasy. Flying Dutchman Productions, Ltd., FDS 103 (1971) Nevesehir. Folkways/Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1968) Nyckelharpan. Flying Dutchman Productions, Ltd., FDS 103 (1973) Ofa atu Tonga. Folkways/Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1970) Sones de San Blas. Folkways/Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1969) Times Square Times Ten. Flying Dutchman Productions, Ltd., FDS 103 and Folkways/ Smithsonian Records, FTS 33437. (1981) Two Melodramas for Synclavier: The Tale of William Mariner and The Snow Queen. Folkways/ Smithsonian Records, FTS 38901.


Imagining the Source: The Interplay of Realism and Abstraction in Electroacoustic Music
John Young School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

This paper examines ways in which composers of electroacoustic music can create virtual and surreal sound worlds through: (1) the combination of recognisable sound events which may not normally coexist in physical Reality, and (2) distinctions between sounds of recognisable real-world origin and processed or synthetic sounds which appear disassociated from known physical contexts, thereby setting up a continuum between Reality and abstraction. These procedures are evaluated for their potential to evoke metaphorical meanings, by representing the simultaneous presence of the immediate physical world and more imaginatively defined interior one. The discussion includes analytical commentary on works by Wishart, Smalley, Dhomont, Truax, Cousins, Parmegiani and Lejeune. KEY WORDS Source recognition, realism, abstraction, surrogacy, transformation, acousmatic. Introduction

In the seemingly limitless universe of sound offered by electroacoustic music, the identification of psychological threads that can meaningfully link sonic materials is a crucial aim. It is my contention here that the experience of listening in cultural and environmental contexts provides a broad platform for perceptual distinctions that can be usefully exploited in electroacoustic music. This contention is considered from two perspectives: firstly, the use of the medium as a virtual sonic world in which recognisably realistic sounds with different contextual associations can be combined to create surreal environments and, secondly, the potential to create distinctions between apparent Reality and abstraction. The latter also defines extreme possibilities in the overall sound palette in the medium ranging from environmental or cultural sources which are familiar to us in the material world to transf ormed or synthetic sounds which seem remote from sources found in the real world. Because they create a sense of detachment from known physical Reality these two perspectives may be taken as a metaphorical representation of the inner world of the imagination, where free and fantastic associations between objects and experiences can take place. But further discussion of how such representations might be utilised first requires discussion of the mechanisms of the listening process itself.



Listening and Signification

In seeking to describe components and phases of the listening process, Pierre Schaeffer proposed a model consisting of four quadrants, each characterising a specific mode of listening (Schaeffer, 1966).1 Essentially, Schaeffer incorporated into these modes phases of response to sound events as well as distinctions between the kinds of information that can be extracted from them. For instance, a distinction was made between raw perception of a sound event without interpretation of any message intended by that sound (in mode two), and listening where the sound is interpreted as an outward sign or index of the physical objects and actions that produce it (in mode one).2 So mode two describes the process of our attention being drawn to a sound, while mode one involves our identification of (or speculation on) the physical agency of that sound. Mode three involves direction of attention to specific attributes of a sounds spectral and morphological characteristics, while mode four characterises our response to sounds which are organised in a network of encoded meaning as signs, such as the weightings and meanings created in a musical context. Schaeffer further grouped modes one and four together as objective whereby the attention is focused on meanings external to the listener: the identities and agencies in mode one or the messages received in mode four. Similarly, modes two and three are grouped as subjective, since they respectively describe the focusing of the listeners attention and the direction of individual preferences to particular qualities of the sound. Further to this, Schaeffer considered modes one and two as concrete, being concerned with the process of actually giving attention to sound and deducing its physical agency, and modes three and four as abstract, indicating concern for the qualities and potential significance of the sound itselfin essence abstracted from consideration of its agency.3 Schaeffers analysis of listening modes points to the way we can instinctively shift the psychological context we give the same sound, and to the ways such shifts may be useful as a compositional strategy in electroacoustic music. For even though we may recognise a sound source as that of waves breaking on a shore our attention may shift to details of the way the sound spectrum evolves in time, which may in turn suggest a similarity with another noise-based sound, such as breath. If we were then to create a transition from waves to breath this would actively engage mode one perceptions (awareness of the change in source), but through the particular focus of mode three (awareness of the relatedness in spectrum). In practice, we are frequently shifting attention between each of these modes of listening, and the interplay between abstract and concrete, objective and subjective states means that what we perceive as a distinction between Reality and abstraction relates naturally to ways in which the process of listening can be focused.

1 2

Schaeffers listening modes have been discussed and elaborated on by Smalley (1992). Schaeffer specifically used the archaic word our to characterise mode two. This archaic word is often taken as a synonym for entendre (to hear), but since entendre can also include the idea of understanding, our is used to emphasise a state in which sound is heard without cognitive understanding of origin or significance. 3 In Schaeffers terms the implication is that mode three listening is the vehicle for musical signification, not the sourceoriented perceptions of mode one. This bias towards the abstraction of spectral and morphological attributes was central to Schaeffers approach to defining musical values, being further typified by his emphasis on reduced listening (coute rduite)the process of focusing attention specifically on the spectrum and morphology of sound, deliberately excluding causal reference.



Since the time of Schaeffers writing, there has been a tendency by a number of composers and commentators on the electroacoustic medium to regard musical signification as a process which can involve an integration of such listening strategies (Emmerson, 1986; Smalley, 1986, 1992, 1993 and article in press; Truax 1992a, 1992b, 1992c; Wishart 1985, 1993).
Sources and Causes

In normal listening experience, we are highly motivated toward correlating a sound with a source object or action, since it forms a part of the way we deduce and interpret the physical nature of our surroundings, assisting orientation and survival in our immediate environment. In electroacoustic music that draws on the sounds of environment and culture, this aspect of listening inevitably becomes part of our response to the compositional context that is created with and around the material.4 In the process of determining the physical origins of sounds we are motivated to differentiate between what we interpret as the coherent characteristics of the source (the actual vibrating physical entity), and the means by which the sound is initiated as the cause (application of some form of energy to the source). This has been defined by Smalley under the generic term source-cause (Smalley, 1993).5 In similar terms Wishart (1985) has suggested that there may be archetypal forms of complex sound-object which result from the intrinsic vibratory responses of sound sources to causal energy which may be unsteady or fluctuating. These are summarised in a sketched list of possible archetypes, such as turbulence, creak/ crack, shatter, explosion and bubbleeach being described in terms of spectral change in relation to the nature of causal energy and the intrinsic physical properties of the medium. An array of such archetypes may then be a framework around which we could speculate on possible source-cause relationships in any complex sound, as a psychological point of ref erence irrespective of whether a specific source-cause is identified. So it may be that a sound event which appears ambiguous to us in source-cause terms will be interpreted by virtue of some quality which is analogous to an essential component or sequence of components within these archetypes.6 More broadly, Smalley (1992) has also proposed nine indicative fields in an attempt to identify useful areas of analogy between perception of sounding materials in musical contexts and wider aspects of human experience, namely in terms of: gesture, utterance, behaviour, energy, motion, object/ substance, environment, vision and space. Criteria that relate to sound source and cause are distinguishable, yet the whole frame of reference is broadened considerably. It should also be apparent that interaction between these fields is common, and deeply interdependent. Judgements about object/substance, for instance, centre on the way we relate sounds to the physical characteristics of a substancesuch as the qualities that define a liquid or a coarse surface. Yet such object/substance associations will clearly be gained through the nature of the causal gesture (the coarse surface will not be evident if struck rather than stroked). The relationship between gesture and object/substance will

Smalley defines this process as source bonding (Smalley, in press). In electroacoustic music, causal gesture and source identity may be interchanged or hybridised, which can result in ambiguity. For instance we might hear changes in a sounds spectrum which suggest the articulation of vowel sounds in human speech (giving the impression of the sound being controlled in terms of the resonances of the human vocal mechanism), yet superimposed on a spectral identity that does not equate with our knowledge of vocal sound. 6 In more general source recognition terms, Bregman (1992) discusses learned recognitional schemas.



thus be heard as energy applied and released, generating a spectrum which has an evolution that implies motion (or stasis) within pitch space. As a further example, the behavioural field describes the interactive tendencies of sound identities, along with the apparent nature of that interaction (whether one of dominance or subordination, conflict or coexistence, or generative causality). But it may be that interaction is heard in terms of the spatial field, so that the indicative fields are networked in the full description of the aural experience. In general then, these indicative fields offer a useful way of modelling the components of response to particular sounds. These indicative fields acknowledge the interplay of aspects of the sensibilities that are frequently involved in perception of complex sound events and their manipulations in electroacoustic music. Allied to Smalleys indicative fields is his concept of surrogacy, a way of describing the potential in electroacoustic music to create sound-objects which are perceived as progressively removed from the articulatory and temporal character of human sound-making gestures. First order surrogates are those where source-cause relationships are detectable in terms of the direct effects of human gesture, while second order surrogates are those which relate specifically to the cultivated gestural repertoire of conventional musical instruments. In third order surrogates the nature of the initiating gestural energy may be ambiguous and the apparent nature of the source may be difficult to correlate precisely with any known physical object, while in remote surrogates both source and cause will tend to be deduced by a psychological interpretation, based on the extrapolations we may make from any traces of familiar gestural types. In this domain the listener may be drawn to matching certain aspects of a sounds morphology to known source-cause patterns, though these may be fleeting, hybridised or in a state of constant flux. This is a useful way of interpreting the abstract phenomenoncontext-related and always subject to the prejudices of source-cause conditioning. Where remote surrogacy dominates, listening focus will tend toward details and distinctions in spectral and morphological patterns and motions, while analogies with known sources and causes provide a background level of inferred or analogous reference. Beyond the realms of gesture alone, a more general interpretation of the principle of surrogacy can also be considered as an analytical tool. Recognitional surrogates may be formed where studio transformations progressively alter or undermine our ability to deduce the nature of causal energy, the identity of the sounding object and the context in which it is created. In this sense, a first order surrogate is one in which realistic actions and objects can be discerned, and a second order surrogate may result from unusual or exaggerated qualities being given to a sound whose source-cause origins are still discernible. In third order surrogates recognition is supplanted by analogy, where sounds trigger parallels with familiar environmental or culturally based sources, while in remote surrogates known sources are at a background level only and broader areas of reference, such as those suggested by Smalleys indicative fields, may be invoked. The tendency towards source-cause recognition is the basic perceptual thread linking any such group of surrogates.
Source Recognition and Reality

The potential for source-cause recognition is a key factor in the way we define Reality in sound, since recognition of objects and their behaviour over time contributes to our perception of the worlds physical permanence or concreteness. In a discussion of the psychological basis of sound source recognition McAdams states that recognition occurs when what is currently being heard



corresponds in some way to something that has already been heard in the past (McAdams 1992, p. 147). McAdams makes a further distinction between identification of a specific sound (such as the voice of a particular person) and recognition of a type of object, or the qualities of a particular substance. In situations where we make a generic recognition of the sound of an object such as a door opening and closing, there are aural cues which are for us sufficient to characterise the source, to the extent that the sound signifies that object. But the source-cause distinction is ever present: is the door opened and closed in quick succession, is it slammed or closed very slowly, and do squeaky hinges convey the slow and careful gesture to us? Though the signified source object may be sufficiently characterised in each of these scenarios, the causal energy may create different contextual associations around the sound. Within the category of object door, the sound itself indicates something of the probable physical nature of the source (such as its size and weight) which in turn suggest different contexts: is it a seemingly heavy door in a vastly reverberant space, or a door which opens from a resonant interior onto an external space? A realistic context is therefore one in which we are able to recognise objects by their sounds following a narrative of action or change within an environment as we deduce the likely nature of physical activity and substances from sound. The transference of recognisably real-world materials into electroacoustic music signifies a shift in context from actual experience to the virtual while at the same time the idea of sound documentary is invoked, as sounds of actions and events are able to be captured and replayed in an intact form. In making field recordings of natural objects and events the sound recording process itself contributes to the way recognisable sounds are conveyed. For instance, the movement of an object through a space can be tracked with the microphone or auditioned from a stationary vantage point, while the intrinsic qualities of a recognisable sound can be exaggerated through very close microphone placement, which may serve to highlight recognitional cues or to present an unusual perspective on a familiar object. Because in normal real-world experience physical permanence is frequently confirmed through vision and touch, recognition of sound sources is apt to encourage the formation of imagined parallels with other senses. This may include visual correlations such as a succession of mental pictures to match the assumed objects and actions in a given scenario (the term sound-image is frequently used), deductions about the size and shape characteristics of a sound source, or tactile analogies such as the presumed effects of being in physical contact with the sounding object. Recognition is also typically accompanied by a name association or, where recognition is uncertain, by seeking some point of correspondence with known source-cause models (thereby regarding the sound as a surrogate), or wider analogies of the kind outlined by Smalleys indicative fields. The formation of all these kinds of associations can be regarded as part of the process of seeking to confirm the perception of Reality through sound, of giving a broader context to sounds heard. The more easily a source is recognised or a context imagined, the more vivid the resulting sense of realism. In the acousmatic domain electroacoustic music, all sources and causes are invisible, and source recognition will depend on the degree to which we habitually associate a sound with a particular object, as well as the presence of contextual sound information. Contextualisation is the process by which a collection of aural cues taken together facilitate overall source recognition (Wishart, 1985). This may be intrinsic to a particular object (such as the contextualisation of a breathed noise band with an associated voiced initiation) or extrinsic to it (such as traffic noise providing a cityscape backdrop to a recording of birdsong), and may also be derived from spatial setting, either by virtue of the



apparent three-dimensional movement of a sound source, or the way reverberant characteristics of the space itself indicate aspects of its physical nature.7 Wishart (1985) has pointed to a distinction between recognition of objects and recognition of spatial contexts in defining the kinds of sonic construction (or landscape) available to the composer.8 Put succinctly, these consist of combinations of real and unreal objects and real and unreal spaces. For instance, a real-objects/real-space scenario is one in which recognisable objects are perceived as though existing in a consistent spatial setting, while a real-objects/unreal-space setting is one in which recognisable objects appear arbitrarily superimposed and incongruous in placement. Similarly, Wishart points to the possibility of real-objects/real-space/relationships-between-objects-impossible, in which recognisable sounds of environmentally or culturally incompatible objects coexist in a coherent reverberant setting. This set of distinctions acknowledges the fact that Reality is shaped not just by recognition of objects, but the implied physical context in which they occur. We are frequently called upon to make such distinctions in electroacoustic music, which is a virtual sonic world open to any combination of sounds that can be recorded or synthetically created.9 Source-cause relationships, spatial setting and contexual cues are theref ore important ingredients contributing to the sensation of Reality in electroacoustic music.
Ambiguity and Abstraction

In source-cause terms, ambiguity arises when a sound suggests more than one plausible physical origin. In the electroacoustic medium this can be further emphasised by the manipulation and interpolation of the source-cause characteristics of sounds. For instance if an apparently struck object resonates for a duration beyond normal physical expectation, such that the resonance appears to take on its own continuous energy profile, we are likely to contend that another energy source has supplanted the attack or, where a recognisably vocal or known instrumental attack develops into a sustained spectrum that does not equate with the source we predicted from the transient, the exact nature of the source will remain ambiguous. Alternatively causal gesture and source identity may be interchanged or hybridised, which can result in ambiguity For instance we might hear changes in a sounds spectrum which suggest the articulation of vowel sounds in human speech (giving the impression of the sound being controlled in terms of the resonances of the human vocal mechanism), yet superimposed on a spectral identity that does not equate with our knowledge of vocal sound. Therefore, when the sourcecause origin of sound is ambiguous we may still detect the interaction of motivating energies and the apparent responses of sourcessuch as the impact of metallic objects, or friction between surfaces yet in a composite fashion that prevents us from making a definitive recognition of a specific identity The acousmatic nature of the electroacoustic medium can tend to amplify ambiguities of this kind
See Smalley (1991b) for a discussion of spatial contexts in electroacoustic music. Wishart (1985) discusses sonic landscape as the imagined or assumed original physical source of a sound. 9 In everyday situations, where we may encounter sound events which challenge our ability to discern source-cause by virtue of some unfamiliar set of acoustical circumstances, contextual information can be drawn on as an aid to recognition. For instance, in hearing an unusual resonance created by the flow of air or water in physically complex ways, an attempt to analyse source-cause will be carried out in relation to our physical context (what sorts of sound might we normally expect to encounter given the physical attributes of the location?) and where possible we may seek visual confirmation of the sounding source and cause.
8 7



because, since the physical source of the sound is not seen, physical permanence is not visually verified. The process of abstraction implies a removal from or shift in context, and in electroacoustic music there are two essential sides to this. At one level a field recording of an environmental or cultural source is abstracted from the physical context of its origin, with only the acoustic component of a normally multi-media experience captured. At another level a particular attribute of sound may be abstracted (its dynamic profile for instance) and applied to another spectrum, so that the dynamic profile takes on a transferable role in the larger musical structure. A state of abstraction is, therefore, a relative term. Theoretically, a completely abstract sound is one without material associations, for which we can surmise no source-cause context or background. But our conditioning by the sources and causes familiar in environment and culture means that we are seldom without some mental schema to which the origins of a sound may be potentially related, however vestigial or remote this may seem. So while everyday experience provides a basis of known sounding objects and situations against which we can attempt to judge the likely sources and causes of a sound event, abstraction is a measure of the psychological distance between a sound which displays source-cause ambiguity and an assumed source-cause model.
Reality, Metaphor and Symbol

One of the most powerful potentials of recognisable real-world sounds in electroacoustic music lies in the creation of symbols. The concept of the symbol has arisen in humans as a way of imbuing recognisable objects with associations that go beyond the immediate object (the sign) in order to convey ideas or feelings about aspects of our existence that are difficult to express in straightforward terms. Where conventional reasoning may tend to be finite in the way an idea is expressed, symbolic connotations are flexible, less bounded and elude precise definition. Recognisable sounds in electroacoustic music are symbolically potent because of their direct signification of objects and events, without the need for intermediary forms of signification, such as words. For instance, to return to an earlier example, the sound of a door is strongly associated with the source object, representing it clearly in acousmatic terms. The sound may therefore carry the wider associations of the object (such as defining interior space, or movement between interior and exterior), but the sensation of transition is also integral to the sound itself, as the shift in spectrum that we experience when moving from an interior to exterior ambience is a direct effect of movement from one spatial environment to another. One way in which symbols can be evoked is in the creation of metaphorical relationships between recognisable sounds. Sonic metaphors of this kind involve the linking of two identities with different extrinsic associations by virtue of some shared morphological or behavioural characteristic, and symbols arise out of our interpretation of the metaphor. Such a process has been used extensively in Trevor Wisharts electroacoustic work Red Bird (197377), which remains a landmark achievement in this area, and warrants discussion at some length.
Metaphor and symbol in Red Bird

Wishart has stated that, at the deepest level, Red Bird presents metaphors for open and closed views of the world which might broadly be related to political, scientific, social, linguistic or



philosophical notions. Summarised briefly, a closed view would regard the world and our role in it as either a determinate and fixed one, with knowledge moving towards an ever increasing and ultimately total control over the function of every aspect of the world, while an open view sees our regards us as part of the flux of forces that comprise our world, with irrationality and imagination as very real parts of those forces (Wishart, 1978, 1985). The sound events in Red Bird are recognisably real-world in origin (one can discern objects, actions and scenarios) and these are strongly directed towards a sociopolitical interpretation of the underlying open/closed message, especially in terms of freedom and oppression.10 There is no single specific narrative given off in this work, except for the possible interpretation that the piece moves broadly through phases of torture, interrogation and finally death of a prisoner (who never actually speaks) while moving in and out of external and internal environments (such as the prison, the torture chamber or the jungle). The sound sources used in Red Bird have in general been limited to four basic areas: words, birds, animal/body and machines, with some additional sources loosely related to these, such sounds of doors, sounds derived from a book (turning of pages, the book slammed on a hard surface) and the ticking of a clock. Verbal material centres on words and phrases (and syllables derived from these) that appear to represent a language of oppression and confinementsuch as the inquisitorial we ask merely that you listen to reason, or the philosophical here in our book of knowledge we are developing a rationale for all things(638 ). With these recognisable sounds, then, definite scenarios are created, such as that of the beating up of a prisoner, or that of a jungle scenario filled with a variety of animal and bird life. In Red Bird the grouping and articulation of sounds, as well as the potential associative properties of recognised sources, have structural and metaphorical function. For instance a special subsidiary set of sound articulations in the piece are those of very short duration, which may be fragments of sounds heard in other contexts (such as a door slam, or an aggressive single syllable of a word). There is a notable instance of this early in the work (from 055 ), where we are presented with the scenario of a prisoner being beaten up. The stressed vocalisations that we hear are seemingly produced in response to these transients, as though they impart physical impact on the body of the oppressed. While some of the sounds are heard in context as punches others carry wider contextual associations (the door, the vocal syllable) yet contribute to a stream of aggressive attacks hurled at the suffering individual. This helps to generate a context in which sounds such as the syllable rea from listen to reason become representative of a mechanism of oppression. With respect to sound groupings, there are two distinct modes: those which are free or apparently random, and those which are regular or streamed into some kind of repetitive pattern. For instance the scenario of a vast jungle (which begins to form at 740 referred to by Wishart as the garden) is one which is perceived as being free in the way sounds are groupedwith what appears to be an open environment containing a variety of animal life. On the other hand another sound identity created in the piece is that of a word and body machine. This is based on the archetype of a machine as something which repeats the same process over and over, and in the creation of this image a variety of sources (vocal syllables, sounds of fluid movement, animal and bird sounds, metallic sounds and a reverberant factory-like acoustic setting) are structured into reiterated patterns, as the image of a huge quasi-animate mechanical device is formed. At the same time, the component sounds within the

The piece is subtitled A Political Prisoners Dream.



machine are ones that we recognise from other contextssuch as a repeated bird call which suggests a continual squeak in the machinery, and breath as steam escaping from the mechanism. Such contextual shif ts are possible because of the superf icial morphological similarity between these elements (this kind of morphological matching is an important basis for the sound transformations created in Red Bird, discussed below). Thus, a significant source of metaphorical meaning in Red Bird is the transference of context in which sounds are heard, while the relatively limited range of sound sources enables us to link them and their associative properties across the variety of contexts that are set up. There is no definitive context or scenario for any sound, as new scenarios form and deform before us often containing similar sound sources. More generally, the basic distinction between random and regularised groupings to which sounds are subjected could be taken symbolicallyas metaphorical representations of the notions of freedom and oppression.
Transformations in Red Bird

One of the most important technical and musical aspects of Red Bird is the particular way in which electroacoustic sound transformations are used. This involves the apparent metamorphosis of one recognisable sound-object into another so that it gradually takes on the morphological and spectral characteristics of a new identity. The result is an apparent transfiguration or morphing from one identity into another.11 Vocal sounds are frequently used in Red Bird as a component in a transformation, with the extreme flexibility of vocal sound production allowing smooth shifts between language, paralanguage or imitation of other sound phenomena that can make the process seem extraordinarily natural, as though happening in Reality or in a state of physical permanence. Such a transformation is heard at the very start of the piece, with a human scream transforming into birdsong. The human source is initially contextualised with two seemingly panic-filled voiced cries, while the complex distorted spectrum of the ensuing scream is merged into a convoluted form of birdsong, from which there in turn emerges the call of a single bird. For the listener the process of transformation in this way has a significant effect, because it allows the two images to be actually linked in an imaginative way that may not occur if the two sounds were simply juxtaposed. This is one of the essential aspects of the metaphorical process in Red Bird. The transformation produces the metaphor scream-is-bird and challenges us to resolve this surreal transfiguration by virtue of a unifying symbol. If the scream is taken as the cry of a prisoner, the birdsong might be taken in relation to this as an image representative of flight and freedom, or even of nature itself. In the context of the transformation this might suggest the prisoners imagination, or desire for openness or freedom. Where a transformation is sufficiently extended over time, a degree of source-cause ambiguity may result. An example of this is the transformational sequence beginning at 2743 , where the syllable rea (from listen to reason), is uttered nasally over an extended duration to resemble the slow
11 Wishart (1985) describes two basic types of transformation: sequential, in which short duration sounds are repeated with

successive manipulations to the morphology each time the sound is heard until a new recognisable sound is reached (such as the book slam to door slam transformation at 23 5 in Red Bird), and continuous, where a naturally extended 1 morphology appears to gradually meld into another source (such as the transformation of the syllable lissfrom the ubiquitous listen to reasoninto birdsong at 126 ). See also Wishart (1988; 1993) for discussion on the transformation and sound matching process.



squeak of a doors hinges (the identity door being familiar in many other scenarios in this piece). There is a staggered series of five such sounds, the components of which are carefully controlled. At 2743 we hear the whole syllable rea, (though the end of the envelope is masked by another sound) making this clearly vocal in origin, though suggestive of the door sound. At 2800 the consonant is dropped from the syllable, and we hear an upwards pitch trajectory with falsetto shift, while at 2853 and 29 5 there is a rising and falling in pitch which begins to suggest even more strongly the 3 door source. The nature of the transformation is finally confirmed when (at 3043 ) we hear the contextualising impact of a door not quite slamming shut following the now familiar creak of hinges. This sequence creates a sense of source-cause ambiguity for the listener since the sound always resembles more than one possible identity. The recognitional template of the initial vocal source is retained through each of the subsequent variants even though a secondary source of door is hinted at (while also allowing us to connect these sounds together as a coherent transformation in the space of three minutes, and in the presence of other sound events). In symbolic terms this transformation confirms the sinister connotations of listen to reason as it develops into an environmental scenario of windswept desolation. Transformations of this kind create a direct link between source identities and establish the potential for meanings extending beyond the the basic realworld referencesas metaphor translates sign into symbol. The use of a restricted number of basic types of recognisable sounds in Red Bird also supports this kind of process, as familiar images are heard in constantly new contexts, juxtapositions and transformations, creating a sophisticated network of cross-references. Two basic aspects of Red Bird have been discussed here: co-ordination of materials into regular or random groupings, and use of sound transformations from one recognisable sound into another. Throughout Red Bird, these two compositional processes create conditions by which the listeners perception of apparent Reality is frequently manipulated, so that it can be difficult to tell exactly what is happening in terms of a real-world scenario. We are presented with a wide range of seemingly real objects, yet no consistently permanent physical context. For instance, toward the end of the garden section animalistic utterances (heard initially at 1512 ) which have emerged as a background element in the overall soundscape gradually move into the foreground (from 1700 ) and appear to be evolving towards some coherent verbal utterance (they begin to suggest human vocal articulation at 1725 ), but are instead compressed into an increasingly regularised rhythmic pattern, along with the simultaneously heard bird calls. At 1830 this develops to the point of suggesting a source that is being violently shaken, due to more pronounced spatial panning which also helps to define our now extreme proximity to the source. Suddenly the whole image appears destroyed by the onset of an enormous glass-like shatter (1837 ) which devolves into the sound of pieces rattling on a floor. The image that is thus created is that of the scenario itself being physically shattered like some fragile physical objectas though it has been made to vibrate so intensely that it self-destructs. The way in which we perceive the overall sequence is particularly significant because it embodies, in a transf ormation, the basic distinction between regularity and randomness of sound-object groupings, and also is a metaphor for the distinction between what we perceive as Reality or imagination. The result for the listener is enigmatic: was the garden scenario merely an illusion? Is there, in fact, a real context presented to us at any stage in the piece? The transformation itself embodies a transfiguration of supposed substancefrom voice-like utterances to a shatter which displays qualities of a fragile



substance such as glass. In addition it marks our movement back to an interior setting (a lid is left slowly spinning on the floor). In Red Bird, transformations and contextual cross-references create a surreal world in which recognisable objects are organically linked in ways not possible in material Reality. The resulting environments can be regarded as analogous to the associative tendencies of the human imagination: an inner world created through artefacts of the outer experience.
The RealityAbstraction Continuum

While recognisable sounds can be surrealistically combined to create metaphorical meanings, the distinctions between degrees of Reality and abstraction can also be taken as a broad metaphor for outer and inner forms of experience: the tangible and intangible, even physicality and spirituality. In the acousmatic medium of electroacoustic music Reality and abstraction are notional absolutes, which may appear to the listener to be in constant flux and with distinctions is not always clear-cut, since judgements about sound sources are not able to be verified visually, and signal processing can undermine the interplay of recognitional cues in natural sound events at different levels. Therefore, the range of ambiguous states between these two polarities form a continuum, within which there are not necessarily fixed or absolute increments. The notion of a continuum is significant in that it indicates a perceptual level at which relationships between materials are judged in a continuous dimension, and one which is particularly powerful since it is bounded by psychological opposites.12 There are two basic methods by which the continuum between Reality and abstraction can be tangibly articulated in electroacoustic music, namely through mediation and juxtaposition. Mediation is achieved through gradual shifts in apparent order of surrogacy, which may be heard in terms of a progressive interchange of a number of distinct sound identities, or where a specific identity is heard to change its order of surrogacy as a transformation.13 Juxtaposition involves the direct combination of sounds of typically quite polarised orders of surrogacy, either sequentially or simultaneously. In musical contexts these articulations are not mutually exclusive. Our attention may be shifted freely from one type of articulation to another within the same work. Bernard Parmegianis La Cration du Monde (198284) provides an elegant example of the handling of the Reality-abstraction continuum on a large-scale, particularly in the third movement Signe de vie which, taken as a whole, is marked by transition towards realistic sounds out of materials of third order and remote surrogacy. For example, in the second section of this movement (Aquatisme) a sound identity first heard at 032 oscillates between abstraction (in the form of rapid and very regular quasi-pitched iterations) and realism (as water droplets). This creates the aural effect of a substance which forms and deforms in and out of a realistic state, yet retains a coherent overall identity (strongly defined by correlations in
12 The extremely open sound world of electroacoustic music and the potential for plasticity and transformation within these materials lends itself generally to structures based around continua, such as those put forward in Denis Smalleys general description of Spectromorphology (Smalley, 1986 and article in press) and is also relevant in instrumentallybased music where timbral manipulation is paramount, as outlined by Kaija Saariaho (Saariaho, 1987). 13 Transformation in electroacoustic music has been defined at a variety of levels and in a range of contexts by Smalley (1993).



morphology and relative pitchas though the droplet pulses were condensed into an iterative state). The fifth section (Expression 2)which contains oblique reference to vocal sources that never cohere into distinct utterance (at 037 ), and extended attackless envelopes which suggest the pitched resonances of breath through a tube (at 107 )builds to a considerable climax of continuous multilayered resonance that eventually devolves (from 709 ) into a downwards glissando of pitch (which suggests vestiges of vocal origin), to the final section (Realit), where we are presented with an open space environmental scenario, defined by wind-noise, buzzing of insects, cicadas and distant birdsong, with some kind of animate movement perceptible in the space, though too amorphous to identify a specific source-cause. This final scenario emerges essentially as a juxtaposition, but one which is heard quite possibly as an organic resolution of the fragmented hints at Reality in the previous sections. Overall then, the Reality-abstraction continuum is harnessed here as a metaphor for creationas sound materials progressively form and deform from abstraction towards recognisably naturalistic states. Denis Smalleys Tides (1984), is a work in two movements, each of which focuses on different aspects of analogy between water and sound. The first movement Pools and Currents is mostly concerned with mixtures of first order surrogates with third order and remote surrogates, the former relating clearly to the spectral and morphological characteristics of bubbling waterinitially from 50 to 339 , with brief references at 644 and 1143 , as a textural underlay to inharmonic resonances at 1205 (where the discrepancy between levels of surrogacy forms a juxtaposition), and at 1325 , where the bubbling morphology is heard as a band of mid-range frequencies and shifts in more sustained resonances, while at 1435 low frequency components help relate this back to the spectral character of the original sound. While the similarities in morphology between these elements do suggest a transforming identity, their function is that of a more general mediation between areas of remote surrogacy and the known qualities of a real-world sound source. From 12 5 , for instance, the 0 recognisable water sound is simultaneously juxtaposed with much more slowly moving inharmonic resonances, while a subsequent intermediate layer of resonance with spectral convolutions that parallel those of the water sound (which are paced between the two) has the effect of mediating between the orders of surrogacy represented, assisting us in appreciating a sense of relatedness between the identities. The water reference is then broadened with contextual cues of delicate flow and droplets (from 1245 ) with a rising shift in overall resonance that suggests the containment of water (in itself a contextual cue based on our instinctive knowledge of how liquids behave). Ambiguity of source is a feature of the first movement of Tides. The very opening gestures with their attackless low frequency band sweeps of noise seem more indicative of breath envelopes than water, yet the pitched elements that progressively emerge as residue of the gestural energy might be thought of as analogous to the play of watersuch as the complex subsidiary motions and patterns that emanate from the motion of an object through water. Though a third to remote order of surrogacy predominates until the first water-like textures at 050 emerge, even here the pitched resonance peaks of these are too stable in pitch and granular in texture to indicate a genuinely real water source. In general the emergence of sounds which we relate clearly to the Reality side of the continuum have an important role in mediating between the patterns and motions of the more remote surrogates and our acquired real-world experience of water sounds, thereby allowing a focused interpretation of the piece in terms of the water-sound analogy. In arriving at such an analogy, our absorbed knowledge of the behaviour of fluids may be applied to discerning types of physical movement, such as states of



separation (droplets), accumulation (flow) and turbulence (distorted flow) as well as conjuring images of gestural patterns that appear to motivate the substance. Motion of contained liquids can also excite the resonance modes of a vessel, adding spectral colour, while we may also be able to discern the likely viscosity of a liquid from the way its sounding properties evolve in time. Trevor Wisharts Vox-5 (197986) is concerned with transformation between different recognisable sound sources, with heavy emphasis on vocal material. These transformations are spread over varying time-lengths, depending on the actual nature of the transformation (Wishart, 1993). They frequently put the listener in the position of having to judge the degree of Reality in the perceived sound and, given the dynamic nature of the transformations, to speculate on the possible outcome of these in terms of movement across the Reality-abstraction continuum. In the opening of the work, out of an initial environmental scenario (with wind noise and the approach of a flock of crows), we become aware of a new sound identity (at 032 ) which is sufficiently distinct in spectrum from the prevailing wind noise and bird sources to be heard as a new identity. Different source-cause interpretations then present themselves. Does it indicate the presence of some new source-cause in the context of the environment in which we have been placed (such as oddly resonant wind noise or even another type of bird call)? Or does it indicate that the environmental scenario (in the virtual acoustic space before us) is being undermined in some way? These two interpretations would suggest either a maintenance of a realistic image or a move towards some form of abstraction. Transformation of this kind is then capable of generating ambiguity if the source-cause implications that the listener may extrapolate seem equally plausible. But in either of these interpretations there is a strong inclination to direct attention to the internal details within this new sound in order to establish more clearly a source-cause relationship (at 048 a mid-high frequency band of wind-noise tends to temporarily prevent us from hearing such detail, enabling our source-cause query to be temporarily suspended). In attempting to ascertain this, the listener is also assessing the particular order of recognitional surrogacy presented, against the general context of the prevailing environmental scenario. Subsequently (at 054 ) increased proximity of this identity reveals a bubble-like morphology, while by 114 it is clear that the environmental image has been eroded, as the previously separable identities become fused into a more dense spectral mass, with a global shift in pitch of all the sound information marking a further step in the sounds move toward abstraction (conveying an image of the environment as one single source-cause). This then rapidly evolves towards a short voice-like attack (at 117 ) followed by a continuous ululation of possible vocal origin leading to the first distinctively vocal sounds of the piece at 134 . In this case it is the slow spectral changes, analogous to shifts in vowel formants, suggesting vocal sources as an underlying reference. So while this opening sequence does not settle on an abstract state, source-cause ambiguity temporarily hints at abstraction, and heralds the overall context of unstable source identification and metamorphosis between recognisable sounds that is so characteristic of the piece. Of interest is the way this propels musical time forward in Vox-5the transformations do not appear as reflective musical extensions of sound but as forward moving progressions which we expect to lead us somewhere to a new realistic identity. Transformations draw us away from acceptably realistic source-causes into states which we begin to hear as surrogates of some other source-cause. Broadly, the process of human utterances mutating and



reforming in environmental contexts (as well as out of and into the environment itself) could be taken as a metaphor for a unity between human presence and environmental phenomena.14 Pacific (1990) is a four movement work by Barry Truax, employing granular synthesis techniques to transform environmental field recordings made in the Vancouver area. The transformation process has the effect of often imposing an iterative textural template over recognisable environmental sounds (which might be likened to an acoustic mosaic) while at the same time allowing a gradual organic metamorphosis of the source sounds to take place, resulting in the sensation of inner spectral and rhythmic qualities of the material being brought to the surface by way of the imposed temporal and textural shifts. This is clearly evident in the third movement Harbour, for which the original source was a recording of the cries of seagulls on a sheltered beach. In the opening seconds of the piece attention is drawn to a change in the sound quality of the (background) sound of light surf, which in the opening seconds begins to take on an iterative texture after an initial brief surge of a wave-break. From 039 these iterations grow into a pitched tremolo, while the gull cries remain recognisably distinct above this (though at 016 the gulls cries are noticeably elongated and stably pitched, as well more reverberant). This basic bifurcation of the texture continues through the first half of the piece as the gull sounds form a higher, pitched canopy to lower, more iterative undulating resonances. At the same time the contextualisation provided by the original sound continues to colour our source-cause interpretation as the material is progressively transformed (there is hint of the original bird source at 330 ). From 3 these textural layers start to become more fused (some of the gull sounds take on an 3 iterative quality from 346 ) leading to more generally continuous energy profiles, both pitched (which resemble voices) and noise-based (which resemble wind and sea). At the same time the increasingly dramatic surges which begin to emerge at around 415 and eventually dominate, do not appear exclusively bonded to either of the two basic original identities (traces of the gull-derived ululation, heard at 346 and 400 can be detected but the swelling noise band is more distinctly related to the original background sea source). Thus this piece is essentially a continuous process of transf ormation, marked by a deeply organic sense of motion away from recognisable Reality to a more abstract state where wider analogies with environmental sources and utterance are suggested. A metaphor for exterior and interior worlds is thus invited. Tense Test (198586) by John Cousins is a work which exploits distinctions within the Realityabstraction continuum, while focusing on a very specific social issue. The piece sprang from a portion of an interview made with the composer in which the male role of society is being discussedin particular whether or not men are able to achieve a personal integration of intellect and emotion. At one level, this topic unifies sounds that span a range of surrogacy orders, while the piece also relies heavily on semantic meaning for projection of its message. The process of question and answer (itself abstracted from the interview) is taken up in the piece, as the attempt is made to reveal the full implications of the topic. Tense Test falls into two main sections, the first is a dramatised selfinterview while in the second we enter an extended interplay between apparent Reality and abstraction. The first section develops around several layers of discussion about what was said and


The range of vocal articulations in Vox-5 could themselves be thought of in terms of a continuum between non-verbal vocal gesture such as modulation and filtering of breathed noise-bands, and speech fragments, though all are sufficiently able to indicate human presence. In Vox-5 a distinct change in listening focus is experienced when the vocal articulations become syllabic, with the listening orientation shifting to anticipation of specifically semantic information.



why, as the impression is created that a number of separate lines of argument are being followed. That this is a process of self-questioning is made clear because all the voices heard are those of the same person (Cousins himself) but in different locations in the stereo space, suggesting a multiplicity of personalities. Discussion sometimes concerns the original interview and sometimes the reexamination of what are clearly previously recorded discussions on the interview. Clues to the various levels within this first section are found in the content of the dialogues (such as the pronouns used by the participants in the discussionsreferring to statements made by me, you or him) as well as contextual cues which convey the presence of tape recordings within this scenario (tape recorder transport sounds and obvious increases in analogue tape hiss as an indication of tape generation, suggesting recordings of a number of previous discussions). As this process of continual question and answer continues, more and more temporal layers are implied in which there are so many conflicting contentions that the essential nature of the original interview comment is obscured. So our attention is drawn to the fact that we are hearing taped interviews and taped comments on the interview, yet the layering process of tenses and personalities is such that we continue to believe that there must be an ultimate level which we take to be in real time or a virtual present. In the second section of Tense Test, the question/answer process is continued in a range of domestic scenarios such as lawn mowing and telephone calls, as the interviewee thinks aloud belated responses to the whole issue. The telephone becomes an important reference here, suggesting some of the selfquestioning process of the first section, with the telephone being a vehicle by which Cousins is again able to interview himself (by being both caller and answerer). This section of the piece is also underscored by a continuous low-pitched undulating resonance which functions in two ways. At one level it is a malleable identity into and out of which recognisable sounds are made to transform (at 1308 a rotary telephone dial sound blends into the resonance, and merges into the sound of a handpushed lawn mower, initiating another of the domestic scenes). At another level, the distinct identity of this sound encourages attention to its contours and shaping in time. For instance, from 1620 subtle increases in amplitude, internal modulation and pitch level alone create an expectant tension, possibly because the implication is that the sound may again begin a process of transformation to a new identity. Therefore realistic and abstract states are often maintained in parallel here, as real-world scenarios are assisted by the highly recognisable and contextualising influence of the spoken material, and the resonance is often distinguishable as an independent identity. In this way, Tense Test contains examples of both simultaneous-juxtapositional and transformational articulations of the Reality-abstraction continuum. As a result, further interpretative conclusions are possible, namely that the realistic material presents the outward expression of the subjects reaction to the topic, while the abstract material is analogous to the inner emotional turmoil that is clearly generated. Juxtaposition of different orders of surrogacy is therefore able to produce the effect of parallel states of Reality and abstraction. This is used as an initial cue to realistic and abstract levels in the opening of Jacques Lejeunes Deux aperus du jardin qui sveille, from Linvitation au dpart (1983). Here the initial recognisable sound of a camera shutter and motor wind is followed immediately by a pulsating pitched resonance, with no distinctively real-world origin (it is also worth noting the mutual contextualisation of shutter and motor wind sounds in creating the sound identity camera). The distinctive and recognisably real camera sound can be taken as a metaphor for observation of the environment that is formed before us. At 012 can be heard analogies with two possible realistic sources: a canopy of high frequency transients which suggest the articulation of bird song, and a



resonance with spectral shaping that remotely suggests the articulation of vowel formants. Evolution of these two elements as bird and vowel identities can be traced through the piece (though the bird song identity is occasionally obscured by sounds resembling small chimes). In a second section initiated by a subsequent appearance of the camera sound at 355 , bird song textures become increasingly realistic (especially from 445 to 520 ), and vowel articulations increasingly obvious in gestural evolution. The vowel sounds, however, continue to be ambiguous with respect to source. Although they convey a semblance of utterance, their high tessitura thwarts clear definition of a sourcethose at 417 , 441 and 619 are only vestigially human, while the fleeting nature of more humanly (baby-like) utterances at 558 and 608 does not create a stable identity. Ambiguity of source identity is also emphasised at 540 where a bird source appears to metamorphose into a vowel. At 521 we are also briefly placed in the seemingly realistic ambience of a reverberant interior, emphasising the way this piece gives us a sense of movement from an imaginary world to an increasingly (though never fully defined) coherent environmental context. Francis Dhomonts Chiaroscuro (1987) plays on our motivation to recognise sound source-causes by presenting deliberately ambiguous juxtapositions of sounds that range from first to remote orders of surrogacy. In one instance we are successively presented with two recognisably instrumental sources: a clarinet at 211 (in a rising scalic gesture, though this with an easy fluidity which tends to push it towards a third order of gestural surrogacy, though the instrumental base remains clear), and a soprano singing voice at 216 . Then at 229 a composite texture which appears as melding of attack and sustaining characteristics of these two identities is presented. Within this, we are forced to switch our instinctive analysis of source-cause rapidly between clarinet and vocal models, as (for instance) an attack seems clarinet-based just as the attention shifts to a vocal continuation. The ambiguity inherent in this source-spotting process is enhanced by a complex modulation and exaggerated resonance given to many of the more extended envelopes. Both of these sound sources reappear at other points in the work, notably at 1501 and 1510, where the clarinet identity is most clearly contextualised. Another recurring identity in Chiaroscuro is that of a door. This is heard initially from 903 where, although a relatively background element in the texture, the distinctive sound of handles and latches draws attention to its presence. It is most clearly presented at 1013 where handle and latch sounds, and the characteristic creak of hinges initiate a realistic sound sequence. As the door opens a widening of spectral ambience on an exterior space announces a new scene with passing traffic, a transition of context further emphasised by the arrival of a motor vehicle which stops in close proximity to the listener, engine idling. This image is then gradually superimposed with and eventually submerged by complex noise bands that seem incongruous with the scenario, effecting a transition from a realistic to an abstract context. A linear transformation process is associated with the remaining naturalistic sound identity in this work, namely falling rain (from 6 1 ). The image of rain 1 (contextualised by thunder) emerges out of a rapidly articulated noise band, and is melded into the sound of flowing water which itself is transfigured into rapidly shifting pitched resonances. In such ways Chiaroscuro weaves spectral and morphological play around recognisably real-world sounds, employing both juxtapositional and transformational articulations of the distinction between Reality and abstraction. This tends to shift our attention in and out of particular kinds of listening focus, toward imagined actions, physicalities and scenarios on one hand, to gestures and textures that defy source-cause recognition on the other. A definitive interpretation of the significance of these shif ts is elusive, as the listener is suspended in a world of free and enigmatic associations.



The spatial dimension

Distinction between Reality and abstraction need not be confined to the orders of surrogacy of soundobjects themselves. As soon as sounds are articulated in a tangibly three-dimensional spatial field, an important aspect of environmental Reality has been analogised. A good example of this is in the opening of Denis Smalleys Valley Flow (1992), a work in part inspired by contemplation of environmental space and scale. The work begins with gradual accumulation of spectral layers around the textural properties of an opening granular resonance that pans across the stereo space. Over the first 1'30? a three-dimensional field is gradually established, with the initial granular resonance appearing in the near middle ground (its proximity suggested by high frequency components) and further spectral layers adding spatial distance and width (through the lower pitched element at 42? and the noise band at 1'05? respectively). The nature of the sound identities themselves also have a role in the articulation of this spatial field. The initial sound possesses slight instability of pitch and this, along with its faintly granular quality, could be taken to suggest that there are aspects of detail within the sound that we are yet to hear fully. These dynamic qualities are emphasised by the fluctuations in spectral spread and proximity within the first 1'30? as well as occasional increased prominence of iterations within these layers, until at 1'48? one such layer (which emerged at 1'40?) is propelled to the very front of the stereo space exploding as a multitude of high-energy fracturing and bouncing morphologies. This creates the impression that iterative detail, always latent within the sounds has been revealed as a result of the sounds trajectory towards us. In this way, the sound obeys one of the laws of perceived space, that the closer we are to it, the more we hear of inner detail. Although the sound itself is not specifically identifiable in terms of a particular environmental or cultural source, it nevertheless serves to define a realistic acoustic space, and behave as though though it were a physical entity, capable of being observed from different vantage points. The apparent motion of sounds in a stereo field can create the sensation of them occupying or defining spatial dimensions quasi-physically There is a clear parallel in visual terms where the trajectory of an object thrown or spun defines spatial boundaries, and against which we can judge the scope of our personal space, and the relative limits of foreground and background.
Sound diffusion

In terms of spatial articulation, the practice of real-time diffusion of electroacoustic music in multiloudspeaker environments should also be mentioned. In any large performance space this becomes an essential way of ensuring that composed spatial dimensions are clearly conveyed. For example, where it is desired that a sound have an intimate presence before a listener it is important that there are loudspeakers sufficiently close to an audience to prevent the resonant characteristics of the performance space from over-expanding and/or dissolving detail within the sound image. Similarly, where intelligibility of spoken language is desired, it is frequently necessary to ensure that near-field loudspeakers are available to avoid the blurring of semantic content that can occur in large spaces. A large and well installed concert system can enable recognisable sound sources to have a range of very tangible spatial perspectives, which may exaggerate or enhance their natural scale (especially the potential to expand and enlarge and amplify), or to influence a listeners sense of involvement in a work. For instance, an environmental scenario might be presented as though observed by the listener on a frontal plane, or can surround listeners giving the sensation of being in the environment.



Links with performance

The combination of live performance on conventional instruments with electroacoustic music naturally adds a dimension of visual correlation between physical action and sound, otherwise left to the imagination in purely acousmatic music. This is able to impact on the way the Reality-abstraction continuum is perceived and can suggest theatrical exploitation of the mechanics of perf ormance, or the interaction between player and instrument. I attempted an integration along these lines in a work for tuba and tape Inside Out (1991). The instrumental writing in this work was aimed at a gradual evolution from discrete pitch-based material to unpitched material (a transition through the continuum of note-to-noise). Because of the nature of the instrument, this could be done by the player breathing through the tuba to produce bands of filtered noise, in effect amplifying the breath. By mounting a small loudspeaker inside the bell of the tuba, pre-recorded breathing sounds are at one point interpolated with the players breathing. The resulting ambiguity of source (is it the player or the instrument?) is further enhanced with a prepared tape of transformed breathing sounds diffused over loudspeakers surrounding the audience and submerging the sounds of both player and tuba. Transposition of these breathing sounds enabled an expanded, surrealistic breathing texture to be created, building on a theatrical context in which the normal Reality of player/instrument interaction becomes separated, and transferred to an enlarged view of the the initiating human energy source of the instrumentthe breath.

The electroacoustic medium can justly be regarded as one of the most significant single developments for music in the late twentieth century. By bringing the entire breadth of sounding sources under the composers direct control, it provides the opportunity for the full scope of human listening mechanisms to be employed in revitalised waysparticularly our strong natural tendency to seek recognition of sound sources and causes. Combinations and transfigurations of recognisable sounds draw on listeners cultural and environmental associations and experiences in ways that can engender metaphors and evoke symbols. Trevor Wisharts Red Bird remains an enduring example of this possibility. Works discussed in the latter part of this paper show that the continuum between Reality and abstraction can be taken as a wider metaphor for relationships between physical states of matter (La Cration du Monde, (Tides, Pacific) or relationships between the human and environmental world (Vox-5). It may also be used to imply different levels of human awareness by emphasising distinctions between signs from the real world and more abstract materials which project an other-worldly nature. This can draw attention to our tendency to observe nature (Deux aperus du jardin qui sveille), deliberately play on and subvert our tendency to associate sounds with physical sources (Chiaroscuro) or, where content is specifically focused on some aspect of human awareness, suggest analogies for the interaction between the outer world of action and signification and inner emotional states (Tense Test). The Reality-abstraction continuum is but one broad area of distinction between materials in electroacoustic music, though one deeply rooted in the way we perceive and interpret the world and ourselves. Finally, distinctions between outer and inner forms of experience as suggested by the interplay of Reality, surReality and abstraction are meaningful to us because they are able to mirror aspects of consciousness itselfwhere reaction to the physical world, language, thought and fantasy form an



inextricable coexistence. In this the acousmatic realm of electroacoustic music offers a rich and fertile territory.
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(also available in alternative version as part of complete Vox cycle, Virgin Classics, VC 7 911082).

I Was Running in So Many Different Directions

Luc Ferrari Montreuil, France translated by Alexandra Boyle


extravagant preposterous tortuous unusual amphibologic prodigious ineffable exorbitant.........on narration and repetition

KEYWORDS cycles, repetition, serial techniques, sons mmoriss, narration

Some Light-Hearted Explanations

........yes, I had been following so many different threads, and I found that the time had come to draw them togetherto construct a synthesis. At first I thought that everything was clear, that nothing required explanation. And not only that but I enjoyed covering my tracks, saying the opposite of what I had to say, and the fact that speaking out was in itself a contradiction. In this way I gave myself the pleasure of dismantling appearances. I thought then that it was no use explaining myself, that everyone would understand since my obscurities seemed clear to me and precisely because across them I saw clearly. It must be said that I was well placed to see them, I saw the light where others did not. And I continued like a mild maniac to mark out my tracks. I should have explained myself more fully for I was chasing all these different aims with a tremendous craving, where a single aim would not be so simple to decode. I didnt do it, I was wrong. And as could be expected, it seems that nobody, or very few, understood the motivations, the paths, the propositions, the several unusual ideas which I was harbouring.



I am not saying this in a spirit of vituperation, since I myself have dealt from the bottom of the pack, but to explain why I am explaining. This path undertaken, I saw with some apprehension that nothing was clear, but that the pleasure was great and the ambiguities significant. I had however spoken often on the radio, I had written a lot for myself, and for others, to the extent that I sincerely believed I had revealed myself extensively. I had also written some commentaries in my scores and composed some text-scores, which made me think that I had really elucidated my thoughts a great deal. Probably explaining oneself is quite a different thing, probably one has to do it where it is expected, where it is credible, not to do undertake it lightly, and never with derision. But I believe that one cannot speak seriously without the persiflage which gives to seriousness its complicity, and to rightness the counterpoint of error to which it is irremediably attached. To explain one needs the appropriate terms and the labels which permit the classification of the creative, which are the tools of compilation. To explain, to demonstrate, to comment, to elucidate without justifying oneselfthat is difficult. I have to say that I have never wanted to formulate a doctrine, nor to wear any particular hat. I have never been military nor religious nor mystical, never got involved in a political party; I have never belonged to any coterie nor agitated for any aesthetic. That this doesnt stop me from having ideas in general, and ideas on the underside of those, is quite obvious. Thinking of the synthesis, I can find some traces in my existence, some lineage, some points where I rediscover associated thoughts, some convergence of divergences, some traversing of periods with fixed ideas, some unselfconscious encounters with certain systems. I have the certain knowledge thatduring the long time I have been alive, surrounded by the barbarity of history, over and above terrors and laughtertwo obssessions have occurred, which I will not deny as I have a vivid sense of them. On the one hand, concerning form, there is a concubinage with repetition and cycles; on the other hand, looking at content and meaning, a highly developed and quasi-permanent flirtation with story and narration. I am quite happy to have found this shortcut. In effect in the light of these two ideas, I can at last explain the greater part of my works, be they scores, films, sons mmoriss,1 multimedia, etc......theatrical work, symphonic, solistic, somniferous, platonic or aphrodisiacat last I can unravel all of it. Or nearly.
Unapplied Repetition

I have been interested in repetition from very early on. It is difficult to say, now that it has become a genre recognised and adopted as an American phenomenon of the 70s, but I suppose that the ideas of Robert Ashley, Terry Riley and Steve Reich didnt come to them all at once; they were part of a process of reflection and intuition.



I probably shared this particular process of reflection and, in the years of my youth, felt this need to repeat as an alternative to the perpetual variation which was the engine for the use of the series. Certainly I grew up in the post-war serial movement; for me it represented novelty and radicalism. At last, as a young man, I was in the thick of things and it was the avant-garde; it was there that I was looking for my identity. But it was probably also this impetuosity which led me to disturb the system, to start looking very quickly for my independence, to transgress it in mixing it with a sort of cyclical obsession. It was difficult to formulate this at the time. If one looks at the score of Visage 1 (1956) now, one sees that two methods are confronted, the serial and the repetitive. In effect, one sees a series evolve across a superposition of cycles. But expanded. Not only through the notes but also by including some sound objects or extended to the use of the cycles themselves, in which a series of peaks appears like a submarine or the Loch Ness monster. What did the series mean to me at that moment? It meant perhaps achieving the maximum diversity by pitch variation. It meant making use of a sort of numeration which permitted me to inflict mortal damage on the tonal system, from which I wanted to escape, by shattering it. It meant abandoning an academic and constricting form. Finally it meant entering forbidden territory, since the conservatoires were fighting this disharmony this music of noise, or simply this vandalism. And when I was thinking of repetition, what was I imagining? Like dodecaphony, in itself the phenomenon of repetition seemed insufficient. I think that it is important to say hereand if I dont say it it wont be possible to identify the sources which have formed my lifethat I have never let myself be carried away by a method or a system as a basic principle, or a totalitarian fact, but rather as a means in opposition to which I could do something else. For example, in order to unfold a sound adventure, to tell a story, to hint at some fleeting images; all sorts of insights which allow me to use the word narration. At the time Visage 1 was composed, repetition presented for me not so much a process as the observation of the social organisation of time. Thus observed, time organises itself in layers and according to a certain number of points of viewsocial, political and sentimental. It is in this sense that repetition fascinated me. For example I remember having said: Monday is a day like any other but the butchers are closed (which at that moment was true). I could also say: If I take the metro every day at the same place and the same time, I see different people, apart from one person whom I recognise, it is marvellously haphazard. Repetition is thus an area where there are resemblances and also differences: if I repeat the same sentence, it is no longer the same moment. Repetition thus has some superimposed values: in the example about the metro, the person I recognise is now dressed diff erently Every day at the same time and the same place, everybody is different except for this one person who is not wearing the same clothes as the day before, and I am not sure that this is the same train, that may not be the same driver

Since the early days of musique concrte and electronic music, people have tried to name these novelties: experimental, electroacoustic, acousmatic, live-electronic, for tape, and the radiophonic creations: hrspiel, acoustic-art, radio-art, etc. I am not proposing anything to anybody, since, as you will have understood, that is not my project, but as far as I am concerned I will use the term sons mmoriss.



and it is raining, people are thinking their own thoughts and even if they are having the same thoughts as the day before, the thoughts are a day older and thus modified. So thought intervenes like a t ransformation of repetition. One can hope, even if one is very pessimistic, that thought accumulates experience or memories, and that if you superimpose a purely mechanical repetition it is seen each time as something topical and not as something redundant. In society you only have to lean forward to be crammed full of the most wonderful examples, repetition can be inept or meaningless if it is done as an obligation, as an alienation, but if one chooses to do it, if one thinks it, it is flanked with a vital sense. (As an example, my Cellule 75, force du rythme et cadence force for piano, percussion and sons mmoriss (1975)) When I speak of repetition in conjunction with Visage 1, it is to say that the reflection I have just made in the last paragraph is already sensed there but not yet formulated. If it is present in the hotchpotch of the impulse, it is hardly audible in the mush of intentions. And there one should speak of cycles rather than of repetitions; things observed in life, in cycles as they are in society, cycles which take on, in the course of their repetitions, some differences. On the one hand, I must insist on the cycle. One could speak of a series of cycles, or of an intuition of a more generalised series which will concentrate on more than just the parameters of the sounds, and even on more than just musical form. And, on the other hand, but I will speak about this later maybeexcept that I dont know if I will since what I have just written wasnt planned A series of cycles, as I was saying, of different lengths. In the 1950s, I didnt think that a single cycle could hold such interest. I didnt know John Cage then, he burst into my world in 1957 in Darmstadt, as the bearer of the completely radical new. I didnt know that you could repeat a chord or a formula for such a long time, I didnt know that you could make a silence last so long. But I found myself materializing in desires which I had then only developed to an imprecise stage. I didnt intend to speak of John Cage, but one more homage to the influence which he had in that period wont hurt. So, the year before this meeting, I was composing Visage 1, which is a score based on superimposed cycles. And I was saying, a cycle or the repetition of a formula held little interest, while the superposition of two cycles of different lengths fascinated me, and the idea of playing with several disparate cycles seemed to me a delightful idea. I imagined the cycles like individuals, living at different speeds. When they didnt meet they were independent, when they met by the phenomenon of different beats, they were transformed by influence or by confrontation. In effect, if one takes real-life individuals, you see that each one follows his own rhythm, has his own activities. And then there are encounters inside these rhythms, due to chance and the rules of society. Each individual, following his own path, can come across other people, notice them or not, look at them without changing direction, although some encounters can be significant. Some, in the impersonal tide of humanity find themselves in a position to communicate and so to interact with one another; I could almost say one within the other. It is this process which I used from Visage 1 onwards. I have already said that it was a serial work, and that the series was used for both objects and cycles, that it operated also as a dodecaphonic series inside the cycles themselves.



All the same, I wasnt able to apply this method in a systematic way, as I did not want the encounters which were due to the hazard of repetition, to modify systematically the individuals. I wanted it to be the choice of desire which took that step, so that only this would decide the value of the transformations. In this way a sort of sentimental and narrative mechanism could be articulated. During a period when all sentiment was banished, at a moment when there was no question of anything but structure, this sentimental-narrative tendency was an incongruity.
Diffuse Narration

So I was discovering how time unfolds and I was discovering how the feeling which I had for time was subjective, that my creation was the billposting of this subjectivity and that it was contained within a society with which it was entering into conflict. Or at least in which this subjectivity should find or make its place. I was discovering that day after day brought a new experience; not forcibly progress, but something which one could identify as a marker. On a daily basis I made marks, and I understood that during the creation of a work it was the daily gradation which interested me. These markers, this progression, this accumulation of memory, fabricated a sort of narration, which I needed and which gave, even to completely voluntary abstraction, a concrete attachment to social, political and sentimental life, as I was saying earlier. I think that what I am writing here is a lecture which is more like a talk. I dont know where it is leading me, in the sense that I try to stay madly impulsive and so let myself be carried along by the words. Besides, I should admit that before actually beginning to write I had made a very precise plan, but that up till now I have not tackled it. Or I havent found the means to get near it. Will I succeed? I cant say. In this way, daily events, whether realist or transf igured, became my raw material and following them became my way of working. And in my composition I followed day-to-day matters, thinking that this gave some sense to the creation and that from day to day this sense was becoming tauter. I dont want to say that I didnt have a plan. I used to make very complex plans, I sometimes stated very precisely the path to follow. Very convoluted plans which defined the form from one end to the other. But during the realisation of the work, I was forced to begin at the beginning and day after day to work towards the end. I know that there are numerous composers who proceed in other ways and who, working from a plan, pass from one place to another, from moment to moment as Stockhausen said. And, besides, this is what led to the open forms of the 1960s. Although I too have passed by therea thing of the moment perhapsI am not making a value judgement in saying that I used to go about it differently, but that that was what I was attracted to. My nature, my individuality and my independence, led me to follow an adventure which followed the time rather than leap-frogging over it. Thus I recognised that I was using the ingredients which I had chosen for myself, perhaps with increasing agility, and that I was making progress in relation to this work. To follow this private progress seemed to give a concretisation at each moment of the music, seemed to raise a sort of suspense, resembled the intimacy of the diary of a writer. And for me, that was narration. Round this was woven the musical discourse like a private diary which would relate the experiences lived and which would tell of the agility acquired during the creation of this work. Little by little I even



found it interesting that one might detect some awkwardnesses in the openings with these gradually softening and giving way to dexterity. This makes me think of Tautologos 2 (1961). A musique concrte composition, as we said in the heroic age. I wanted to spread out a series of openings and I used to explain to whoever would listen that this came from the fact that I found the beginning was a failure and that I had begun again and then again on and on, until it was going better, which didnt mean going well. This cycle of failed openings which according to the rules of the game should get better and better, also illustrated the idea of repetition; it is in fact the reason for naming this piece tautologos, from the word tautology which means useless repetition, a sort of pleonasm and redundancy (redundant taken as a pleonastic parody of the superfluous). Of course there was an element of self-derision, for I didnt find that the openings were really flops, but this explanation evinced my possible fragility at the same time as being a symbolic mockery of oneself, which was intolerable. It must be said that at this moment in history, most composers advanced with an aesthetic free of doubt, with the appropriate face, never floundering in the mud of contradiction. They were infallible. To broadcast uncertainties was ill-mannered. I got off to a bad start. I made known my feelings, I told stories in whispers, I was already diverting the idea of the series, in some ways I was playing dirty tricks. Now I seem to be tackling another subject. Without wishing to. I promised myself that I would not be at all polemical and I have the impression, maybe false, that the last few sentences could let you believe that I am getting into the area of polemic. But Ill leave it immediately There, I am out of it. After this brush with controversy and having compromised myself with the world, form and content got organised surprisingly well. I had met up with musique concrte and through that electronics and the microphone, what I now call son mmoris. I wont tell you how I got into that. Maybe one day. Because it is quite delightful. In this way I began to use the pocket-sized tape recorder. Fantastic! the first Nagras,2 the first Eclair3 movie cameras (silent, portable cameras with synchronised sound). It was a revolution and everyone wanted to use these in their work, the triumph of truth. A camera which penetrated the domain of secrecy. With my tape recorder I was finally able to get out of the recording studio. I travelled all over the countryside and I amassed a great quantity of different sounds. In this way Htrozygote (1964) was born. From 1963 on I listened to all the sounds which I had recorded, I found that they were like images. Not only for me who could remember them, but also for innocent listeners. Provide images, I told myself, contradictory images which catapult in the head with even more freedom than if one really saw them. Play with images like one plays with words in poetry. Some images which have no sense at all, and others which do have, some flimsy images and others from which one cant escape. There I had

2 3

NAGRA: a Swiss-made tape recorder which revolutionised filming in the early 1960s. Camra Eclair: Its small size made possible New Wave exterior filming with constant movement.



the complete scale from the abstract to the concrete, which allowed me to make an absurd discourse based on images which were absurd or put in absurd situations. For example, the wave from a heavy sea. It appears naive to bring it to peoples notice, now that one is used to incongruous things, now that surrealism has been absorbed by the advertising world. But I had never heard, before it was possible to cut (cut and splice as they would say now), a wave starting from complete silence and going back to it. Because the sea produces a continuity of sound. But there it was a question of a poetic apparition. There was a confrontation between extreme realism and a complete utopia. I could thus represent images, send them out and pull them back, I could articulate the language of noises. I could make an entertainment/performance from darkness. I called that musique anecdotique without really believing it. I should have done perhaps. Now that I am trying to explain, I am also trying to define myself to myself. That was a personal step, innovative since it didnt exist previously (which doesnt mean very much). It was recognised as such since my colleagues condemned it. I could have leant on this identity like one throws a switch to set a mechanism in motion: you know quite well this is anecdotal music. Probably I found that inopportune, partly because I knew deep down that one never invents anything and I was inspired by the idea that I should not be locked into any move which would label me. Afraid of losing my freedom, that was it, probably! What are the incentives which push me to speak now? For a start I have proved sufficiently that I was free. Not only that but I can easily say everything which comes into my head, and can position myself without sourness. Furthermore, and this is more difficult, I want to tell the story of my life and everything which that entails, interweaving with the world and not only the musical world. Like a passer-by tells his story to another and not because I want to be a being apart. Perhaps a little, since I am a creatorbut who knows, and what does that mean. I want to tell because like everyone I have something to confide. To explain. Life, even the simplest one is already so equivocal. That is where I am stopping. I have not followed the plan which I spent so much time fussing over. My programme remains wide open. I could perhaps consider this text as the first chapter of something else? Without knowing if I really want to launch myself on such an adventure. It could be called:
Variation extravagant preposterous tortuous unusual amphibologic prodigious ineffable exorbitant.........on narration and repetition



Selected Discography
Acousmatrix: Petite symphonie intuitive pour un paysage de printemps, Strathoven, Presque rien avec filles, Htrozygote BVHAAST 9009 Acousmatrix 3 Cellule 75Collection 85: Cellule 75, force du rythme ou cadence force; Collection de petites pices ou 23 enfilades MUSIDISC 2242232 MU 750 Folklore Imaginaire MUSIDISC 2 242262 MU 750 Luc Ferrari-Matinet Soir MUSIDISC 242242 MU 750 Presque Rien MUSIDISC 245172 MU 750 Unheimlich schn METAMKIN MKDC 008

Other CDs of Luc Ferraris work are available on the BVHAAST and MUSIDISC labels.

Something like a hidden glimmering: John Cage and recorded sound

James Pritchett New Jersey, USA

This essay considers a number of works by John Cage (19121992) that have in common the use of recorded sounds: Score (40 drawings by Thoreau) and 23 parts: 12 haiku, Inlets, Williams mix, Fontana mix, Etcetera, Etcetera 2/4 Orchestras, Song books, and Roaratorio. The viewpoint taken is a spiritual one: that recording technology is used in these works as a means of effecting an identification of our souls with the spirits inherent in nature and the world around us. Critical discussion of the works in question take this as a starting point and develop the theme of spirituality in Cages use of recorded sound. KEY WORDS John Cage, tape recording, tape music, spirituality 1

Whats in mind is to stay up all night reading (Cage, 1979, p. 51)this is John Cages suggestion for his work Empty words (19734), a chance-made rearranging of passages from the journals of Henry David Thoreau. The text is in four parts, becoming more and more fragmented as it proceeds. The first section draws phrases, words, syllables, and letters at random from the thirteen volumes of the journals; the second section dispenses with the phrases, and the third drops the words, too. By the fourth section, there is nothing left but individual letters and silences making a vocalise: pure sound. The performance instructions read like notes from Cages own journal:
Searching (outloud) for a way to read. Changing frequency. Going up and then going down: going to extremes. Instead of going to extremes (as in I and II), movement toward a center (III and IV). A new breath for each new event. Making music by reading out loud. To read. To breath. IV: equation between letters and silence. Making language saying nothing at all.. (Cage, 1979, p. 51)

It is at this point in his instructions that Cage mentions the all-night reading. The plan is to time the reading (allowing for half-hour intermissions between the four parts) so that the final section will



commence at dawn. At this point all the doors and windows are to be opened, allowing the sounds of the morning to enter. When Cage performed such a reading over the radio in 1981, I did as he suggested in my own apartment. The bird songs mingled with his own vocalizationsinside and out, everyone was singing together. Cages orchestral work Score (40 drawings by Thoreau) and 23 parts: 12 haiku (1974) is another Thoreau-inspired piece. Here, the eponymous drawings, taken from the journals, are arranged in time frames constructed according to the syllabic proportions of Japanese haiku poetry (575). These drawings are distributed among the twenty-three instrumental parts, so that when the ensemble plays together the complete drawings are transformed into sound. After the performance of the twelve haiku, we hear the sounds of dawn arriving, this time via a tape recording made at Cages home in Stony Point, New York. The effect is almost identical to that of the open windows in Empty words: the outside world is allowed in. Cages combination of natural ambience and the text and pictures of Thoreaus journal is not haphazard. Thoreau, as his journal demonstrates on every page, was an avid walker in the woods and a keen observer of everything that he encountered there. In both Cage pieces, after hearing fragments of Thoreaus accounts of the world of nature we are ready to go out and see for ourselves. By opening the windows of the concert hall, either physically or through the medium of tape recording, Cage takes the world that we experience secondhand in Thoreaus writing and invites it inside. Why describe the thing when you can have it whole right here and now? Cage does not use the sounds from outside as an accompaniment to his music, however. In Score and parts the tape is played only after the orchestra is finished; in Empty words the sounds of the early morning fill up the silences in his reading, overwhelming and absorbing his voice. Our attention is turned away from the figure of John Cage, composer and performer; instead out ears turn outwards, towards the world. His performance notes suggest this: At first face to face, finally sitting with ones back to the audience (sitting with the audience), everyone facing the same vision. After staying up all night listening to his reading, everything in the world seems clear, bright, shiny-new. Maybe I was wrong when I said that Cage opens the window to invite the world in. He opens it to let the world invite us out. We have come full-circle: Thoreau went out into the woods, then came back and wrote of his experience. Cage takes those writings and drawings, transforms them through his own artistry, then takes us back out into the world again, as if on a field trip. When we hear the morning sounds in both Empty words and Score and parts, the urge to put on our boots and go looking for birds, flowers, or mushrooms is irresistible. The beauty of it all is that Cage need do so littlenothing, reallyto make this turning of our minds happen. He just opens the window, turns on the tape recorder. Like Thoreau, Cage is a master at simply noticing things.

Cages Inlets (1977) is for three performers, each with four conch shells: small, medium, large, and very large. Water is poured into the shells so that they will gurgle softly when the players tip and turn them about. Each begins with any shell, then, after a short time, changes to another one. A somewhat longer time is spent playing the second shell before changing to the third one, which is then played for an even longer time. The rest of the performancethe longest time period of allis spent playing the final shell. The watery sounds of the shells are at the heart of the piece. Their unpredictable outbursts



and soft burbles are mesmerizing and relaxing; the gradual slowing down of the performance mirrors the settling of our own minds. About midway through the piece the shells fall silent and the sound of fireof burning pine conesemerges from loudspeakers. The water gurgles pick up again, and, a little later, the sound of a blown conch shell trumpet is heard. That is the whole piece: water, fire, air. The materials are elemental (only earth is missing I remember, though, that when Cage performed it he used a box of sand to catch the dribbles of water). They do not need Cages assistance to become powerful. What they need is for him to leave them alone. Each of the elements is presented so plainly that its identity shines brightly: the splashing of the water, the crackling of the fire, the wailing of the conch trumpet. In transmitting these vivid images, live sound has no advantages over recorded sound. The sound of the burning pine cones can be produced live (presumably offstage and then piped in) or it can come from a tape recording: Cage makes no distinction between the two. To discuss the fine distinctions between the fire, the sound of fire, and the recorded sound of fire is to miss the point entirely. The overriding concern is the clear projection of the three elements via the three sounds; the image of water, fire, and air, not the medium through which that image is imparted.
3 I think one of the things that has happened is that its become clear that we can benot just with our minds but with our whole beingresponsive to sound, and that that sound doesnt have to be the communication of some deep thought. It can be just a sound. Now that sound could go in one ear and out the other, or it could go in one ear, permeate the being, transform the being, and then perhaps go out, letting the next one in. (John Cage, in conversation with Morton Feldman)1

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become onewhen you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. (Basho, in Yuasa, 1966, p. 33) Any fool knows its a broom. (An unidentified friend of Jasper Johns, speaking of the real broom in Johnss painting, Fools house. Solomon, 1964, p. 16)

Before Cage began his history-making work with chance and indeterminacy, he had already achieved wide recognition as a composer for percussion ensembles. His introduction to percussion music was through Oscar Fischinger, a maker of abstract films. When I was introduced to him, Cage recalls, he began to talk with me about the spirit which is inside each of the objects of this world. So, he told

From Radio Happening I, John Cage and Morton Feldman. Recorded at WBAI Radio, New York, 1966.



me, all we need to do to liberate that spirit is to brush past the object, and to draw forth its sound.2 Cage was inspired by this to go striking things he found around him, listening for their spirits: this exploration became his music. I wonder whether this was also the source of his unusual scheme for classifying recorded sounds in his two tape pieces of the 1950s: Williams mix (19523) and Fontana mix (1958). In both compositions he used six categories of sounds: city sounds, country sounds, electronic sounds, manually-produced sounds (including instrumental music), wind-produced sounds (including singing), and small sounds (that is, sounds so quiet and subtle that they need close miking and amplification to be heard). This plan is unique in that it is not based on the acoustic properties of the sounds, but rather on the identity of their sources. To properly classify a sound, Cages system demands that one knows what produces it or where it comes from. Perhaps, in collecting sounds for his tape collages, he was more concerned with the different spirits to be discovered rather than the different acoustical profiles. I like the image of John Cage, microphone in hand, hunting for city spirits, country spirits, small spirits. Sounds are also the spirits of placesthe essence of a place can be found in its own peculiar flavor of silence. In Etcetera (1973), a work for mixed ensemble, a tape recording of the ambient noise in Cages Stony Point home is played very quietly throughout. By the time of the sequel to this work, Etcetera 2/4 Orchestras (1986), Cage had moved to an apartment in New York City: the tape recording played here is of the traffic noises rising from Sixth Avenue, punctuated by the ringing of the telephone. In either work the effect he sought was to use the recording of ambient noise to transform the sound of the concert hallits silence, actuallyinto the sound of the place in which he had composed the work. There is a rich poetry in so identifying the piece with the circumstances of its creation. Cage was a fastidious and devoted worker. Theres a wonderful scene in Elliot Caplans recent documentary film Cage/Cunningham in which Cage and Merce Cunningham are waiting in an airport. The corridor is empty and silent. The two of them are sitting at a table, briefcases open, papers out, working away. Their concentration is electric. Perhaps this is the intent of the ambient noise in the Etcetera piecesto summon up the image of Cage working intensely in an empty, silent space. By hearing the same silence, we might just be brushed by the same spirit.

The very first number of the Song books (1970) is a setting of the following excerpt from Thoreaus journal:
Saw a large hawk circling over a pine wood below me, and screaming, apparently that he might discover his prey by their flightWhat a symbol of the thoughts, now soaring, now descending, taking larger and larger circles, or smaller and smaller! It flies not directly whither it is bound, but advances by circles, like a courtier of the skiesHow it comes round, as with a wider sweep of thought!Circling and ever circling, you cannot divine which way it will incline, till perchance it dives down straight as an arrow to its marka will-o-the-windthe poetry of motion.

From Cage, J. (1981), For the birds, Boston: Marion Boyars, p. 73.



Cages instructions for the performance of the song are clear enough:
Using the map of Concord [Massachusetts, Thoreaus home] given go from Fair Haven Hill down the river by boat and then inland to the house beyond Bloods. Turn the map so that the path you take suggests a melodic line (reads up and down from left to right). Change electronics [amplification or alteration of the voice] at intersections and/or when mode of travel changes. The different typefaces [of the printed text] may be interpreted as changes in intensity, quality, dynamics. This solo may be accompanied by a tape recording of hawk sounds. (Cage, 1970, p. 2)

This first solo of the Song books demonstrates perhaps the simplest possible treatment of recorded sound. The Thoreau text is a poetic meditation on the flight of hawks; its declamation is accompanied by the recorded sounds of hawks. The tape borders on being a sound effect, except that there is no attempt here to create the illusion of being where Thoreau was. In his book The transformation of nature in art, Ananda K.Coomaraswamy distinguishes between artistic imitation as simulacrum and simile: the imitation of the outward appearances of phenomena versus the imitation of essences and eternal images. His discussion of this very distinction and his insistence on the divine origin of all art is, in fact, the source of an idea that Cage cited throughout his life:
However, if we suppose that all this implies a conception of art as something seeking its perfection in the nearest possible approaches to illusion we shall be greatly mistaken. It will appear presently that we should err equally in supposing that Asiatic art represents an ideal world, a world idealized in the popular (sentimental, religious) sense of the words, that is, perfected or remolded nearer to the hearts desire; which were it so might be described as a blasphemy against the witness of Perfect Experience, and a cynical depreciation of life itself. We shall find that Asiatic art is ideal in the mathematical sense: like Nature (natura naturans), not in appearance (viz. that of ens naturata), but in operation. (Coomaraswamy, 1934, pp. 1011)

The painters of old painted the idea and not merely the shapeso says a Chinese writer quoted by Coomaraswamy (ibid p. 15). Cage has done the same in his hawk-song. Thoreau, watching the hawks, had his mind full of hawks: from the real one in front of him his journal proceeds to his thoughtsthe inner hawksthat multiply, circle, and dive. The passage moves fluidly between these inner and outer hawks: did he see a bird dive to its mark or did he have an insight? His consciousness and hence his writing is filled with hawks. Cage, in attaching a tape of hawk calls to his music, imitates Thoreaus mental state, not the theatre that unfolded before him. Its just a hawk (any fool knows it), and yet it touches on something deeper. It is the soul of hawks, of Thoreaus thoughts. Here the very concrete acts as a window into a spiritual insight. The clarity of vision and the simplicity of the sound produces a brilliance, a luminous quality. The hawk screams, and we begin to hear something like a hidden glimmering here, even while we hear nothing special at all.

In Roaratorio, an Irish circus on Finnegans Wake (1979), Cage took on the daunting task of setting James Joyces polyglot novel to music. To write a scripted version of the booka radio play, for



instanceis hardly imaginable, since the literal dramatic surface of the book is almost non-existent: it comes from the world of dreams. Instead, Cage turned to sound and its magical ability to reveal the eternal by means of the concrete. He went through the entire book, finding references to sounds and places. He then recorded those sounds, recorded the ambient sounds at those places, and mixed them on tape so that their appearance in time was proportional to their appearance in the book. This translation from novel to tape music is as straightforward as it can be: if the book mentions a cat meowing, then put in the sound of a cat meowing; if the book mentions Istanbul, then put in a recording of street noise from Istanbul. Add to this some music from a few Irish folk musi cians and Cages reading of his own rearrangement of the novels text, and the composition is complete. The resulting cacophony is an expression of the spirit of the novel, its eternal image: the world and its entire history as filtered through the unconscious mind of a Dubliner. Cages use of recorded sound here, as elsewhere, is completely without guile or complication. In Roaratorio, his sounds are literal: a sound is just a sound. But, being soundstruly sounds and not tokens for conceptsthey have a magic that words or even literal visual images do not. The visual image of a thing shows us its surface. If the artist or photographer is good and we are lucky, then we may see through this into a deeper understanding. The name of a thing doesnt even go surface-deep: it is something applied to the thing and is not of the thing itself. The sound of an object or a placeits sonic imagegoes to its heart; we can be permeated and transformed by it. The relationship between a sound and its hearer is a more intimate, a more physical bond than that between a visual image and its viewer. Cages achievement in his work with recorded sound is that he allows us to respond to a sounds spirit directly, without having the sound act only as an intermediary for his own designs. His realization was that sounds possess this power in themselves, and that any personal vision that he might try to saddle them with would only detract from their innate powertheir living impulse would disappear in the welter of ideas (to paraphrase Frank OHaras assessment of Kandinsky). When we hear Roaratorio, we respond to the soundsand hence the spiritof Joyces novel, not to Cages vision of the novel. Cage is the perfect composer to set Joyces writing because both of themJasper Johns, Thoreau, and Bash , too, for that matterare consummate masters at connecting our mundane experience to a higher reality. Joyce finds the universe in the dream of a Dublin innkeeper; Cage translates this to a phantasmagoric music of everyday soundsthe cries of babies and seagulls. Recorded sound is a particularly appropriate medium for this kind of work. In Cages hands it is our modern-day tool for going to the pine and the bamboo, to become one with our world.



Cage, J. (1979) Empty words. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. Cage, J. (1970) Song books. New York: C.F.Peters Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. (1934) The transformation of nature in art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Solomon, Alan R. (1964) Jasper Johns. New York: The Jewish Museum. Yuasa, Nobuyuki (1966) Introduction to Matsuo Bash . The narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches. London: Penguin Books.


Frank Zappa as Dadaist: recording technology and the power to repeat

Ben Watson Leeds, UK.

Frank Zappas work has been persistently misconstrued by the pop industry. This paper seeks to relate his music to the tradition of the European avantgarde (especially Dada). Using the film theory of founding dadaist Hans Richter, Zappas much criticized self-indulgence is interpreted as sabotage of commercial manipulation. Zappas attention to the technical aspect of recording is examined, along with his concern to disrupt conventions of representation. He is compared and contrasted to the postwar classical composers Stockhausen, Cage and Boulez. A case is made for him as a composer who refused compositional ideologies, adopting instead a collage aesthetic. It is also argued that his eclecticism avoids the mildness that has been noted as a feature of postmodern polystylism. KEY WORDS Frank Zappa Recording technology Dada/AvantgardeRock Postmodernism Theodor Adorno Introduction: Zappa and Dada

Frank Zappas death in December 1993 ended a career spent subverting the commercial culture in which he operated. By close attention to the way in which music manipulates its audience, Zappa played with parametersmusical, technical, social and sexualthat are usually left unexamined, sacrosanct. Nowhere is this clearer than in his use of recording, the essential means by which twentieth century music reaches a mass audience. Zappa was fascinated by the power relations of recording technology; indeed, his whole oeuvre may be viewed as a meditation on the consequences of being able to spool other peoples time on pieces of plastic. Questions of propriety and propertythe encounter of the individual with the socialwere raised with unnerving persistence. The pop press has not been kind to such tampering with the rules. Since the early 70s, Zappas experimentation has been repeatedly attacked as self-indulgence.1 It is necessary to go outside pop to



discover the spirit that animated him. His fusion of technical and social transgression is best understood as proceeding from the avantgarde of the early twentieth centuryFuturism, Dada and Surrealism. In The Real Frank Zappa Book, he had this to say about Dada, the anti-art movement that rocked the cultural establishment during the first world war.
INTERCONTINENTAL ABSURDITIES (founded 1968) is a company dedicated to Dada in action. In the early days, I didnt even know what to call the stuff my life was made of. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that someone in a distant land had the same ideaAND a nice, short name for it. (Zappa, 1989, p. 255)

Dada was characterised by an impatience with separations between different artistic specialities: painters incorporated words and letters into their artwork, poets banged drums. The recent reconstruction of Dr Otto Burchards Berlin gallery at the First International Dada Fair (Pachnike, 1991) indicated how ambivalent Dada was to art values: next to placards (Down with Expressionsim!, Take Dada seriously, its worth it!, Dilettantes, rise up against art!), paintings with their own letters and slogans look more like hoaxes than genuine, purchasable artworksjolts of provocation rather than objects for contemplation. The Dada revolt was also marked by an extraordinary extension of technical means: it previewed nearly the whole of twentieth century art (including such diverse entities as Surrealism, Bebop, Blue Note record covers, Pop Art, conceptual art, punk, Smart Art, Damien Hirst). Dada re-arranged artistic materialsletters, photographs, objectswith a freedom of invention that still giddies the mind. It is this emphasis on innovation, an advance that wilfully flouts social codes and moral values, that finds an echo in Zappa. In the late 1930s, Hans Richtera founder dadaist and its finest historianwrote a book called The Struggle For The Film. It was first published in German in 1976, and only translated into English as recently as 1986. Richter made some pertinent observations about the avantgarde and the mass audience. He describes how European modernists made some of the crucial technical advances in film (Eisensteins discovery of montage, Vertovs visual rhythms, the rediscovery of film poetry by dadaists like himself, Ren Clair, Ferdnand Lger and Man Ray). He also admits that the economic hegemony of post-war America allowed Holly wood to outflank European cinema. Keeping to a stringently technical analysisthis is no high-minded attack on Hollywood vulgarityRichter shows how Hollywoods ideological strictures limit its capacity to represent the world.
While in the cinemas earliest days, it was underdeveloped forms of expression and technological means that restricted the ways content could be presented, today it is the content that is inhibiting the development of the forms of expression. (Richter, 1938, p. 105)

Producing escapist dramas about the rich for the masses, postwar Hollywood suppressed films potential for documentary collage (something pioneered by Dada) in favour of an illusionistic realism

The one exception being Hot Rats; in his review in Rolling Stone (7 March 1970) Lester Bangs praised its lack of self-indulgence.



derived from already existing bourgeois forms: light opera and theatre. Richter does, though, grant that Hollywood has produced some masterpieces, particularly in its more extreme moments.
The history of the cinema becomes incomprehensible when it is written as a history only of the official productionwithin which a few extravagant artists have made interesting deviations from the norm. For it is precisely in these extravaganzas that an unusual content first finds its expression. (Richter, 1938, p. 113)

Zappa is just such an extravagant artist, someone who can tell us more about recording in the twentieth century than more mainstream commercial artists. Richter is writing in the context of an urgent and complex debate. In the 1930s, intellectuals were concerned to explain what had gone wrong with the left: how Hitler had managed to come to power, how Stalin had managed to destroy the best hopes of the Russian revolution, how capitalism appeared to have a new lease of life. Richter is contributing to a discussion already underway between Georg Lukcs, Bertolt Brecht, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin.2 Unlike Theodor Adorno, who dismissed Hollywood and the mass culture industry as proto-fascist manipulation, Richter echoes Benjamin and Brecht. He called for a radical, populist art which could harness styles and techniques thrown up in the commercial sphere. Richter praised Robert Flahertys documentary classic Nanook Of The North (1931) because it connected social behaviour to actual conditions.
The historical task of the progressive cinema is to develop a dramaturgy that arouses this kind of receptivity and turns people with quite primitive ideas into spectators who look for such a diet in the cinema and regard it as preferable to the other kind. (Richter, 1938, p. 135)

Because of Adornos pre-eminence as a musicologisthis extraordinary knack for interpreting the minutiae of a composers musical decisions as socially symbolic actsit is often assumed that his despair with the culture industry (and his championing of the high-art avantgarde) is the only course for those who oppose capitalism. In 1938 he wrote an article condemning all jazz as regressive listening (Adorno, 1938). Hans Richters analysis of filmwhich foregrounds technical advance and issues of manipulation and consciousnessprovides a better model for approaching Frank Zappas use of recording technology than Adornos expressionist disdain for mass art.
The progressive cinema can no longer be identified simply with the artistic cinema. On the other side, too, there are masterpieces of techno-artistic form. (Richter, 1938, p. 29)

Like Richter, Zappa was attracted to the extremes of pop culturescience fiction, monster movies, R&Bseeing in them potential for new content; he also had a strong pedagogic streak, hoping to introduce his mass audience to the joy of music as an end in itself. All this was to be achieved by emphasis on the material means of musical productionamplifiers, guitars, tape-recorders, mixing, record-production, touringrather than moralising about higher artistic values.

A debate usefully anthologised by Ronald Taylor (Bloch et al, 1977).



Zappas roots

Like many intelligent, solitary American boys growing up in the 1950s, Frank Zappa was fascinated by technology. He read popular magazines that mixed science fiction stories with teach-yourself science. His initial encounter with the European avantgardea record by Edgard Varseis described in images derived from this sub-culture:
I noticed a strange-looking black-and-white album with a guy on it who had frizzy gray hair and looked like a mad scientist. I thought it was great that a mad scientist had finally made a record (Zappa, 1989, p. 31)

Zappas response is naively stated, but perceptive nonetheless. In 1928 Varses LAstronome (documented in Ouellette, 1973, pp. 1157) envisaged a performance event that is like a cross between Wyndham Lewiss Enemy Of The Stars (first printed in Blast) and a 50s science-fiction film. Indeed, it is because both the high-art avantgarde and the mass culture industry demand technical innovation that Zappa was able to set off a productive ricochet between the two. Interestingly enough (especially for those swayed by Steve Reichs assertions that non-tonal music is unnatural and creepy), he loved the music of Varse straight away. At High School Zappa enrolled in art class. Given a cin camera to work with, he stripped the emulsion off a film and painted it himself, projecting the results while musicians played his scores (Walley, 1972, p. 29). It was this kind of disregard for conventionand curiosity about material processes that characterized his attitude towards sound recording.
Multitrack tape recording

Tape recording was a by-product of the exponential advance in technology achieved by the pressure of the second world war. In Europe, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry explored its artistic potential at the Radiodiffusion Studio in Paris. In America it was first seen as a convenient way of doctoring commercial recordings (early R&B is blighted with many crude overdubs3). Guitarist Les Paul pioneered the creative use of the multitrack tape machine, overdubbing at different speeds, building up impossibly brilliant bluegrass embellishments (bluegrass favoured virtuosic quick picking anyway). His jangling productions have a mechanical feel that is reminiscent of fair-ground steam-organs and spring-driven music-boxes. Singer Mary Fords nostalgic, war-period crooning is so out-of-touch with Les Pauls gimmicky effects that the results are unconsciously surrealbut limited for all that. In the early 60s Les Paul had an eight track machine; his nearest competitor on the West Coast was Paul Buff, who had five. Buff learned electronics in the Marines with the express intention of setting up a recording studio on discharge. He housed his mixing console in an old 1940s dressing table and advertised himself as the Pal Recording Studio. After recording various novelties with Buff, Zappa used payment for scoring the music for a cowboy film (Run Home Slow, 1963) to buy up Buffs studio, which he renamed Studio Z.



Zappas first marriage broke up at this time and he moved into Studio Z, initiating what he described as a life of obsessive overdubbagenon-stop, twelve hours a day (Gray, 1985, p. 32). It is instructive to compare his efforts with those of Les Paul. There is the same fascination for multitracks recorded at different speeds (something also done by Hendrix and then Prince), but Zappa had something entirely foreign to Les Pauls country-pop perspective. For one thing, he recorded electric guitar R&B style, using amplification to distort the soundnot just ringing hillbilly clarity, but complex harmonics (fuzz and growl) too. Zappa also applied his idiosyncratic notion of melody phrases which copy the patterns of verbal expressions rather than those suggested by conventional notation. Speed Freak Boogie and Toads of the Short Forest (unreleased Studio Z recordings broadcast on Australian radio in 1975) also pushed multitrack capability beyond what might be played in real time. The chipmunk banality of speed-ups is now an element within a collage of sources, a technique designed to rush the attention into sudden suspensions and shocks. Recording technology became much more sophisticated as the 60s proceeded. The number of tracks available multiplied. In 1972, Zappa used a 24-multitrack as a creative tool, making a virtual big band out of six pieces (Waka/Jawaka). Live versions of Big Swifty are much shorter than the recorded version, indicating that much of its seventeen minutes on Waka/Jawaka must have been the result of manipulating improvisations at the mixing desk. At this date Miles Davis and his producer Teo Macero were making albums by recording endless jams and making judicious edits, but Zappas efforts were characteristically more zany and action-packed. Multitracking was also crucial to the impact of the rock album Sheik Yerbouti. The inside of the gatefold sleeve showed Zappas hands adjusting slides at the mixing desk. Earlier versions (broadcast but never officially released) have a real-time, live sound: by inserting layer upon layer of synthesized textures, Zappa created a decorative fraudulence. The net effect is like picking up a sandwich to find it is made of polystyrene. At the same date that punk was vilifying the stadium rock spectacleIm So Cute and Tryin To Grow A Chin made references to punkZappa was collapsing it from within. On Sheik Yerbouti songs like Broken Hearts Are For Assholes hurled obnoxious words at the audience. The very mix taunts the rock consumer, too.
Recording as sacrifice of innocence

Jacques Attali began his book Noise by pointing out musics origins in ritual sacrifice.
In the chapters that follow, music will be presented as originating in ritual murder, of which it is a simulacrum, a minor form of sacrifice heralding change. (Attali, 1977, p. 5)

Sacrifice serves to bind society together by creating a unique occasion whose importance everyone can acknowledge (our own calendar, for example, begins with the birth of the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ). Zappas first releaseFreak Out!placed a sacrifice at the records heart. After this desecration, he implied, pop could never regain its innocence. The first part of The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet was titled Ritual Dance Of The Child-Killer: Zappa was parodying the

For example, the electric harpsichord overdubbed on Johnny Guitar Watsons original tracks (Hot Little Mama Big Town Records BT1002).



ritual of Stravinskys Sacre De Printemps. The whole double album is heavily ironic and self-reflexive, encrusted with manifesti, polemics and quotations. In the sacrif ice of Suzy Creamcheese, Zappa was seeking a symbol for the power of recording: Zappa asks Suzy Creamcheese Whats got into you? and the soundtrack erupts with siren, screams and banging drums. During the climax of the piece there are cries that sound like female orgasm. The founding crime of recording, in Zappas view, is that it can make private moments public. The title Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet points to the monstrous way a tape-machines magnetic pick-up can reproduce events. However, if the music had just been about a school-girl losing her virginity, it would have been as forgettable as the records of those other 60s anarcho-sexists, The Fugs. Actually, though claiming to document what freaks sound like at one oclock in the morning, the piece is stringent in its formal construction. The drums speed up, slow down, pan between metres. It incorporates sarcastic expostulations (Zappa saying Americas wonderful!) and a bleak section of sped-up voices that sound like bats in a derelict warehouse. The licence to freak out the listener is an opportunity to experiment with recording techniques beyond the limits set by Les Pauls country pop. Zappas sharp ear for rhythm allows him to cut together non-singer chants and maunderings into coherent music. The invocation of Creamcheese accompanied by clacking spoons is repeated at double speed. This compression makes the internal organisation of the notes more evident, while piano notes give the ending a classical formality. One merely has to compare the piece to the Beatles disastrous attempt at free-form weirdness (Revolution No. 9 on Double White) to recognise its musical coherence. Still, formal logic does not remove the scandal of Creamcheeses heavy breathing. Right There (You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5) featured live broadcast at a Zappa concert of a bed recording by the bands saxophonist. The idea of recording as a desecration of the private, integral personality continually reoccurs in Zappas music. For example, the theme that arrives in the last four minutes of Big Swifty on Waka/Jawaka is in fact a transcribed guitar solo of Zappas arranged for overdubbed trumpets. This makes use of a fairly obvious benefit of recording: that of being able to slow down, repeat and transcribe an improvisation (as has been done for Charlie Parker by Super Sax and for John Coltrane by Andrew White). This was just the first of a series of scores Zappa derived from transcribing his improvisations. Recording becomes an analytical tool, something that can freeze spontaneity and generate musical instructions. Just as a recording of someone reaching orgasm does violence to their privacy, so overtracked trumpets playing someone elses solo begs questions of identity. You can recognise Zappas wit in the way the Big Swifty theme sets up a Batman riff and then perverts it, but the fanfare trumpets give his personal, improvised line a pompous lilt. On The Grand Wazoo (1972), Zappa developed a whole concept round the idea of fraudulent splendour. The music tells the story of Emperor Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus and his war against Mediocrates of Pedestrium. It is as if the public presentation of the personality is inevitably corrupt and preposterous. In this, Zappa links to a long and venerable tradition of literary satire; what is new is that his satire enters right into the technology of sound reproduction and its ability to capture personality and reproduce it on a mass level. Zappa returned to the scandal of recordings power to desecrate privacy with The Torture Never Stops on Zoot Allures (1976). A womans orgasmic moans are surrounded with lyrics about dungeons and implements of torture. It was in part a satirical reply to Donna Summers disco hits, where she breathes sensually over mechanical rhythms produced by Giorgio Moroder, who derived his machine



aesthetic from Kraut Rock, itself greatly influenced by Stockhausen. References to pork, white fish and pumping the gas every night made dark hints about Nazi treatment of the Jews and the Teutonic propensity for order. On the same record, Ms Pinky made something utterly militaristic out of a disco beat. Formats copied from glam rock and disco mocked the restrictions of commercial music. Both sides of the record ended with songs about masturbation, satirizing Moroders marketing of sex by a reminder of the loneliness of modern life. The Torture Never Stops also works as a piece of abstract music. One can draw parallels between the womans vocal extremities and the extended vocalese of Cathy Berberian singing Berioor the indignities inflicted on an instrument by an avantgarde composer like Isang Yun. Though Susan McClary argues that the model of the sexual climax is a male-oriented tradition that postmodernism has abolished (Steve Reichs eventless music as an imago of a new sexuality) (McClary, 1991, p. 122), Zappa is more concerned to psychoanalyse musical processes than to pass judgements. Indeed, the way he reveals a sexual basis to musical development works rather like McClarys analysis of Carmen: Zappa is concerned to bring such structures to consciousness rather than using them to manipulate. The Torture Never Stops is an upsetting record, but that is its function and its achievement. Zappas commentary on private and public realms of sound was continued on Sheik Yerbouti, which placed arena rock frenzy between snippets of musique concrte. These snippets combined backstage discussions about sexual orientation with pointillistic, unstable effects that echoed Elliott Carters Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with Two Chamber Orchestras (1975). The albums lyrics revolved around castration-complex aggression, anality and sodomy with an unrelenting glee most critics found insupportable. For Zappa, sacrifice of sexual innocence was intimately bound-up with technical discovery and innovation.
Recording as documentary

Although Zappa achieved stretches of music that deserve abstract appreciation, he uses materials that most electronic composers would consider beneath them. If recording is taken seriously (something the orchestral world has been slow to do, wedded as it is to a more traditional mode of musical reproduction), it immediately suggests such a collage principle. One of the pop songs on Freak Out!, Hungry Freaks, Daddy, referenced the riff of (I Cant Get No) Satisfaction by copying its timbre rather than its notes4. In the 90s, sampling was to make such practices widespread: already in the 60s Zappa presented a music in which every sound was surrounded by quote-marks. Where most pop production aims to rationalize the production of musicmaking it cheaper and more standardized Zappa used technology to create something unheard-of. Zappas sidemen have frequently complained that he stole their ideas. In a Borges-like hall-ofmirrors, Zappa even stole such complaints themselves. In his 1972 film 200 Motels, a musician overdoses on drugs. Quick, say the others (following Zappas script), Weve got to get him back to normal before Zappa finds out and steals it and makes him do it in the movie!. When Zappa toured, tape-recorders ran on the bus, in the dressing rooms, in the street. Snippets from these tapes wind up on the records, which become a documentary collage of the process of making music. Zappa relished the documentary aspect of recording, the way it can register the ambience of a specific place.



What qualified as an acceptable drum sound on a 1950s recording seems laughable today. Since they didnt have digital echo then, the flavor and quantity of the reverberation used on a song were deter mined by the acoustics of the room in which the recording was made. The echo (or absence thereof) described the geography of an imaginary landscape in which a song would be photographed by the microphone. (Zappa, 1989, p. 157)

Paying attention to recorded sound liberated Zappa from the straitjacket of the academic scorethe restricted notion of music as specification of pitches over regular bar lines. The example of Varse encouraged Zappa to think of composition as the weighing of blocks of sound, the manipulation of sounds from an external viewpoint. Zappa himself called his music junk sculpture (Steel, 1991, pp. 323). Instead of seeking to provide an alternative, transcendent soundworld, Zappa makes music out of the banalities of modern existence. For Hans Richter, the dadaists use of everyday live was a major technological breakthrough. It also begged political questions.
Technology, overcoming time and space, has brought all life on earth so close together that the most remote facts, as much as those closest to hand, have become significant for each individuals life. Life has given rise to the secularisation of the divine. Everything that happens on earth has become more interesting and more significant than it ever was before. Our age demands the documented fact. (Richter, 1938, p. 42)

As well as anticipating Zappas abhorrence for religion, Richters utopian materialisma vision of a world in which the detail of everyday life holds more interest than transcendent beautyalso anticipates Zappas documentary impulse. Recording freezes a moment of time. By including in his records documention of chaoson the bus, on stage, in the streetZappa ingested bits of reality, with all its irreducible complications and contradictions. These provided a stimulus to his extremely orderly imagination, which sought to embroider thematics which can include these external moments in a coherent artwork, something personal. Jonathan Jones writes:
Zappas intention is to create a paranoid listener, who picks up with each new version some extra nuance, another hint. (Jones, 1994)

Zappa was himself a paranoid listener to his own work. He did not use recording to paint a picture which allows the audience to gaze unruffled at the object portrayed, but to dramatize recordings power to freeze and repeat. On the other hand, Zappa had no qualms about releasing a straight recording if a live event was deemed significant enough in itself. The plain cover of Fillmore East June 1971pencil scribbles on plain whitewas designed to make the music appear raw and unfinished, like a bootleg (in 1971 these were almost always lo-fi audience recordings). The record was both a comment on rock hysteria and

One that imitated the effect of a swing/R&B horn section, as pointed out by David Marsh (Marsh, 1991, p. 8).



an example of it. Many admirers of the Mothers of Invention baulked at Zappas willingness to emulate what he parodied.
The later records, however, seem to sacrif ice this tension [between the spheres of popular and of radical music] for a more obviously popular appeal (lengthy virtuoso guitar solos, and moments when parody comes so close to the thing parodied as to be almost indistinguishable from it). (Paddison, 1982, p. 215)

Production values on Fillmore were appropriately rockist, far from the speed-ups and fold-ins of Monster Magnet. Pop songs, opera and abstract tunes were all performed with the same headlong rock timbre. The rumbustious dialogues between ex-Turtles Flo & Eddie were a celebration of the taboo-breaking mores of the counter culture, but also satire on the sexual frustration of the touring musician. As usual, Zappa is concerned to remind us of the actual people behind the music. However, breaking a guitar solo at the end of side one (and then having it continue on side two) also dramatized the albums material existence as a vinyl disk (the same technique was used on Burnt Weeny Sandwich, where Ian Underwoods delicate piano is split between the two sides). Zappa has pointed out that timbre is more important than note-choice in determining genre: Purple Haze played on an accordian would not be rock, while Beethovens Fifth played on a fuzz guitar definitely is. On Fillmore, Little House I Used To Live In is played as a burlesque romp, an introduction to Flo & Eddies account of using a mudshark in the sex act; on Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970) an acoustic, ambient recording made it sound like an tude. Zappas presentation of the same tune in different modes asks questions about cultural value. Is a fuzz guitar really a lower form than a violin? Although todays postmodernists often claim to do thispiano sonatas dedicated to Jerry Lee Lewis, the Balanescu Quartet playing Kraftwerk at the Festival Hall, the use of amplification by the Kronos Quartetit often seems more like an attempt to make high culture more palatable (less austere), than a real interrogation of our ideas of hierarchy. Much has been made of the flattening out of social meaning engendered by the equivalence of recorded sound (once anything has been made into a record or a compact disc, it is indeed becomes comparable to anything else in that medium, whatever its social provenance). Zappas equivalence, though, is not a flattening-out, but a scandal: a dadaistic breach in formal etiquette. Zappas stress on recording as a document of a real situation was paramount in Roxy & Elsewhere, which featured virtuosic rendition of difficult scores. Tom-foolery among band members (suggestions that a bandmember smoke a high-school diploma stuffed with a gym sock) co-existed with scores which are an amalgam of Varse, Dolphy, Nancarrow and the blues/funk of Johnny Guitar Watson and Etta James. Deriving both guitar licks and composed tunes from speech patterns, Zappas music offers extreme rhythmic challenges. Here the difficulties are dramatized. The spotlight is put on a percussionist to show whats shes capable of; the saxophonist is warned, here comes the drill!. The tightrope walked between such discipline and the improvised comedy is fraught with psychological tension. Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmens Church) occupied side four. The theme is full of eccentric cross-rhythms and interpolated sections of fast runs, as if Zappa were making tucks and joins across time itself. Taking on board the bebop idea of an intimidatingly difficult tune that will exclude outsiders, it worked like an obstacle course. Be-Bop Tango in fact constituted a virtuosic solution to



a musical problem faced by jazz rock in the 70s: how to integrate the sensuous (and saleable) impact of rock sonority with musicianly challenge. However, the fetishism of skill in fusionthe idea that John McLaughlins velocity on guitar made him some kind of spiritual herois scorned by what follows, as Zappa invited audience members up on stage to attempt to dance to George Dukes bebop scatting. The incredible precision of the playing appears to disintegrate into the crowd-pleasing antics. However, looked at in another way, the dance-event raises all sorts of issues. Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny, Zappa quips. Having audience members come up on stage and attempt to dance to Dukes bebop perversions of the tune underlines the distance between jazz specialism and everyday life; in responding to the little notes they must perform grotesque physical jerks. Zappa asks up a woman called Brenda, and introduces her as a professional harlot who has been stripping for crewmen at Edwards Air Force base: two hours of taking it off for the boys, he says, then adds, with a leer, in the car. In 1956 Zappas father moved the family to California in order to do weapons research at Ed wards Air Force Base; in 1970 Zappa wrote a song about servicemen, fumbled sex and nationalism (Would You Go All The Way?, Chungas Revenge). Brendas presence threads all these themes together. Such observations require commitment to eking out what Zappa called conceptual continuity, the embedding of cross-references to other records throughout his oeuvre. His dadaist achievement is to make us turn that attention onto everyday life. Like real life, the audience participation of Be-Bop Tango is not entirely under Zappas control, yet Zappa gives us the paranoid idea that it might be. It is a powerful and suggestive model for the artistic use of documentary recording in musique concrte.
Zappa, Cage, Zen

Zappas acceptance of chance and the incorporation of everyday life into his art parallels John Cage. Both found inspiration for such an in-mixing in Zen Buddhism. On Roxy & Elsewhere, Zappa said: A true Zen sayingnothing is what I want (Dummy Up). He had found Zen a useful antidote to Catholicism.
I started reading about Zen which I found the most attractive of all the philosophical points of view at the time I was studying [comparative religion]. I thought, Now look, this makes sense. This is real. Why didnt somebody tell me about this before? (Occhiogrosso, 1987, p. 337)

David Revill sums up the Zen teaching Cage received from Daisetz Suzuki thus:
The world proceeds without our permission. It will be hot or cold, rain will fall, trees rustle in the wind. (Revill, 1992, p. 110)

The premire of Cages 433 was an object lesson in this haiku-like pronouncement.5
Anyone who listened would have heard the wind in the trees, then rain blown onto the roof and, in due course, the baffled murmurs of other audience members. (Revill, 1992, p. 165)

(Though Revill notes the antagonism of the audience, a social fact that, unlike Zappa, Cage did not like to dwell on.) On the CD release of Roxy & Elsewhere, Zappa added a sleevenote:



Sometimes you can be surprised that the Universe works whether or not we understand it.

Another Zen tenet. Words to Wild Love on Sheik Yerbouti

Later in the evening Leaves will fall Tears will flow Wind will blow Some rain, some snow

implied that Zappa was familiar with Suzukis argument. The chaos of the dance event in Be-Bop Tango is a blemish which opens up Zappas artwork to the concepts of the avantgarde. Such moments naturally left rock critics non-plussed. They generally responded with the charge of self-indulgence. However, they rarely explored the paradox of this becoming the critical clich for the most notorious workaholic in rock. According to Jacques Attali, music journalism is concerned
to give meaning to the object being sold, to make the consumer believe that there was use-value in it, to promote demand. (Attali, 1977, p. 42)

Such ideologues are understandably aghast at someone who hints that everyday life might actually be more interesting than buying records: a satirist who seeks to unmask the charade. Whereas in high art it is widely accepted that (at least since since Marcel Duchamp, Pop Art and Fluxus) art and anti-art tend to work in close proximity, rock critics tend to seek substantive, unproblematic value in music. Despite his parallel use of Zen, Zappas satirical impulse made him very different from Cage. He took seriously Cages assault on the boundaries between art and life, but accepted neither Cages disinterest in selling records, nor his quietistic social message. His political impulse is closer to Dada as described by Walter Benjamin.
Let us recall Dadaism. The revolutionary strength of Dadaism lay in testing art for its authenticity. Still lifes were compiled from tickets, rolls of yarn, and cigarette butts that were merged with painterly elements. The whole lot was put into a frame. And then it was shown to the public: Look, your picture frame breaks the bounds of time: the tiniest authentic fragment of everyday life tells more than painting does. Just like the bloody fingerprint of a murderer on a book tells more than the text. (Benjamin quoted by Pachnike, 1991, p. 99)

Zappas paranoid listener actively traces the chaotic live portions of his music for clues, a very different response to the quiet mind hoped for by John Cage. In the case of Be-Bop Tango, Zappas slice-of-life reveals stumbling ineptitude in the face of contemporary specialisations, whether musical, military or sexual. The ability of technology to preserve a tract of time makes us look more

Just before his death in December 1993, Zappa recorded 433 : Zappa maintained that you can record silence, ie the ambience of any space, and there is a muffled thumppresumably an accidentwhich gives the idea of someone sitting at a piano. Gary Davis editor (1993) A Chance Operation: The John Cage Tribute Koch International Classics 3 72382 Y6x2.



closely at the reality of American life. Zappa makes the Black Mountain School project of treating life as art critical and political, rather than accepting and aesthetic.
Looking at everyday life

Zappa often left in slips of the tongue and mistakes. Since his productions were meticulous in the extreme, this vaunting of flaws was highly motivated. In the introduction to Muffin Man on Bongo Fury there is a fluff: Im sorry, Ill try that again. The Central Scrutinizer on Joes Garage is forever tripping up on his narrative. Slips of the tongue are famous loci of the unconscious in the Freudian schema. By stressing these moments rather than editing them out, Zappa emphasizes the way recording makes human disshevelment public. On Uncle Meat, the idea of Zappas music as a complex, hermetic discourse was achieved by a laboratory sound and the inclusion of snatches of dialogue and music in evidently unreal multitrack mixes. By contrast, the sound on a live record like Zappa In New York was raw and brash and public, the Halloween crowd large and noisy. As with Fillmore, one might suspect that Zappa had suppressed his dadaistic stress on the way representation works. The sleeve consists of photographs of the band onstage, without the cryptic neo-dada collages Cal Schenkel supplied for earlier albums. However, there are little touchesa scatological dedication to an old bass player, Zappa being asked if he is interested in Stravinsky (Titties & Beer is in fact a reworking of The Soldiers Tale), the presence of a Zoot Allures enamel badge on a female musicians bottom (to mark the allure she might hold for the Illinois Enema Bandit, who is holding her from behind)all of which encourage speculation from the paranoid listener. Although Zappa In New York is a document of a major event attended by 27,500 deranged fanatics according to the sleevenotesZappa provides clues for the conceptual continuity sleuth. In this way even the most public events are injected with private meanings. Documentary suddenly becomes surrealist collage: life and art swap places. Treating musical material in a collage manner emphasizes its brute objectivity. It prevents us interpreting it as personal expression, bringing Zappas music close to Cage, who described his aesthetic attitude thus:
It had nothing to do with the desire for self-expression, but simply had to do with the organization of materials. I recognized that expression of two kinds, that arising from the personality of the composer and that arising from the nature and context of the materials, was inevitable, but I felt its emanation was stronger and more sensible when not consistently striven for, but simply allowed to arise naturally. (Cage, quoted in Pritchett, 1994, p. 17)

On You Are What You Is, Doreena hysterical, bended-knee, hand-on-heart, please-hear-my-plea love songresurfaces as an out-of-tempo backing chorus in the next track (Goblin Girl), a ditty about oral sex. Complex, abstract music results from collaging inane songs (rather as the youthful Charles Ives experimented with singing hymn tunes to the wrong accompaniment). Sinister Footwear (on the same album) started life as an improvised guitar solo called Persona Non Grata. Once transcribed6, Zappas line was duplicated by another guitar, by marimba and embellished with tuned metal percussion. Improvisation is conventionally deemed a means of personal expression; by turning his line into a score, Zappa makes it something spatial and objective. The piece finishes with a dry, clacking piece of percussion; just as you think the track has finished, it rattles again, like some



piece of sinister machinery. Zappas note sequences fight standardization, taking absurdist intervals and rhythmic liberties; but this death rattle is also a reminder that all recorded sound is a lifeless, preordained stretch of time to which the listener is subjected. On Beat The Reaper (Civilization: Phaze III), there is a persistent sound like rain guttering on a roof. The ear gets used to it and ceases to notice. However, when it cuts out towards the end, it is as if the shelter you have been in has vanished and you are in the open air: truly a surrealist coup. Zappas music now appears to be thunder booming in the heavens; in fact it is random gunfire recorded in San Fernando Valley by Zappa at New Year in 1987. Zappas special framing of documentary sound makes us look at reality with the attention we give art.
Records as inert objects

At the conclusion of Lumpy Gravy, the phrase Cos round things areare boring is followed by an exhalation (perhaps someone blowing a smoke ring), and a trite circular melody. The words comment on the fact that the listener has been subjected to a record, a fixed and unchanging and repeatable experience.
Fetishized as a commodity, music is illustrative of the evolution of our entire society: deritualize a social form, repress an activity of the body, specialize its practice, sell it as a spectacle, generalize its consumption, the see to it that it is stockpiled until it loses its meaning. Today, music heralds regardless of what the property mode of capital will bethe establishment of a society of repetition in which nothing will ever happen any more. (Attali, 1977, p. 5)

Zappas conceptual continuity was an attempt to prevent meanings becoming fixed and rigid. The listener is continually making discoveries that alter a records reception (eight years later the phrase Round Things Are Boring appeared written round a starmap on One Size Fits All, for example). Zappas dissatisfaction with product and his satire on his own records as boring resembles the Fluxus movement and its attempts to outwit commodity-production in art.
Foregrounding human labour

On a pop record musique concrte effects sound more like satirical provocation than art music (Dada rather than Expressionism). Were Only In It For The Money (issued in tandem with Lumpy Gravy) foregrounded recording as the very substance of Zappas art. After some stoned dialogue and electronic blurts, you can hear the creepy whispering of the sound engineer.
One of these days Im going to erasewhirlwhirlwhirl. Tomorrow Im going to make all the Frank Zappa masters blankemptyspace. Thats what they are now, blankemptyspace. I know hes sitting in there in the control room now, listening to everything I say, but I really dont care hello, Frank Zappa!

Its bizarre complexity may be examined in Frank Zappa (1982) The Frank Zappa Guitar Book, pp. 206212 Munchkin Music (distribution: Music Sales Ltd (UK and Eire), Music Sales Pty. Ltd (Australia), Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation (USA & Canada).



Whilst Freak Out! had established some kind of sound and identity for the Mothers, Money continually goads the listener. On Nasal Retentive Calliope Music promises of heavy rock are dangled, only to vanish into mocking snorks. On The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny, the pianist (a prizewinning interpreter of Mozart) plays Zappas scores with incongruous sensitivity. In Harry, Youre A Beast, a climax of teen sexual ineptitudedont come in meis played backwards in order to avoid censorship. Softcore psychedelia is ruined by someone shouting flower power sucks!. Side one finishes with a two separate monologues occurring simultaneously in each speaker. You can only work out the words by ignoring those in the opposite channel: instead of using stereo to give an illusion of depth, Zappa uses it to multiply confusion. Sped-up munchkin cries mock seriousness and the whisperer returns, wondering what everyone else is whispering about. In a nod to the mystery message on Sgt. Pepper, side one ends with lines omitted from side twos Mother People (Shut your fucking mouth about the length of my hair), again played backwards. Retrogrades are a traditional technique in classical music; Zappa treats tape in a similar spirit of abstraction. The famous cover for Money parodied Peter Blakes cover for Sgt. Pepper, making a lurid mess of his tidy montage. In dramatizing tape manipulationspeed-ups, overdubs, sudden splices, multitracks Zappa expounded a completely different aesthetic from The Beatles. Where arranger George Martin expertly summoned up nostalgic referencesthe charleston of When Im Sixty Four, the steamorgan of Mr Kite, the symphonic orchestra of Day In The LifeZappa piled on brute effect after effect. This bald presentation of technical materials links him to Dada: an impatience with the charade of representation. In talking about the aetherial sound quality of New Age music, John Corbett traces its suppression of the playing body back to Manfred Eichers production for ECM records.
What set ECM apart was its use of several key production techniques: echo and compression. The combination of these, along with other studio methods, allows for the next step in the fetishization of autonomous soundthe elimination of the musician. (Corbett, 1994, p. 43).

Zappas recordings persistently emphasize the peoplemusicians, engineers, even roadiesbehind his music, attacking the way consumer culture mystifies production, presenting music as a gift from a higher realm. Absolutely Free on Moneya scabrous attack on flower powermocks the way hippie listening erases the element of human labour that produced the sounds we hear:
Dreaming on cushions of velvet & satin To music by magic by people that happen To enter the world of a strange purple Jello The dreams as they live them are all mellow yellow

In Mother People there is a violent gouging sound as if the needle is being dragged across the record, followed by a section of some restful scored music from Lumpy Gravy. However, the way that we have arrived at these sounds forces us to see how they are merely other areas on the record surface. Zappa breaks the illusion that we are doing anything else than listening to a record. Imagination and creativity result from play with material processes, not by drifting off to some transcendent zone. This play with technology corresponds to John Cages description of what he gleaned from Marshall McLuhan.



New art and music do not communicate an individuals conceptions in ordered structures, but they implement processes which are, as are our daily lives, opportunities for perception (observation and listening). McLuhan emphasizes this shift from life done for us to life that we do for ourselves. (Cage quoted by Pritchett, 1994, p. 151)

What separates Zappa from Cage, though, is the violence of the perceptions engendered; a moral indignation that brings Zappa closer to Dada than to Cages mystical quietism. On Uncle Meat the intimate, crafted beauties of the overdubbed studio tracks occasionally break into live confusion, a contrast that brings home the distance between studio control and rock-concert hysteria. The upfront opinions of Suzy Creamcheese (Pamela Zarubica) on Zappas groupie status, and drummer Jimmy Carl Blacks complaints about money seem at first merely part of a bizarre freak aesthetic: however, their presence is actually part of Zappas documentary realism. Like Dada, this is a realism that will not accept any formal constraints in delivering its picture. The subject matter keeps bursting the frame: collaged actuality rather than confected representation. The Air includes words about recording.
I got busted Coming through customs With a suitcase Full of tapes It was a special Tape recording And they grabbed me While I was boarding Then they hit me And they beat me And they told me They dont like me

The idea of a special art which the authorities wish to extirpate resurfaced eleven years later on Joes Garage. Such fears are reminiscent of drug paranoia, but Zappa is being concrete: he is concerned to inform the listener of the material provenance of the music. The title track of Sleep Dirt is a close-miked acoustic duet between Zappa and another guitarist. The latter asks at that tempo? and Zappa grunts an affirmative. Zappa plays a shimmeringly evocative solo over his accompanists ostinato, his left hand miked as closely as the right, bringing out extra squeaks and clicks. Although the elegaic tone is new for Zappa, the intimacy with which the two guitarists seem to tangle their strings is very physical. As if distrustful of evocation, Sleep Dirt finishes with a broken ending: getting tired? says Zappa; no, my fingers got stuck is the reply. Sleep dirt is a name for the mucous that collects beneath the eyelids during sleep, and the inclusion of the slip of the hand seems a deliberate effort to catch a glimpse of the unconscious. Just as the abrupt end of Orange Counter Lumber Truck on Weasels prevented the listener relaxing into the beat, foreknowledge of the pieces abrupt disintegration leads you to track each finger stroke with close attention. Although Zappas playing is lyrical, he prevents the listener taking off into fantasy,



emphasizing that this music is the product of human workthe very opposite of the cool impersonality Corbett notes in New Age production.
The score

A sleevenote on Money points out that

All the music on this album was composed, arranged and scientifically mutilated by Frank Zappa (with the exception of a little surf music). None of the sounds are generated electronicallythey are the product of electronically altering the sounds of NORMAL instruments.

This was a point only likely to interest those embroiled in 60s debates about the relative merits of musique concrte and pure electronics. Although he was aware of Karlheinz Stockhausens attempts to reach an absolute music by building up harmonics from pure sine waves, Zappa favoured a collage approach. Hed use scores to get musicians to play what he wantedespecially where verbal directions did not workbut he composed by weighing sonic actuality rather than by the kind of scorebased mathematical procedures that led serialists like Stockhausen into thinking they could generate every musical parameter from pure electronic sounds. Like Stockhausen in his absolute phase, Pierre Boulez conceives of electronics as a method for the serialist composer to realise compositional extrapolations humans find impossible to play7: for Boulez, the score is the artwork, not the mastertape.8 Involved from the beginning with recording studios, Zappa did not have such a concept of the score as an end in itself. Like Joe Zawinul of Weather Report, Zappa was acutely aware of the part studio ambience played in making records. Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (Were Only In It For The Money), for example, featured piano music written by Zappa: but the reverberant sound of the piano is just as much the theme of the piece, as clanging piano-notes are alternated with sped-up laughter.
Neither abstraction nor neo-classicism

Form, said Adorno, is itself a sedimentation of content (Adorno, 1970, p. 209). In the debates about the construction of electronic musicwith the purists of modernism insisting on the pursuit of abstract sound patterns and the postmodernists welcoming literary and referential motifsZappas position is unique. Although his piebald macaronic refuses the homogeneity necessary for nonreferential art, he has no truc with those who claim that we can only re-arrange the pre-recorded sounds of the past (a claim that links postmodernism to neo-classicism9). Zappa is interested in transmutation. Formally, the urgency of his music is down to a fine rhythmic sensitivity that can hear an underlying pulse in external materials: but it is his grasp of the social meaning of his materials that makes the cuts and surprises so provocative.
Repetition as death

Zappas hostility towards minimalism (he calls it monochromonotony, Zappa, 1989, p. 189) could have been predicted from the satirical record Ruben & the Jets of 1969, which expertly adumbrated the perils of repetition. It was a tribute to the innocent rock n roll of the 50s which bands like the



Mothers of Invention had done so much to destroy. Where Freak Out! had twanged and hummed with the group-solidarity dissonance of electric guitars, and Money had subverted expectations with its continual splices, Ruben was so smooth it was unsettling. A sleevenote referred to the cretin simplicity of the music; this was emphasized by using the multitrack tape-machine in a manner that isolated different levels of the music. Thin and dry, the drum sound is disturbingly artificiallikewise the machine-like bass and the regular guitar. Zappa called Ruben his neo-classical album (after Stravinskys adoption of traditional forms in the 1920s), but his adoption of the restrictions of the 50s is sinister rather than celebratory. At one point the phrase theres no room to breathe in here provides a pointer to the suffocating restrictions of the music (and by extension, the suffocating restrictions of 50s society too). Ruben emphasized the oppressive restrictions of the music by refusing any illusion of ambience, of a real recording space. The album concludes with Stuff Up The Cracks, where the singer gasses himself. Far from being a symbol of progressive sexuality (McClary, 1991, p. 122), repetition is a symbol of social inertia.
Straight state-of-the-art recording

Zappa was quite capable of doing recordings that did not play games with the listener, and indeed some of his records have set benchmarks for production values of whole genres. After Frank Zappa disbanded the Mothers in late 1969, he recorded an album called Hot Rats, showcasing his ability to play guitar and arrange inventive charts. Although highly artificialthe CD release replaced many embellishments vinyl had not been able to cope with, indicating that this was not a live record so much as a multitrack montage that required compromises in translation to mass-consumption formats Hot Rats has an organic impact that makes it a favourite Zappa album for non-Zappa fans. The clarity and precision of the recording set a standard for jazz-rock and fusion; in contrast to the antiestablishment quaintness of Uncle Meat, it created three-dimensional credibility for each instrument. Zappas turn-about resembles Max Ernsts turn to oil-painting when he initiated his series of decalcomanias: the marginalised members of the avantgarde proving that they can outflank the mainstream. Likewise, Overnite Sensation used the upfront garishness of contemporary soul and funk recordings, complete with touches like a Superstition clavinet sound and backing vocals by Tina Turner and the Ikettes. As with Fillmore East June 1971, many devotees complained about what was considered to be a turn to commercialism. Zappa introduced special effects that rubbished seriousnessa nasal sniff ing sound from a scraper after the line by where some bugs had made it red on Camarillo Brillo, for exampleeverything delivered with a gloating, provocative glee. The intricate complexities of the arrangementstruly bravura in both concept and executionare not presented as art music, but as
[Boulez] sees these [experiences in the musique concrte studio] as offering the potential for the strict treatment of certain problems relating to the long-sought inclusive grammar of sound and (notably with regard to durations) for realizations more perfect than with human interpreters, rather than merely regard them as an amazing source of preposterous or unbelievably wonderful sounds. (Jameux, 1984, p. 45) 8 When questioned as to whether he considered the score or the master-tape to be the work of art, Zappa answered, the master-tape (Watson, 1994, p. 545). 9 Adornos polemic against neo-classicism and Stravinsky may now be read as an attack on postmodernist polystylism (Adorno, 1949).
7 He



glossy irritants. Zappas lyrics, spoken close up to the mic in the manner of TV commercials, reproduced the banality of advertising with references to dental floss, poodles and zircon-encrusted tweezers. Production is state-of-the-art (Overnite Sensation was originally issued in quadrophonic, the next-step-beyond-stereo that never caught on). Whereas fusion bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra made spiritual claims for their virtuosic musicianship and crystalline production, Zappa offered a torrent of vulgarity. To outflank the cosmic fusioneers on their own technical territory was part of his dada-materialist critique. Apostrophe () was even better recorded. Here the special effects, and Zappas avuncular narrative delivery, made the record sound like a cartoon soundtrack, A story about Nanook the Eskimo showed Zappas awareness of Flahertys film (whose documentary realism had inspired Hans Richter). Though the title track is live improvisation, the mannerist brilliance of the rest of the album exploits the increasing control new studio technology was giving to producers. Absurd lyricsa diabolically complex piece of marimba playing is meant to portray the evil fur trapper on his way to St Alfonzos Pancake Breakfastdeflate the pretensions of contemporary progressive rock. That he decided to lavish state-of-the-art production on songs at once so musically intricate and lyrically silly was a mark of his cynicism about the great significance being laid on mega-selling rock in the days before punk.
Multitrack mixing as a form of musique concrte

On the album Burnt Weeny Sandwich, the title theme is faded in over close-miked crunches and scrapes, making the full-tilt sound of the band playing in public merely another piece of time trapped on tape that can be brought up in the mix. Side two also shows Zappa using the mixing desk as a form of musique concrte. Sugarcane Harris was an electric violin player who used a distorted sound to emulate John Coltranes famous sheets of sound (fabulously expressive harmonics). When Harris starts his solo, everything is engulfed in an avalanche of white-noise; the bass is given a new depth in response. Mixing with attention to Varses blocks of sound, Zappa is less concerned to keep metrical order than to contrast the objective musical weight of the playing on the separate bands of the multitrack. In Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown the dull thunder of the bass guitar and the dead beat of the drums separate out from the melody in a manner that is distinctly surreal. Working with a regular touring band, making frequent live recordings and writing scores meant that Zappa could transcend the limitations faced by those concerned with only one such area. His compositions are mixed like electronic music. Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (Weasels Ripped My Flesh) is an intricately through-composed piece that emulates the humour and abstraction of Eric Dolphys Out To Lunch (1964). Although bass and drums have the raw crunch of live playing, sped-up marimbas punctuate the longer notes of the tune with comedic pipping sounds. Dwarf Nebula Processional March suggests a Disneyesque march of the gnomes, though it suddenly bursts into an outrageous motley of electronics backwards sounds, streaming fragments, puttering distortions, munchkin crieswhich screws itself up into a perfectly-timed couple of coughs before the punk aggression of My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama. The presence of musique concrte amongst regular rock music points to how artificial is music realized on a mixing desk: an extravagant mid-section features the trumpet-emulating sped-upclarinets of Uncle Meat, along with a preposterous section of romantic Latin guitar. The psychedelic



rock-out of The Orange County Lumber Track is suddenly cut offwere laughed at, and the record ends with the title track, two minutes of excruciating feedback, recorded live in Birmingham, England. As Zappa says Good night boys and girls, we can hear the audience shout for more. Zappas musique concrte foregrounds the technology of mixing, but not in order to diminish recordings documentary power. He is concerned to inform us that an audience could listen to the Mothers play the worst noise in the world for two minutes and then ask for more. The cravenness of the rock audience, the terroristic imposition of volume, the hurt engendered on subjectivity by the exalted position of the star, are all being commented on in Weasels Ripped My Flesh. If Zappa lost the idea of recording as documentand decided to compose entirely with unrecognizable, abstract sonoritieshe would never be able to make such points.
The voice of the oppressed

Zappas approach was pragmatic. When questioned about various methods of recombining multitracks, he pointed out that he does not seek to justify particular procedures, or work within their limits.
I mean, basically, what youre looking for is a musical result that works, yknow, sotheres nothin pure about me, and the tools that I use. I mean, Im the guy that sticks Louie Louie in every fifteen minutes. (Simms, 1991, pp. 1920)

This clashes with some key tenets of the post-war avantgarde. In the 1950s, serial techniques were prized because they generated new sound worlds beyond the intention of the composer. The score was a directive that could realize new music by specifying new procedures. The composers ear was distrusted as leading back to tradition. Zappa was interested in new techniques, but insisted on the right to edit the results. When Pierre Boulez says he distrusts talk of inspiration, he argues that at such times memory is just being turned on like a tap.
When people say, Im free to invent, I can use any language, I use the language which is appropriate to what I want to say, I say that what they are doing is just like tap-water, opening a tap of their memory, they think thats new, but its not, its just pure memory. If you want to be involved in the discovery of your own personality you have to be demanding of yourself than just to feel freeyou never feel free unless you have a strong discipline before.10

Boulez is criticising the ideology of a composer like Alfred Schnittke who claims simply to hear the music he wishes to achieve and then transcribe it. Both Cage and Boulez criticized the humanistic concept of the personality at ease in the symbolic system into which he or she has been born (as if musical expression is transparent and unmediated, and culture as natural as the air we breathe). To contradict such reactionary commonsense, Boulez used the structuralist ideas available to a post-war Parisian intellectual, Cage the paradoxes of Zen Buddhism (themselves so often reminiscent of Dada). Conversely, attacks on the modern school pioneered by Cage and Boulez decry the anti-humanism of questioning traditional means of musical communication11. Does Zappas insistence on his own ear as final arbiter mean that he can do no more than turn memory on like a tap, confined within the limits of Cages bugbear, personal taste?12 To answer this



question, it is necessary to examine the social role of the musical genres under discussion. Cage and Boulez are modern classical composers, chafing at institutions designed to realize the music of the past. Romanticisms ideology of personal expression is experienced as a shackle; hence their interest in processes that go beyond the control of the expressive intentions of the composer. Zappa operated in a different realm. Unlike Cage and Boulez, Zappa was not in a position to make a name for himself as composer pioneering new sounds; he brought master-tapes to market and hoped they would sell. To insist on art integrity on a pop recordwhich Zappa did by quoting Edgard Varses The present-day composer refuses to die! on his album sleeveshas a different resonance from perpetuating the myth of the expressive genius in classical music. All three are concerned to disrupt packaging clichs that threaten to box them in a corner (likewise jazz composer Anthony Braxton: see Radano, 1994). It is interesting to note that the record industry has managed to sell quantities of modern classical records in the 90s by promoting the image of the composer mystic, a readily consumed entity with none of the prickly integrity of a Cage or Boulez. Boulez often points out that progressive post-war composers wanted a new, international musical vocabulary because of the horrors nationalism had inflicted on the world. Likewise, Adorno saw folk musicand nationalist composers who used folk sourcesas an example of the forced reconciliation between individual and community that characterised the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin. The revival of folk music in an industrialized society was artificial and ideological. However, Adorno had good words to say about Bartk and Janacek, reasoning that the folk music of an oppressed, non-industrialized nation had an altogether different function from Nazi blood-and-soil propagaganda (Adorno, 1949, p. 35 n. 5; also Paddison, 1993, pp. 3738). Adornos comments echo Lenin on the national question, arguing that national struggles need to be assessed according to whether they express the aspirations of an oppressed or colonizing nation (Lenin, 1913, pp. 1751). Adorno here provides a better basis for understanding blues and jazzthe music of an oppressed peoplethan his blanket condemnation of the regressive hearing brought about by jazz on the radio (Adorno, 1938). Zappas affinity for Black R&B came about because, as for a whole generation of American adolescents, it voiced his social alienation (aggravated, in Zappas case, by a Sicilian/Greek background which meant he suffered from WASP racism). When Zappa trusts his ear as the final arbiter, it is becauseunlike Cage and Boulezhe does not need a self-denying ordinance on his sensibility. For someone who declared a lack of interest in any tonal classical music at all (Zappa, 1963), the rigours of chance and serialism were not required to prevent a return to the past. Though frequently portrayed as a prescriptive mandarin with a gloomy outlook, Adorno was actually much less enamoured of system than many post-war serialists. He called for emancipation from twelve-tone techniques:
the amalgamation and absorption of twelve-tone technique by free compositionby the assumption of its rules through the sponantaneity of the critical ear. (Adorno, 1949, p. 115)

Boulez, P. (1990) Talk at the Royal Festival Hall 9 September 1990. E.g. the attack on Richard Barrett and the New Complexity (Hewett, 1994, pp. 148151). 12 Despite Cages Zen rhetoric, there are indications that he did exercise his own taste: for example, abandoning works if, once he examined the outcome, he decided the questions he had answered with chance were superficial (Pritchett, 1994, p. 3).




This is precisely where Zappa stands. As pointed out above, Black music evolved through a dialectic of recording and improvisation. Although the way that musical problems are verbalised in classical composition furnishes many insights, it also divides composers into different schools specialising in various declared techniques. In Europe, electronic music and free improvisation are frequently hampered by ideologies and institutions which prevent the two sides communicating13 (although excluded from the academy since the 1960s, free improvisation is still very much alive, as demonstrated by the survival of the record labels Incus in London and FMP in Berlin, and the worldwide network of free improvising clubs); electronic composers develop a horror of not being in control, whilst free improvisors often have grave doubts about the validity of recording anything at all (or record in an uncreative documentary vein). Zappa meanwhile eschewed ideological commitment to any particular method, using a palette of technical means as wide-open as his musical sources.
Zappa and modern art

Zappas refusal to accept a social niche for his music has delayed his reception by the musically literate. Coming from a counter culture that revolted against the privilege implied by education (reinforced by Zappas standing in the long line of American self-taught, crackpot inventors like Charles Ives, Buckminster Fuller and Cage himself), Zappas music does not explain itself politely, but instead supplies problems for reified thought, getting close to Adornos definition of modern art in Aesthetic Theory.
Without the homeopathic ingestion of the poison itselfreification as the virtual negation of the living the pretense of art to resist subsumption under civilisation would have remained a helpless pipedream. By absorbing into art, since the beginnings of the modern, objects alien to it that can never be fully transformed by its own internal formal laws, the mimetic pole of art yields to its counterprinciple, and this all the way up to the emergence of montage. (Adorno, 1970, p. 193)

Following this line of thought allowed Adorno to grant that a satirist like Kurt Weill could work with regressive musical material and end up with something far removed from the collusive kitsch of neoclassicism. Similarly, Zappas musical eclecticism should not just be racked alongside Schnittke as an example of polystylism.
In mirroring contemporary culturefrom Sinatra to Varseas a giant scrap heap of disposable consumer trash, Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (in the earlier records at least) must certainly come close as any to meeting Adornos requirements as outlinedon Weill. (Paddison, 1982, p. 215)

In taking Varse as his guiding light, Zappa adopted the most radical and abstract composer of the twentieth century In Pome lectronique (1958) tape recordings of bells, woodblocks, sirens and a

Notable exceptions are: Conrad Boehmer, who uses free improvisors on Apocalipsis cum figuris (1984; available on Acousmatrix, BVHaast 9011); Richard Barrett, who both writes scores and improvises with an electronics group called Furt; Simon Fell, whose Compilation series adds in an experimental attitude towards the recording studio to an improvisation/composition dialectic.




womans sighs are contrasted with pure electronic signals in a constructivist drama of call and response, irruption and echo. A similar delight in formal shaping underlies all Zappas music, but aligned with a sneer at the manner in which the sounds he uses are usually employed to manipulate the listener rather than as ends in themselves.
Rock versus classical

Zappa examined the relationship between rock and classical music in the surrealist documentary 200 Motels, a film which placed the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the Mothers of Invention inside a vast concentration camp. From the beginning, with the title Semi Fraudulent/ Direct-from-Hollywood Overture, the status of composition is highly ambiguous. As in Lumpy Gravy, Zappas scores appear to delineate processes internal to the musicians thoughts. In contrast, the rock songs are chances for blatant extroversion. As with Fillmore East, 200 Motels is presented as a live event, like a 60s pop-art or Fluxus happening. In later years, Zappa had the finance to do closefocus recording of both orchestras and rock bands, combining aspects of both into single works. Here, the two genres are compared by being filmed and recorded in the same physical space: musicians from both camps, are being placed in an experimental reorientation facility (as Ringo Starr calls it in his introduction). In Lucys Seduction Of A Bored Violinist & Postlude, seductive groupie gestures are projected over a violinist sawing away at Zappas portentous score, guying the repressed professionalism of the orchestral musician. A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes is a definitive celebration of post-Pierrot Lunaire vocalese, though it is closer to the disorienting insanity of the Cabaret Voltaire than the expressionism of Boulez. It mocks conventional demands for some old melodies, 4/4 time and an aura (precisely that which Walter Benjamin said was destroyed when art is reproduced). The segue from this to Magic Fingers, a blistering rock number, is virtuosic, the final note from the soprano seeming to invite the guitar explosion that follows. Rock and classical music, the products of distinct social strata, may be combined to produce something stronger than either in isolation. The Perfect Stranger appeared on the Angel classical label in 1984 and featured three of Zappas compositions played by the Ensemble InterContemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez. This was a coup for Zappas attempts to be taken seriously as a composer. Zappa showed an ambivalence towards being accepted in the art world. His sleevenotes on The Perfect Stranger concluded: All material contained herein is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be confused with any other form of artistic expression (likewise his sarcastic emphasis on the word fine in his introduction to the Ensemble Modern concert on The Yellow Shark). Like any dadaist, Zappa is allergic to claims to art transcendence. A comedy of errors has characterised his relationship with the classical world (for the 1985 While You Were Art scandal see Zappa, 1989, p. 176 and Shrader, 1992), though the Ensemble Moderns Yellow Shark concerts and recordings were undoubtedly a triumph. The interest in Zappas scores shown by progressive figures like pianist Joanna MacGregor, conductor Clark Rundell and the Meridian Ensemble indicates a bright future for Zappa as an orchestral composer.




Although this paper contends that Zappas art constitutes a dadaist response to the manipulations of the mass media, for Zappa, living and working in Hollywood, isolated from artistic and political currents that could contribute solidarity, such refusal to collude in culture-industry myths could easily feel like schizophrenia: a radical dislocation from social reality. Since Zappas musical method is to construct assemblages from materials that are externally available, lack of inwardness causes a powerful existential anxiety. Andy on One Size Fits All packs some of the force of Varses abstractions. Its lyrics concern Andy Devine, the cowboy actor, asking Is there anything good inside of you?. The music evokes schizophrenia, the chilling idea that all reality is a faade as flimsy as the flats of a Bmovie Western. On the same record Sofa parodies the pomp of romanticism (God sings to his sofa in German), not allowing transcendent high art to pose as an alternative to the junk heap either.
Musical abstraction and social strata

Weasels Ripped My Flesh was a bravura example of Zappas skill with the razorblade, a collection of live musical events spliced together like musique concrte. Didja Get Any Onya? achieved some of the absurdist conjunctions of Varses Pome lectronique: dense, hysterical passages abutted to unaccompanied vocal wails, low slurring sounds abraising regular beats, call and response, a sense of complexity raised by overlaying metres running in different time zonesin short, the whole liberated universe of post-war avantgarde music. But this abstraction is segued straight into Sugarcane Harris singing Directly From My Heart To You by Little Richard. Instruments that have been exploring free-form abstraction suddenly coalesce in rock-solid R&B. All this appears to be achieved in real time because the instrumental soundamplification and recordingis identical. Continuity of the recording ambience allows us to hear R&B in an abstract manner, the bass as a mighty industrial machine, the violin like an expressive siren. An astute producers ear allows Zappa to make connections between musics conventionally regarded as products of distinct social strata. On Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas mask the falsettos are so strained and silly-sounding (the audience can be heard laughing in response), it is easy to miss what sophisticated harmonic layerings are being achieved. The sparseness of the music makes us aware of the audience and their sense of outrage, recalling Dada provocations at the Cabaret Voltaire. Toads of the Short Forest (a tune originally produced by overdubbing at Studio Z) realizes its metrical layerings here in real time. Blues and jazz grew out of a dialectic with the recording processa players personal sound and improvisations came to be prized because there was the technology to reproduce it (previous eras could only preserve the score, not the performance). Zappas ricochet between studio experimention and live reproduction is a high-pressure version of this dialectic Using the same engineer and studio as One Size Fits All, Johnny Guitar Watson (an R&B legend who guested on the album) recorded an album that has the same steely objectivity as Andy, raising the bizarre idea that Varse might find a correspondence in 70s funk. The introduction to Love That Will Not Die on Funk Beyond The Call Of Duty, an album Watson made in 1977, has woodblocks, chimes and sirens that could come straight from Varses Hyperprism. Like Mondrians delighted response to the modernity of New Yorkhis Broadway Boogie-Woogie seriesVarses futurism is not in a different world from Black music: both are responses to the city, both celebrate the vital primitivism of the metropolis. The rivetted precision of Watsons no-note-wasted arrangements have



the same futurist refusal of soul that guided Varse in constructing his music: an eroticism of the machine. The assumed divide between high and low culture of course make such any such comparison preposterousespecially given classical musics genteel image (an image Varse cordially hated) and the assumed irrelevance of funk (feet music) to philosophy (head music). Zappas Andy, by using state-of-the-art studio technology to realize abstract sound pictures, allows us to make observations about the sounds of modernity across such social (and corporal) boundaries.

On Zoot Allures Zappa played most of the instruments himself. This gives a sense of closure which is quite claustrophobic, with no window on spontaneity or improvisation (rather like the repetitions of Ruben). However, just at the point where Zappa seemed to be asserting absolute control, he introduced a chance procedure, just as total serialism opened the door to chance as an alternative method of reaching similar-sounding results. Called re-synchronization or xenochrony, the procedure involved taking a track off a master and combining it with something entirely different. In Friendly Little Finger the guitar solo is happening in a different time-zone from its backing. In a way, this is merely a technical version of a practice common in jazz since Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman began disassociating the metres of the various players, opening up the strict bar-lines of bop; and already, because of the model of Varse, Zappa often composed via contrasting timbres rather than using the horizontal/ vertical concept of the traditional score. Still, xenochrony was new: he had to fight his own engineers to allow him to do it, and it resulted in some extraordinary music. Rubber Shirt on Sheik Yerbouti, ostensibly a bass/drum duet, had a complex provenance. The sleevenote ran:
The bass part is extracted from a four track master which I had Patrick OHearn overdub on a medium tempo guitar solo track in 4/4. The notes chosen were more or less specified during the overdub session, and so it was not completely an improvised bass solo. The bass track was peeled off the master and transferred to one track of another studio 24 track master for a slow song in 11/4. the result of this experimental re-synchronization is the piece you are listening to. All the sensitive, interesting interplay between the bass and drums never actually happened.

The spacious, delayed metrical scheme of xenochrony became a regular feature of Zappas musicall but one of the guitar solos on Joes Garage are presented in this way Zappa would replicate the liberties of xenochrony in his live playing, taking off on extended sequences that played to other rhythms. On the album Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar Zappa is asked to identify your last port of entry, space wanderer (Canarsie). However, this was not like free jazz, which generates its own shapes in process; there was always a point where the musicians sought to resolve their metresmore or less successfully As in Cage, chance is a vehicle for objectivity. The epic guitar solo on Sheik Yerboutis Yo Mama three separate solos conjoined and xenochronously laid over alien backing tracks, with tumultous keyboard overdubs welding the outrageous events togetherhas the gigantic impersonality that characterizes the major works of the Darmstadt avantgarde.




From the point of view of recording, Sleep Dirt is one of Zappas most intriguing records. Different recording ambiences are used for different instruments in the mix, indicating how bound to realistic representation is most recording of rock, jazz and classical music. Filthy Habits begins with a feedback whine on multitracked guitars, every note redolent of Zappas touch (like any authentic blues or rock performer, his sound is instantly recognisable). A bass riff that seems to imply cavernous inevitability (but is in fact full of subtle variations) sweeps the music along with a flow like lava. A guitar solo (a curious entity when it is surrounded by guitar textures provided by Zappa himself) is sustained as an alternation between propulsive plucks and whining feedback. Zappa once said that his guitar sounded to him like a bouzouki; his modal note choices and microtonal variations here recall Transylvanian gypsy music, a combination of rock timbre (fuzz and feedback guitars) and Bartkian barbarian harmony. At the end of the solo, an electronic piano picks out the notes of the mode, making it sound like East European accordian music (these are then repeated in the other speaker, reminding the listener that this is all happening on the domestic stereo). Trills deep in the mix conjure up Bulgarian peasant dances. The music is also utterly filthy-sounding. Although it gains salaciousness from association with the sonorities of The Torture Never Stops, it also connects to a world music politics. This microtonal succulence is what the tempered system banished from western music as uncivilised. Such timbral complexity is the opposite of the C-major brightness favoured by Steve Reichs minimalism, which paradoxically claims a closer connection to the simplicities of world music than the litism of microtonal composition. Taking rock guitar out of its conventional context, linking its transgressive, untempered sound to Bartkian dissonance, Zappa places its pleasures in a critical relation to western tonality.

Zappa was alert to the special eroticism of close-miking. Flam Bay on Sleep Dirt begins with cocktail piano accompanied by double bass. The bass has been close-miked, giving every finger-click and abrasion an expressiveness that verges on parody. There is a parallel here with the close-up as theorized by Walter Benjamin.
By close-ups of its subject-matter, by focusing on the hidden details of objects familiar to us, by investigating the everyday environment with the ingenious guidance of the lens, film not only gives new insights into the necessities which rule our lives; it also supplies us with immense, undreamed-of spaces for play!Just as magnification does not simply clarify what would otherwise be unclear, but rather brings wholly new textural formations to light, so slow motion doesnt just record familiar gestures, but discovers in them the unknownWe already know in general the act of reaching for a lighter or a spoon, but we hardly know anything at all about what really goes between hand and metal, not to mention how this may change depending on our state of mind. This is where the camera comes into its own, with its ability to go up or down, to interrupt or isolate, to slow down or speed up, to close-up or pan away. We discover the optic unconscious with the camera, just as we discover the unconscious of drives with psychoanalysis. (Benjamin, 1936a, pp. 161162 (my translation); 1936b, pp. 229230)



Anyone who has watched advanced bass players like Fred Hopkins or Simon Fell will be aware of the eroticism involved with passionately innovative handling of an instrument as tall as a person. Zappas recording brings out these qualities, focusing attention on the physical act of playing rather than abstractions of pitch and metre. The swelling romanticism of Flam Bay reaches a peak only to tumble into pompous march music. Musics use as a glorification of gentility (cocktail) or power (electric guitar, fanfares) is guyed by showing that these two elements can be combined simultaneously, rather as Jeff Koons showed the harmlessness of hardcore pornography by exhibiting blow-ups of penetration shots next to gift-store effigies of poodles. By repeating the techniques of manipulation in self-immolating circumstances, advanced art seeks to break their spell.
Alienation and virtual reality

Zappa distinguished between the way 50s recordings photographed real ambient space and the touchof-a-button ambience available to a digital mixer (Zappa, 1989, pp. 1567). Zappas three-volume Joes Garage dealt with the alienation such virtual reality implies. Unlike other 60s rebelsNeil Young, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylanwho felt that their recordings should emulate the feel of live music, an element of unmediated communication in an increasingly packaged industry, Zappa accepted the alienation of commercialism whilst commenting on it. Joes Garage was built up in the studio, beginning with tunes played on a Wurlitzer, an iconically trashy 60s electronic keyboard. All the guitar solos (apart from Watermelon In Easter Hay) were xenochronous, creating a spacious, free-floating sonic universe. Posing as the Central Scrutinizer Zappa whispered an irritating between-tracks commentary down a plastic megaphone, full of bad jokes and slip-of-the-tongue. At one point he can hardly speak for mirth. Alongside this rubbishing cynicism, though, is incredible attention to minute detail; the spatial arrangement of the sounds is bravura, unique in either pop or classical electronics. Embedded in Wet T-Shirt Nite (a typically ambivalent satire on moronic Americana) is a percussion section of quite bewildering complexity. The finale is an absurd piece of semi-improvised studio self-indulgence called A Little Green Rosetta. Poised at the knife-edge between virtuosic brilliance and self-defeating degradation, Joes Garage is simultaneously a rubbish heap and an imaginative universe (like James Joyces Finnegans Wake, which mythologized itself as a midden heap picked over by a chicken/reader). An aspirant rock musician, Joe is utterly pluked by the record industry and ends up dreaming imaginary guitar solos. The modern studios ability to create illusory ambience is put in overdrive, creating an aggressive insubstantiality. Distrusting the social consequences of scientific progress the rationality that leads to musicians being reduced to imaginary guitar solos because canned music has stolen their jobsinvites a paranoid, fantasist response. Zappas use of modern studio techniques dramatizes their powers of fakery.
Musicians and machines

The dada perversity of Zappas method reached a climax with a live rendition of Brown Shoes Dont Make It (Tinsel Town Rebellion), a piece of music originally constructed via thousands of overdubs and splices. Zappa forces his musicians to internalize the jumpcuts of technology in real time. In this



he echoes one of the central themes of the avantgarde: from the Futurists, who wished to conquer the enmity that separates our human flesh from the metal of motors14, to Cyberpunk implantation of technology in the human body. Graphics on Joes Garage portrayed the daydreams of people at work (a man disinfecting a toilet thinks of a salami; an x-ray operative thinks of plucking a tiny banjo). Wilhelm Reich, too, was concerned to decipher the latent eroticism of everyday life in industrial society.
The train engine has eyes to see with and legs to run with, a mouth to consume with and discharge openings for slag, levers and other devices for making sounds. In this way the product of mechanistic technology becomes the extension of man himself.(Reich, 1933, p. 324)

Convinced that religion and fascism exploit such currents without bringing them to consciousness, Zappa seeks to show our libidinal investment in technology. Though delivered alongside vulgarities that means that few respectable musicologists will pay attention, Zappas dialectic between technology and the body (a dialectic that includes classical score/musician confrontation but also the recording/ improvisation process of Black music) provides a psychoanalysis that connects to both Wilhelm Reich and the Futurists.
Conclusion: Zappa and postmodernism

Zappa spent much of the last five years of his life editing together an immense thirteen-hour, twelvedisc series entitled You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore. It featured live recordings selected from his entire career. Overdubs were restricted to a single short track. Critics once associated with the Londonbased magazine Musics (eg Toop, 1992, p. 63) are frequently critical of no overdubs slogans on records, pointing out there is something spurious about claims to authenticity on recorded product. Once were listening to a recording, who cares how it has been produced? Isnt this merely a sentimental notion, a pretence at lack of mediation? However, as with John Heartfields photomontages, it is precisely Frank Zappas strong idea of recording as documentary that allows him to make social and political points. These moments actually happened: in the teeth of music-industry standardization, which pref ers bands to mime to DAT tapes, these musicians played and improvised in front of an audience of tens of thousands. The actuality matters. Zappas achievement was to save the notion of a critical, resistant art at a time when such an idea has become deeply unfashionable.
It becomes minimally obvious that the newer artists no longer quote the materials, the fragments and motifs, of a popular culture, as Flaubert began to do; they somehow incorporate them to the point where many of our older critical and evaluative categories (founded precisely on the radical differentiation of modernist and mass culture) no longer seem functional. (Jameson, 1991, p. 64)

Although Zappas critique of modern America does not proceed from a transcendental, superior position, neither does his art exhibit the mildness Achille Bonito-Oliva notes in postmodernisms warm


F.T.Marinettis Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature (quoted in McMillan, 1976, p. 37).



stream of referentless signifiers (Jameson, 1991, p. 175). As a boy, Zappa was fascinated by chemistry and explosives, and his musical alchemy is similarly scientific and eruptive. By respecting the social provenance of his materials (documentary recording, musicians, genres) he fashioned provocative grotesques that beg critical thought. His epic Porn Wars on Meets The Mothers Of Preventiona cut-up of senatorial voices discussing censorship of rock recordsdemonstrates that obscenity is constructed in the mind of the listener, it is not something that can be etched onto plastic. As in Dada, Zappas technical procedures always engage social issues. Schooled in R&B production-values and avantgarde composition, Zappas collage aesthetic does not repress dissonance or seek to homogenize the elements he brings together. Refusing to subscribe to any particular ideology of musical production allowed him to experiment with sound in a way that did not subordinate it to ideas. This respect for musical materialequivalent to a respect for people sounds out a protest against the triteness of both classical minimalism and radio pop: a dadaist denunciation of standardization at whatever cultural level it may be found.
Adorno, T. (1938) On The Fetish Character In Music And The Regression Of Listening. Arato, A. & Gebhard, E. editors (1978) The Essential Frankfurt School Reader Oxford: Basil Blackwell Adorno, T. (1949) The Philosophy Of Modern Music (translated by Mitchell, A. and Blomster, W., 1973) London: Sheed & Ward Adorno, T. (1962) Introduction To The Sociology Of Music (translated by Ashton, E., 1976) New York: Seabury Press Adorno, T. (1970) Aesthetic Theory (translated by Lenhardt, C., 1984) London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Attali, J. (1977) Noise (translated by Massumi, B., 1985) Manchester: MUP Benjamin, W. (1936a) Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. [The Work of Art In The Age Of Its Technical Reproducibility] Illuminationen (1977) Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Benjamin, W. (1936b) The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction Illuminations (translated by Zohn, H., 1992) London: Fontana Bloch, E. et al (1977) Aesthetics & Politics London: Verso Bloom, M. (1980) Interview with the Composer Zappa Trouser Press February Cardew, C. (1976) Wiggly Lines and Wobbly Music Studio International November-December 1976 reprinted in Battcock, G. (1978) editor Breaking the Sound Barrier New York: Dutton Colbeck, J. (1987) Zappa A Biography London: Virgin Corbett, J. (1994) Bleep This, Motherf*!#er Extended Play: Sounding Off From John Cage To Dr. Funkenstein, Durham/London: Duke University Press Gray, M. (1985) Mother! Is The Story Of Frank Zappa London/New York: Proteus Hewett, I. (1994) Fail Worse, Fail Better The Musical Times March Jameux, D. (1984) Pierre Boulez (translated by Bradshaw, S., 1991) London: Faber & Faber Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism London/New York: Verso Jones, J. (1993) Plugged in or hung up? Or Whats the Matter with Frank Zappa? Eonta, Vol. 2, No. 2, July/August (Eonta is published from 27 Alexandra Road Wimbledon London SW19 7JZ) Lenin, V. Critical Remarks on the National Question (1913) Prosveshcheniye, Nos. 10, 11, 12, Collected Works (1951) Vol. 20 Marsh, D. (1989) The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made New York: Plume McClary, S. (1991) Feminine Endings Minnesota: MUP McMillan, D. (1976) Transition 19271938. New York: George Braziller Occhiogrosso, P. (1987) Once A Catholic Boston: Houghton Mifflin Ouellette, F. (1973) Edgard Varse: A Musical Biography London: Calder & Boyars



Pachnike, P., Honnef, K. editors (1991) John Heartfield New York: Harry N Abrams Inc. Paddison, M. (1982) The Critique Criticised: Adorno and Popular Music Popular Music 2 Theory & Method Middleton, R., Horn, D. editors Cambridge: CUP Paddison, M. (1993) Adornos Aesthetics Of Music Cambridge: CUP Penman, Ian (1978) Review of Studio Tan NME 30 September Pritchett, J. (1994) The Music Of John Cage Cambridge: CUP Revill, D. (1992) The Roaring Silence: John Cage, A Life London: Bloomsbury Reich, W. (1933) The Mass Psychology Of Fascism (translated by Carfagno, V., 1970) Harmondsworth: Penguin Richter, H. (1938) The Struggle For The Film: Towards A Socially Responsible Cinema (translated by Brewster, B., 1986) Aldershot Scolar Press. Shrader, B. (1992) Live/electro-acoustic musica perspective from history and California. Contemporary Music Review Vol. 6, Part 1 Simms, D. (1991) Hes A Human Being, He Has Emotions Just Like Us Part 2 (12 January 1991) Society Pages, No. 7, September 1991 Steel, G. (1991) The Father Of Invention Listener (New Zealand) 22 April Toop, D. (1992) Review of Scott/Casswells The Magnificence Of Stereo The Wire No. 105, November 1992 Walley, D. (1972) No Commercial Potential New York: Dutton. Watson, B. (1994) Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play London: Quartet Zappa, F. (1963) Lecture at Mount St Marys College (unreleased) Zappa, F. (1971) International Times No 115 Zappa, F. with Occhiogrosso, P. (1989) The Real Frank Zappa Book New York: Poseidon

Discography of Zappa recordings referred to

Apostrophe () (1974) Bongo Fury (1975) Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970) Chungas Revenge (1970) Civilization Phaze III (1994) Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1969) Fillmore East June 1971 (1971) Freak Out (1966) Hot Rats (1969) Jazz From Hell (1986) Joes Garage Act I (1979) Joes Garage Acts II & III (1979) Lumpy Gravy (1967) Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (1985) One Size Fits All (1975) Over-Nite Sensation (1973) Roxy & Elsewhere (1974) Sheik Yerbouti (1979) Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (1982) Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar (1981) Sleep Dirt (1979) Studio Tan (1978) The Grand Wazoo (1972) The Perfect Stranger (1984)



The Yellow Shark (1993) Them Or Us (1984) Tinsel Town Rebellion (1981) 200 Motels (1971) Uncle Meat (1969) Waka/Jawaka (1972) Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970) Were Only In It For The Money (1968) You Are What You Is (1981) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1 (1988) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2 (1988) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (1989) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4 (1991) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5 (1992) You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6 (1992) Zappa In New York (1978) Zoot Allures (1976)

Those having difficulty obtaining material should contact: Rykodisc USA, Shetland Park, 27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970 or Rykodisc Europe, Linen House, Unit 3,253 Kilburn Lane, London W10 4BQ, UK.

Autonomy, Mimesis and Mechanical Reproduction in Contemporary Music

W.Luke Windsor Department of Music, City University, London, UK

The paper will discuss the use of sounds which have recognisable everyday origins within the context of the autonomous musical work. Using the methods of Adorno, the use of sounds for their readymade, mimetic force will be balanced against the eff orts of musicians to control and harness such forces to form art works. The dialectical relationship between mimesis and rationality will be shown to find fresh vigour where the importance of mimesis is noted and exploited. It will be stressed that Adornos perspective on the autonomy of the art work is left undiminished by such a process, and that such a perspective reveals new aesthetic possibilities in the techniques and technology normally associated with the formation of a monolithic and administered culture industry. KEYWORDS mimesis, Adorno, autonomy, mechanical reproduction, technology

In an earlier paper (Windsor, 1994) it was claimed that advances in the understanding of the perception and modelling of complex sound events could lead to a situation in which the mimetic aspect of a listening based approach to electroacoustic music would be recognised as being under-represented and misunderstood within music theory. The claim was also made that Adornos aesthetic theory might be of relevance here. In this paper an attempt will be made to show that the attention being paid to socalled real-world, or as I would prefer everyday, sounds and their commonplace interpretations by composers dissatisfied by more traditional models is more than just a response to the technological possibilities inherent within modern digital samplers and composition systems. Such attention represents a challenge to the dominant ideologies of reduced listening where the composer is asked to place the everyday associations of sounds within phenomenological brackets (Schaeffer, 1966; Chion, 1983), and of abstract views of timbre which attempt to reduce complex sounds to a parameter of the same kind as pitch or time (e.g. Schoenberg, 1973; Wessel, 1979; McAdams, 1994). As such it represents a valuable contribution to debate regarding the abstract, or autonomous nature of musical structure; the extrinsic significance of identifiable sound sources seems to threaten the musical works attempts to remain abstracted from its surroundings. This view of music as an autonomous form finds its apotheosis in the claims of Hanslick:



The ideas which a composer expresses are of a purely musical nature (Hanslick, 1974, p. 35)

Adorno, as another upholder of the autonomy of the art work, might seem an odd choice to form the basis for an argument which supports current attention to mimesis, the very force that threatens such autonomy. The following, written by Hanslick, could easily be mistaken for a version of Adornos views on the relationship between technique and material:
the definite beauty of musical form, as the untrammelled working of the human mind on material susceptible of intellectual manipulation. (Hanslick, 1974, p. 173)

However, as will be argued below, Adornos theories on the nature of art and its relationship to the world provide an enlightening critique of the mass incursion of everyday sounds and their ready-made significations into the fabric of musical discourse. Before attempting this critique, however, some background description of this incursion is required. A large number of composers exploit the ready-made significance of everyday sounds. Unsurprisingly, there are a huge number of ways in which this occurs. Clearly, the radically different approaches of Trevor Wishart and Luc Ferrari cannot be reduced to their similarities merely through concentrating upon their reproduction of familiar sounds. Moreover, the number and variety of documentary justifications for exploiting or attending to the extrinsic qualities of sound objects makes any simplistic identification of a movement naive. Wishart and Smalley both regard the view of timbre as a musical parameter with disdain, and their views upon the role of extrinsic reference or mimesis are despite remarkable similarities different in important ways. For Wishart, such extrinsic reference is fully compatible with more intrinsically motivated structuring processes, indeed the two may be bound together inextricably:
I decided to attempt to set up a sonic architecture based on the relationship between the sound-images themselves which would remain compatible with my feelings about musical structure (Wishart, 1986, p. 55)

Smalley, similarly regards abstract and concrete aspects of sound as unavoidably linked:
The power of a concrete sound-image to portray things, events or psychological circumstances, rests not just on the immediacy of the images themselves but on how the sounds are constructed and combinedtheir spectro-morphologyand that involves using reduced listening to investigate the more abstract dimension. (Smalley, 1986, p. 64)

However, the relish and directness with which Wishart uses familiar sounds in his tape piece Red Bird cannot be mistaken for Smalleys avoidance of conventional associations between sound and the world. For Wishart, the specific everyday origins of sounds and their conventional meanings can be integrated into works in a combination of narrative and abstract transf ormation; for Smalley, such narrative means are eschewed, focusing upon the way in which sounds betray typologies of origin. Such a concern



with integrating everyday sounds within a more traditional conception of musical structure must also be contrasted with the perspectives of composers who see their work in broader narrative terms. Writing on the practice of tape music composers who employ realworld sounds, Norman offers the following starting point for an alternative discourse:
Id like to abandon musical analogies and offer oral storytelling as a newor rather, a very old model for performance (Norman, 1994, p. 104)

Within this context, the notion of combining musical and narrative devices is a side-show; the tape piece provides possibilities which need not be developed from a musical perspective at all. In contrast to all these views, the proliferation of the digital sampler, in combination with a huge repository of musical recordings broaches a new concern. Our familiarity with a wide variety of music allows the sampling of other peoples recordings to form an aesthetic which is based upon the reproduction of the familiar, yet threatens the sanctity of copyright and organic form. The plundering of such resources as the material for new compositions crosses boundaries between high and low art (if such things are still meaningful) and fragments existing musics to create new works. Moreover, the similarities between the early experiments in musique concrte using turntables and the practices of the club DJ, between the derivation of material from the everyday world in current dance music and electroacoustic music, seem to point towards a technological and technical homogeneity that is in stark contrast with the heterogeneity of western musical culture. For Adorno, the ability of the art work to separate itself from social forces through its autonomous, even monadic character is of central importance to aesthetics. The development of a culture industry, in which art works become commodities whose possession and exchange are definitive, and the related increase in the immediacy of cultural artefacts, necessary for their status as mere gratification (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1973, pp. 120167), deny such autonomy. The threat to the autonomy of the art work presented by the technology of mass production and the psycho-technology (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1973, p. 163) of the gratifyingly familiar is more than just an attack on the art work itself. Such techniques reduce the art work to a socially defined and defining role, rather than a critique of society. The art work, through its loss of autonomy, becomes complicit in the economic coercion that is seen to characterise society (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1973, p. 167). This context would suggest that the interest in mimesis currently exhibited by musicians, and the reliance upon technology to this end, would be anathema to an Adornian critique. Such reliance upon immediacy, familiarity and technology are the methods of the culture industry. Moreover, the ubiquity of such means across the supposed boundaries between high and low art, or between commercial and cultural interests, again suggests a collapse of distinctions necessary for the production of autonomous works, reminiscent of the conflation of culture and advertising seen by Adorno and Horkheimer (1973) as a primary symptom of the growth of culture as commodity. Paddison suggests that:
the effects of the cultural pluralism and relativism which have come to characterize the period since the 1950s, and the new simplicity and accessibility which have become such a feature of the music of the later part of the twentieth century, can also be interpreted in terms of Adornos theory. From Adornos perspective, such developments could be seen only as regressive, the reversion of the elements of musical material to their pre-rational, pre-autonomous condition.



(Paddison, 1991: p. 279)

However, through applying Adornos methods anew, this regressive interpretation of contemporary musical culture can be found to find a redemptive complement in the attempts of musicians to grapple with the relationship between materials provided by the real world and their presentation as elements within musical works. Adorno was no Luddite in his attitude to technology (Levin, 1990: p. 24) and his dialectical approach to the musical work may provide a far less threatening understanding of mimesis than generally acknowledged. In order to show this, however, it is necessary to outline Adornos conception of the dialectical nature of aesthetics.
Mimesis and Rationality

Central to Adornos view of aesthetics (e.g. Adorno, 1984) is the dialectic between mimesis and rationality; between the representation of reality and the abstract techniques though which such reality is mediated within the art work. Art, therefore provides an image of enlightenment: just as our rational endeavours provide us with means to exploit and control our surroundings (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1973), the artist is engaged in domination of his or her material. This image, for Adorno, contains redemptive possibilities, in that a particular art work may present a monadic, autonomous artefact which cannot be reduced to, or exchanged with another. Such an art work requires individual contemplation, and through such contemplation the relationship between mimesis and rationality within that work provides an instance where domination is divorced from its everyday consequences. For Adorno, individual art works may provide the only version of our rationality which refuses to engage with the world in a direct manner; an engagement which in normal circumstances has lead to an alienation from both nature and our fellow human beings:
Men pay for the increase of their power with alienation from that over which they exercise that power. Enlightenment behaves towards things as a dictator towards men. (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1973, p. 9)

Adornos view of mimesis, as Paddison (1991) notes, is anthropological. Mimesis is not merely the representation of nature. Instead, mimesis is that which precedes rationality, a state in which primitive man establishes power over things by imitation (Paddison, 1991, p. 272). This view is made explicit in the critical reading of the Odysseus myth provided by Horkheimer and Adorno (1973, pp. 4380). In broader, aesthetic terms, this view of mimesis as a totemistic, shamanistic process leads Adorno to associate mimesis with primitive art This view of mimesis as a primitive, or pre-rational process is contrasted with the rational domination of things which demands objectivity, rather than shamanistic identification with objects. Adornos aesthetic, in as much as it presents art works as the products of enlightened rationality, consistently implies the dialectical relationship of these primitive and enlightened forces.
Material and Technique

Eschewing what he calls the philistine distinction between form and content, the reasons for which are beyond the concern of this essay, Adorno introduces the notions of material (Adorno, 1984,



p. 213) and technique (Adorno, 1984, p. 303). These two notions and their dialectical relationship mirror the relationship between mimesis and rationality. Adorno describes material thus:
Materialis the stuff the artist controls and manipulates: words, colours, soundsall the way up to connections of any kind and to the highly developed methods of integration he might use. Material, then, is all that the artist is confronted by, all that he must make a decision about, and that includes forms as well, for forms too can become materials. (Adorno, 1984, p. 213)

Here Adorno unifies form and content; for a composer, a stylistic convention, a form is as much material as a particular instrumental sound. Technique, on the other hand can be described as the mastery of materials (Adorno, 1984, p. 303); technique is the skill with which the artist controls and manipulates his or her materials. For Adorno, material and technique exist in a dialectical, rather than dichotomous relationship (Adorno, 1984, p. 213; p. 304). Just as techniques determine the way in which materials are mediated by the art work, so material itself determines the tecniques which are appropriate. Adorno states of material:
Unreflective artists believe that they can choose materials as they please. This is of course completely wrong. There are inescapable constraints built into materials, constraints that change with the specific character of the material and which determine the evolution of methods. The state of the material largely also determines innovative expansion into unknown areas. (Adorno, 1984, p. 213)

Similarly, despite the constraints provided by material the development of technique is a growth of freedom and of conscious discretionary power over means (Adorno, 1984, p. 303). The dialectic of material and technique is that of mimesis and rationality; mimesis being the domain of the preexistent; rationality that of the enlightened conscious agent. One should not, however, mistake mimesis for the representation of nature; material in art is already contingent upon previous technical developments and is formed by such means:
Material is always historical, never naturalMaterials are just as dependant upon technical changes as technique is on materials worked upon by it. Clearly, the composer who works with tonal material takes it over from tradition. (Adorno, 1984, p. 214)

This interdependence of material and technique motivates Adornos attitudes to many compositional practices. His assessment of Schoenbergs adoption of atonal and then serial practices (Adorno, 1973) rests upon the notion that Schoenbergs material, that of late tonality, demanded new techniques. That these techniques generated a new body of material for composers such as Boulez and Stockhausen, that of serial technique, shows the peculiar way in which material and technique are dynamically entwined. This view of the relationship between material and technique, where mimesis is contained to preexisting musical artefacts can be interpreted as being the defining principle of the autonomous work. A



musical work retains autonomy from the world through its mediation of musical forms which are already mediate and autonomous. It is this which prevents the fetishistic and regressive nature of mimesis from threatening the works monadic isolation, whilst maintaining a connection with social forces through its reproduction of enlightened domination:
It is the dynamic and oppositional relationship to received formal norms within the structure of the musical work which enables the work to speak. At the same time, however, the received norms, as musical material, also carry with them the meanings associated with their previous functionality Thus, music is meaningful and language-like to the extent that this received, preformed musical content, already socially mediated, is recontextualised within the form and structure of the individual work, This process also serves to distance the material from its previous functionality, without, however, being able to destroy its associative residues. (Paddison, 1991, p. 278)

However, to suggest that the autonomy of the musical work relies upon this alone would be incorrect. It is not just the mediate nature of musical material that ensures the works distance from its previous functionality. Rather it is the process of mediation itself that provides such distance (Paddison, 1991). A more traditional view of mimesis as representation of reality can find a place in this formulation. Indeed, as will be argued below, the present state of musical material and its relationship to technique can be shown to demand closer attention to this primitive force and to the technical means by which it may be mediated.
Expanding Mimesis

In Aesthetic Theory, Adorno proposes that it is fallacious to propose that material can escape from its historical nature. Even when composers ruthlessly extinguish all traces of tradition by working with autonomous material purged entirely of phenomena like consonance/dissonance, triad, diatonicism, etc (Adorno, 1984, p. 214) material remains bound up in history by virtue of its concrete negation of that history Merely by adopting non-traditional material, the musician affirms the historical nature of material, whether this is intentional or not. One can view Schaeffers desire for a new language of music derived from the process of reduced listening (Schaeffer, 1966) as an attempt to extinguish tradition, the tradition of notational reification, of serialism, as indeed Schaeffer himself viewed his theoretical and practical experiments (Chion, 1983, p. 40). This view of material is as historically mediate as that of any composer attempting to develop the Viennese tradition; material in such an approach as Schaeffers is bound up in the history of music by its very negation of historical linearity. Indeed it is pertinent to note that both the serial and acousmatic views of material originate in such apparent negations of tradition. Similarly, these apparent negations have lead to the construction of bodies of theory that lead one to talk of the serial or acousmatic traditions. The usage of sounds for their everyday significance provides material that has a history, but one that is not necessarily musical. Any sound has a history in the Adornian sense, due to our familiarity with its significations, just as traditional materials cannot hope to avoid their musical history. However, the relationship between material and technique is potentially of a different nature in the former case. Here, material has the potential for radical dislocation from the matrix of musical history, to be immediate rather than mediate. The world of everyday perception intrudes into the fabric of musical discourse. If,



like Adorno, one wishes to speak here of the dialectic of mimesis and rationality, more specif ically of material and construction, these changes in the nature of material are far from trivial. Rather than the enlightened domination of musical material, a historically mediate construct, electroacoustic composition has the potential for working upon auditory information for the raw, directly perceivable environment, upon the sounds of everyday events (Windsor, 1994). In this sense, utilisation of such sounds may seem closer to the magical or primitive art defined by Adorno as pre-rational and unenlightened in its mimetic force-majeure (See Horkheimer & Adorno, 1973). However, it is far from the primitive art described by Adorno in that such material is subject to the rational domination, the technical articulation, that exemplifies enlightened artistic endeavour. The stuff of our everyday perceptions is dominated by every available technical means. As such the dialectic of mimesis and rationality is presented in its starkest form. Reality is subjected to manipulation, rather then the acculturated residue of reality that forms the material of instrumental and vocal composers. Nevertheless, despite the mediation of reality that occurs when identifiable sounds become material subject to manipulation, their immediacy does defy the autonomy of the art work. Through choosing a broader definition of mimesis the musician implicitly or explicitly acknowledges the narrative and gestural qualities of sounds that are distanced through the mediate nature of conventional musical materials. What does this broader view of material lead one to say of the dialectic between autonomy and social commentary? It is suggested here that the obsessive technical domination of sound may be the strongest exemplar of the force field that lies between the social and autonomous in art. The dialectic of material and construction is here at once a mirror-image of enlightened barbarity towards things as they are and of this barbaritys negation in its avoidance of direct involvement in the social sphere. The musician, rather than directly manipulating the world, manipulates and represents its recorded image in a new form. In the classical music concrete studio recorded tape is cut and spliced and the environment is left unblemished, yet the image of this razor-blade attitude towards the environment remains. Simultaneously, material laden with immediate value is brought into the autonomous sphere by its removal from the everyday. In order to understand the historical context within which such un-mediate forces usurp conventional musical material it is necessary to return to Adornos own writings upon the avant-garde of the 1950s and the development of electronic music. Despite the potential for techniques to become materials through their historical sedimentation, Adorno stresses that a conflation of material and technique, a situation in which the composer blindly follows particular procedures, leads to stagnation and aesthetic impotence. It is in the non-identity of material and technique that aesthetic possibilities are held. Adornos views upon integral serialism concentrate upon the way in which the blind application of serial procedures can become an end in itself; a work becomes validated by its correctness rather than its balance between material and technique. In a number of articles which discuss the increasingly technical nature of music in the 1950s and the aging of the avantgarde, its becoming a static, monolithic tradition, Adorno constantly stresses the need for composers to be critical of their materials, whether they may be serial techniques or electronic media (Adorno, 1977a & b; 1988). This form of critique ensures that what Adorno prizes most highly, the immanent structures of individual works, contain within them both a knowledge of the implications of their materials and a technical mastery that is based upon the individual struggle of the artist against all that is seemingly pre-ordained by those implications.



At first acquaintance, Adorno seems to associate electronic music with reified consciousness: just as the new music is seen as becoming static and inhuman, almost an industrial practice, the same criticism is levelled at electronic music:
Hyper-modernism, including much of electronic music, prefers to join forces with reified consciousness rather than stay on the side of an ideology of illusory humanness. Dissonance thus congeals into an indifferent material, a new kind of immediacy without memory trace of the past, without feeling, without an essence. (Adorno, 1984, p. 22)

Just as atonal music loses the shock of dissonance in its development into serialism, so electronic music attempts to make up for the mechanisation of music implied by integral serialism by further mechanisation. Adorno also notes the dangers of turning electronic music into a pseudo-science (Adorno, 1984, p. 463); such a tendency would imply a similarly inappropriate validation of artistic methods and results as that of the technical correctness he criticises in the avant-garde. However, his criticisms of electronic music are just that, criticisms of electronic music. There are aspects of the technology involved in the production of electronic music that are to be viewed with cautious enthusiasm. Despite his belief that electronic music can accentuate the hyper-rational within music, Adorno argues that the technology of electronic music itself may form the basis for maintaining the dialectical relationship between the mastery of the composer and the demands of material (Adorno, 1977a). This argument, however, betrays a broader views of mimesis. He suggests that the tensions in the art work between technique and material, lost through the dominance of fixed and objective compositional techniques, can be regained through the replacement of the fragmentational forces of dissonance by using reference to the technologized world. Adorno here makes reference to Edgar Varse, whose work
bears witness to the possibility of musically mastering the experience of a technologized world without resource to arts and crafts or to a blind faith in the scientization of art. Varse, an engineer who in fact really knows something about technology, has imported technological elements into his compositions, not in order to make them some kind of childish science, but to make room for the expression of just those kinds of tension that the aged New Music forfeits. He uses technology for effects of panic that go far beyond run of the mill musical resources. (Adorno, 1988, p. 109; emphasis added)

Adorno here suggests not only that run of the mill musical resources may no longer be sufficient to create tension within the work, but also that it is the more conventional reading of the term mimesis that is at work. Reference here to technology is seen as direct and a force outside of the dominant musical tradition is called upon to restore aesthetic values. Despite Adornos conflicting concern with maintaining the mediate nature of material, shown in his concern that electronic music should fulfil a historical necessity (e.g. Adorno, 1977a, p. 138), it is clear that he was aware of the challenges to such musical material inherent within its self-referentiality. It is in this sense that the threat of mimesis to autonomy must be balanced against the collapse of musical material into impotence. Far from being merely regressive, the enrichment of musical material can be viewed as a response to hyper-modernism that is quite in keeping with Adornian critique.



Technology and the Musical Work: From Reproduction to Transformation

The phonograph, being one of the primary means by which culture becomes industrialised, would seem to demand Adornos full polemic wrath. However, just as the technology of electronic music is only one aspect of its aesthetic status, phonographic technology itself is not the only issue here. Although the development of the recording industry facilitates mass production and distribution of art works and their subsequent reification as objects of exchange, the technology in question can also be seen as providing the means for combating such tendencies. Moreover, Adorno, despite his mistrust of mimesis, presents a view of the phonograph which is strangely constructive, rather than merely reproductive (Adorno, 1990a, b & c; Levin, 1990). This tendency, although far from explicitly calling for use of the phonograph as a musical instrument, suggests that as for film, where montage provides the means for escaping from unmediated mimesis (Adorno, 1981/2), it may be through montage techniques that the aesthetic value of the phonograph will be found (Levin, 1990). In his essay Opera and the Long-Playing Record, (Adorno, 1990c) as Levin (1990) correctly notes, use of the LP as the means for a montage-based listening technique is advocated. The possibility of repeated and fragmentary listening is represented as a method for avoiding the neutralization of operatic works through their museum-like captivity in the opera-house (Adorno, 1990c). Levin (1990), in interpreting this approach as being parallel to Adornos view of cinematic montage (see Adorno, 1981/82), fails however to note the significantly different natures of montage in these two domains. Whereas the events that make up a film montage may be from any source, and hence run the risk of being mimetic in a traditional sense, the results of such a broad mimesis are not foreseen for music. Although Adorno claims that
The gramophone record becomes a form the moment it unintentionally approaches the requisite state of a compositional form (Adorno, 1990c, p. 65)

there is no discussion here of the consequences of presenting a montage of recordings of one or many works as a composition. Neither does Adorno give us any clue here as to the consequences of producing montages of so-called real-world, or everyday sounds. What is important here, is that Adorno hints at the redeeming quality of recording technology, that it not only translates what is recorded into an item of exchange, but also provides a means for transf ormation. Through the fragmentation and repetition of a recording it is possible to transf orm a static and potentially lifeless artefact into a compositional and inherently critical form. Presenting such a montage as a composition, as an autonomous work is no more contradictory than the mediation of traditional musical materials in Adornos conception of music. Moreover, taking into account the added transformational possibilities afforded by both analog and digital processing of sounds, technique as the mastery of materials (Adorno, 1984: p. 303) need not focus upon the recording in a one dimensional fashion. The musician may create a narrative structure, based upon the immediate force of sounds everyday references, or focus upon the gestural qualities of sounds, but such mimetic approaches may be seamlessly combined with attention to the abstract, timbral connections between sounds. The technical aspect of the work becomes necessarily responsive to such decisions. Whether a composer wishes to acknowledge the direct significance of a recorded sound or not, such significance is at issue. Indeed, by avoiding recognisable sounds in the finished work, a musician silently acknowledges such sounds



force. Moreover, by acknowledging and responding to this force, the musician does not become a primitive. By exploring their given gestural and narrative potential the critical nature of autonomous art is at work. The ubiquity of recorded music and sound finds its critical counterpart in such processes. Adorno apocalyptically describes recordings as:
The black seals on the missives that are rushing towards us from all sides in the traffic with technology; missives whose formulations capture the sounds of creation, the first and last sounds, judgement upon life and message about that which may come thereafter (Adorno, 1990b, p. 61)

Through the critical process of transformation, the creative supplement to such a reification of sounds brought about by recording technology is to be found. Just as the broadening of mimesis is at once a threat to the critical distance between musical work and reality and a reinvigoration of this distances potency, the technology of recording provides its own critique in its adoption as a creative potential. Despite the explicitly technological bent of the previous discussion of transformation, it would be ignore its wider technical implications. Critical responses to the processes of recording and mass production of music are not only to be found where musicians exploit these processes themselves. Although the technical processes aff orded by digital sampling, the creative use of turntables, and the analog studio clearly show the role of technology as providing the means to criticise itself, related technical developments can be observed in all kinds of music. Although quotation and montage have a long history in western musical culture, reaching an extreme in works such as the third movement of Berios Sinfonia, the obsession with such techniques has become a defining characteristic of contemporary musical culture. The savage version of postmodern plurality presented by John Zorn through the sudden juxtaposition of stylistically unrelated musics in an improvised setting is a much a comment upon the levelling nature of the recording industry as it is a response to intra-musical demands. Only through such anti-contextual techniques can one appreciate the differences between elements of musical material garnered from what Paddison refers to as the cultural scrap-heap (1991, p. 279). Integrating references to a plurality of musics within a piece merely reproduces the deadening nature of the recording industry, where recordings are reduced to their exchange value alone; through refusing such integration the material takes on more than just its face value and becomes a critique of the self-sameness that threatens to associate plurality with identity. Similarly, the widespread practice of sampling in popular music is more than just a labour-saving tactic. The challenges to the ownership and financial value of material within the recycling and recontextualising of fragments that are regarded as representing valuable commodities again seem to strike at the culture industry from within. This is far more than just theft in the sense that bootleg recordings enable one to possess music without paying for it. If this were so, loss of revenue would be the main industrial fear. Here, however, it is the ownership of material itself that is at issue; it is difficult to argue that a sampled fragment from a record can be bought and sold in the same way that a complete bootleg could be. The originator of the sampled material invests time and effort and money that are stolen through sampling; and where samples are used by permission the ownership of the original material is just as fundamental a concern. It seems that musicians often forget the historically mediate nature of their own sources. The exploitation and appropriation of material does not require a sampler; this process is well known within jazz through the creation of new standards from the framework



of an older tunes. Musicians continually steal from one another; the difference here is that rather than merely copying, developing or arranging old material, the musician with a sampler may combine such materials in such a way as to ignore their traditional usage entirely. Samples may be used to refer to styles of music in a fetishistic manner, but such reference simultaneously reflects the moribund nature of recorded music, and as such should not be seen as merely invoking the ghosts of conventional musicians, but as part of a broader, critical phenomenon. Of course, such critique depends upon the manner in which sampling is employed, and it is not my intention to present the use of samples as a panacea. The practice of sampling is both symptomatic of the technological nature of contemporary music and potentially critical of the commodification of music; as such one would be wrong to ignore the primary area in which it occurs, that of popular music.

Ultimately, these arguments reflect a decision to approach the role of mimesis within the boundaries of the autonomous work. Whether such autonomy is necessary or desirable as more than a didactic device is largely beyond the scope of this paper. However, what it has attempted to show is that the opening of the musical work to the real-world sounds that surround it, indeed exploiting these sounds for their immediacy, is compatible with Adornos vision of autonomy. Far from being a submission to the primitive forces of mimesis and the industrialisation of culture, such processes can be seen to form a response to the peculiarities of the technological society which we inhabit. More than this they offer a potential for the redemptive nature of art to survive through the critical responses of artists to the state of musical material. Moreover, just as Adornos views on the phonograph cannot simply be located at one end of a facile high-low continuum (Levin, 1990, p. 47) the critique of technological society implicit within the use of mechanical reproduction as a creative force is of concern and relevance across the musical spectrum.

Acknowledgements are due to Eric Clarke, of Sheffield University, for his continued support and advice, and to students and colleagues at City University whose interpretations of Adorno helped in any way. This paper is derived from research supported by a major state studentship from the British Academy.
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Music in the Chords of Eternity

Alistair M.Riddell Department of Music, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

Over the past decade contemporary music has increasingly employed the sounds of the world as an alternative or adjunct to the extant repertoire of musical sounds. What this means for music is an expansion into a relatively new language domain; one with familiar associations, but distant from the notion of music. The underlying mode of this compositional process concerns the exploitation of meaning in the sounds of contemporary life, and its use is already wide spread throughout numerous contemporary styles and genres. The catalyst for this musical direction is technology. Without its diversity and dynamic growth such a direction in music would not be possible. The most challenging examples can be found where music technology is at its most experimental. The influence of technology is, however, by no means clear. Thus, compositions which use or re-interpret the sounds of the world are not necessarily in the process of defining a new aesthetic or style, rather they are continuing the cultural dynamic of later twentieth century music. KEYWORDS Real-World Sound, Noise, Recording, Signal Processing, Music Technology.

and listen to the sounds of the day as though they were chords of eternity.1 When I encountered the above quotation beneath the title of Adornos essay portrait of Walter Benjamin, I was struck by the perspective given to that which, on initial reflection, appears nothing more than mundane and persistent. But here, in this wisp of text, lies an intriguing suggestion; to listen, assimilate, connect and sense a temporal continuity throughwhat is commonly understood as noisethe sounds of the day. Certainly, it is but a fragmentary and vague enticement to make an auditory summation of a moment then think of it as a Music; to halt and encapsulate, in an idea and emotion, the relentless flow of time, with its instances of noise as tributaries of accruing and dissolving references and implications. Yet, the essential invitation of the text is to imagine precisely that; to bestow on the collective concept, noise, the character of a music and its apprehended influence over time, thus empowering the sounds of the day with the capacity to transcend their physical identity, reality and significance.

Karl Kraus quote found in Adornos A Portrait of Walter Benjamin in Prisms.



The quotation was also something of a surprise. The serendipity of happening upon a string of words that resonated with my current musical thoughts seemed more than fortuitous, and somehow auspicious. The importance and, indeed, the implications that this quotation appeared to herald for me were at once unmistakable, yet only vaguely comprehensible. Could it be a poetic legitimation and a presage of some musical direction that would take as its material foundation the sonic manifestations of the world? Or is it simply another literary illusion; one which entices thought on the musical worth of the sounds of life but ultimately leads to a conceptual nebula, devoid of substance? Certainly the text, through its immediate effect on the imaginationa very romantic one at thatis only alluding to relations between the noise of reality, music and eternity. Yet it is a singularly effective metaphor, one which makes no direct claims to the musicality of noise but hints, through a solitary musical reference, at a similar power to engage the listener. If by chords some ordered succession of related sonic structures is implied, then the sounds of the day could be interpreted as a new sonic language, one resonant with our contemporary existence and necessitating special interpretation. This essay endeavors to seek out contexts in which such a view of real-world sound intersects with the concept of music and considers the nature of that grey area between music and noise. Exactly why the sounds of the day should be so readily absorbed into contemporary music, is difficult to explain without considering some cultural perspectives. These perspectives can range far and wide but one might begin by citing the availability of recording technology and computer processing functionality. However, that would not account for an aesthetic stance, but simply the means to transact noise as material. Video culture might also be seen as having a profound influence on contemporary recorded music and to be sure, there are many questions that could be raised regarding the symbiosis or dependencies that have sprung up between music and image dating back to Skryabin and Kandinsky. The transfiguration of noise into music and music into noise is now such a familiar process to us that we are not perturbed by the process. In its most powerful and abused forms in recorded music, certain popular music forms can affect an artificial moment, a unique type of presence. When that moment has been worked in with the music, incongruities between the music and the presence can be made to evoke a sense of spontaneity or create a unique instance with the character of reality. Presence represents that essential contemporary experience of being there. That extrinsic property which surrounds the listener at the site of the original action. This is different again from the aura of the artist or the performance action itself. Instead an element of the sound symbolizes a collective consciousness surrounding the event itself. The notion of presence is gaining critical acceptance with non-real-time composition; as a music not primarily dependent on reinterpretation. In other words, what we now think of as Media works; those works created for a medium capable of repeated play back and duplication. So it is that recorded sounds of the world inspire a new kind of presence, the presence of the were there, later kind because we cant all be there at the real moment and besides, what is the real moment? We can however, through a commitment to the recording, act as secondary witnesses, invoking a corollary which magnifies the significance of an event that once occupied a tiny fragment of real-time. One need only think of the recorded legacy of Woodstock, that legendary music festival of 1969, to get an idea of how magnified and intense an event can become and that through the influence of the recordings, people can be inspired to reconstruct the event twenty-five years on.



In his essay, The Photographic Activities of Postmodernism, Douglas Crimp reflects on the idea of a recorded presence; something comparable to the original event but a unique form of presence only experienced through the photographic medium itself. What I think Crimp is attempting to describe, is a situation primarily sought after by composers who use real-world sound.
I wrote at that time that the aesthetic mode that was exemplary during the seventies was performance, all those works that were constituted in a specific situation and for a specific duration; works for which it could be said literally that you had to be there; works, that is, which assumed the presence of a spectator in front of the work as the work took place, thereby privileging the spectator instead of the artist. [] What I wanted to explain was how to get from this condition of presencethe being there necessitated by perf ormanceto that kind of presence that is possible only through the absence that we know to be the condition of representation. (Crimp, 1991, pp. 1723)

Initially we could identify a recording of the sounds of the day within another recording as a unique trace element. This situation has not been officially recognized or widely discussed as functional or desirable because it is not a consistently favorable property. In a live recording, something like audience ambience serves to authenticate the recording, adding an illusive sparkle to music which might otherwise be simply pedestrian. Noise, as a non-musical sonic component to the recording, is an aura that can generates a sense of dj vu for a musical subject. By adding the noise of the world selectively, subtlelythe music is given a contemporary countenance. While it remains in the realm of the unspoken, noise retains its vitality, its contemporaneity. It does not become a history unless one takes into account the totality of the recording. Thus binding the sounds of the real world to music ensures, not exactly a newness of musical material but a contemporaneity. This is not the new in the sense that we once understood it to mean in music but the alternative when new has lost its significance and relevance. We readily identify noise as functioning in art works of the recent technological past, for example, popular dance music styles like Hip Hop, Techno, House and Ambient. Probably since the second world war, ambient sounds have had an expressive quality, which reflects the actions of our daily lives and those of nature. We understand these actions as recurring forces which generally mould the schema of our perception of the world. Not only is it just noise, then that emanates from the instantaneity of life but, perhaps more importantly, a sense of order and rate which help keep us tuned to the moment. We understand the traditional role of music as something which allows us to contemplate this rhythm. We are only just beginning to appreciate that much of the power and moment of contemporary music is now derived from the sonic landscape of contemporary society. Our society, unlike previous societies, is filled with complex noises that need explication. The sound of the street is a now common expression and sonic playground for youth culture because the street lifestyle is powerful and dynamic. Aspects of contemporary music have recognised the need to imitate and reflect the streets energy and chaos. For those of us who cannot always experience first-hand the sounds of the world, the musical material itself is becoming convenientlyone might say almost pathologicallylaid out for us in our local record store; a functional taxonomy of music.



This is evidence of the powerful and ubiquitous aesthetic of the consumer, an altogether new dynamic structure from that of the aesthetic of the producer which has more or less been in place in western culture to this time. This consumer dynamic is radically altering the productive agenda of the arts. What the consumer wants or can be soldthe commercial packageis now of critical and primary concern to the producer. It has become an objective so specifically catered to, promulgated in such volume and at such a rate, that it far and away exceeds anything in the previous historical settings of bourgeois society. The effect within the arts community has been to polarize views of the place and role of art (it is either dead or has never been more alive). Whatever this reflects about societynow and in the immediate futureit has already ignited serious discussion and criticism. Significant criticism has been levelled at the evaluation of contemporary art, more specifically the down grading and re-historization of terms and events within certain areas:
But capitalism inherently possesses the power to derealize familiar objects, social roles, and institutions to such a degree that the so-called realistic representations can no longer evoke reality except as nostalgia or mockery, as an occasion for suffering rather than for satisfaction. Classicism seems to be ruled out in a world in which reality is so destabilized that it offers no occasion for experience but one for ratings and experimentation. (Lyotard, 1984, p. 74)

Lyotard continues:
But this realism of the anything goes is in fact that of money; in the absence of aesthetic criteria, it remains possible and useful to assess the value of works of art according to the profits they yield. Such realism accommodates all tendencies, just as capital accommodates all needs, providing that the tendencies and needs have purchasing power. (Lyotard, 1984, p. 76)

While in appearance such considerations present a negative and unemancipated2 image of contemporary culture and art, it has to be acknowledged that the context in which they appear is unique. There is no longer a single direction from which the current state of artart identified on a large scalecan proceed, given what is understood about the current state of art. Aesthetic issues have become extremely personal and self-contained. Of course, that depends on what the terms art and aesthetics encompass. However, in the course of history it may transpire that this dilemma (a state perceived by many with anxiety) is exactly that which engenders a significant epoch; for the constellation of cultural activities are simultaneously creating and dissolving conditions conducive to change. For example, a change away from the current obsession with re-interpreting the recent past raking over the historical ground of the modernist project where Science fiction and nostalgia have become the same thing.3

2 3

Bound to the dynamic of the marketplace as yet another commodity. T.Bone Burnett quoted in Andrew Goodwins article, Sample and hold: pop music in the digital age of reproduction.



MusicToken of the Imagination

Moving away from the economic conditions of art to the presentation of music, we arrive at an inevitable observation: that, to anyone attuned to the same input as societys ears, it appears that music needs to be as diverse and as available as possible. There is a sense in which music of any perceived social interest must be immediately and vigorously brought to the publics attention. Any hint of scarcity must be exposed and the situation remedied under the mandate of public demand (consumer demand) wherever possible. Thus it seems that there is an enormous pressure on music to function or affect; to work for and on society as it works on an individuals consciousness. Everyone is affected by a music of some particular style and form: locked under the influence of music, in private listening realities or listening through Walkmans while journeying around the neighborhood, the world tends to appear an altered place. Music supports and fosters any type of reality perception an individual wishes to entertain, and her imagery of the real world appears to be adjusted accordingly. For those many people whose lives resound with music while they work, has not music become a personal simulacrum of activity and life? This kind of musical experience seems to go beyond what Habermas calls the satisfaction of residual needs, that is, those needs submerged by the life praxis of bourgeois society (Burger 4748), and into some realm of personal survival or engagement on a conceptual level in which the mediation of reality by an injection of music makes daily existence a more tenable prospect. Thus, the mix of recorded music and the noise of life, in situ, may be now not so much a radical act but simultaneously, an essential and banal one. Increasingly, we hear music mingling on the street with every native diurnal vociferance, as if in harmony with one another. There is a call and response, in effect, between much pervasive popular musics and the urban landscape, resulting in a transformation of place. Those often bleak environmentsurban and urban/ industrial ghettoesinto which music is projected, can take on the character of a stage prop, fantasy land or some other place of more private symbolic signif icance rather than a social mistake. Alas, it is no longer the same street atmosphere that inclined Stravinsky to compose his Etude for Pianola, Opus 7, in which he musically reminisces on his first hand experiences of Madrids musical street life during a visit in 1916.4 But nevertheless, there is a sense of historical perspective in attempting to compose out the music in everyday sounds. Today, it is not only the trans-reality pedestrian with Walkman who experiences a sensorial mix of sound and place; music itself is of ten literally transported around, pounding the roadway like some giant ethereal steamroller, apparently hammering and riveting this or that loose and imperceptible social unit back into place. Curiously, what is rarely appreciated from the external perspective, is how it really sounds to the person playing the music. So much of the fidelity is lost or distorted as the sound passes through the body of the vehicle and the vehicle itself passes down the road. The music is decomposed and becomes the new voice of the machine. One might conclude, that the music functions on two aesthetic levels; one that is for the enjoyment of the person playing the recording and the other as a kind of statement to the external listener. It might also be fair to say that in one instance it is being used by the person playing the music as a stimulant, a courage or fantasy builder and in the other, as a

The whimsicalities of the unexpected melodies of the mechanical pianos and rattletrap orchestrinas of the Madrid streets and the little night taverns served as theme for this piece, which I wrote expressly for the pianola. Igor Stravinsky. 1936. Chronicle of My Life. London: Victor Gollancz. p. 117.



weapon of intimidation, its inward and outward effects locked in some sort of mutual support context for the perpetrator. Whatever the case, such use of music is now prompting wide social disapproval, perhaps, not only because of its sheer loudness but also its menacing quality. It is thus ironic, that music on the one hand is prized for its amelioratory affects and, on the other, condemned for its capacity to stun and intimidate in a manner reminiscent of anti-personnel weapons. So, from the selective (but indistinguishable) Muzaks of department stores, restaurants, malls, train and bus stations, hotel lobbies and beyond to the roving Walkmans and boom cars, music is being contemplated through something other than fundamental historical aesthetic values and the traditional social context. The huge range of recorded music (western/non-western, contemporary/historical, etc.) availablemusic so diverse as to be almost impossible for the average listener to contextually appreciate in any detailcan be acquired and listened to under almost any contemporary circumstance. This music is without doubt, being appreciated (or not) in listening contexts unimaginable in even recent music history. Yet the profound historical implications and social consequences of this fact are often being either totally obscured by, or re-evaluated against, the pressing demands of contemporary society. However, what is of interest here is not the social ramifications of recorded music projected arbitrarily into society but the evolution of an aesthetic of musical appreciation predicated by distorted and complex experiences of listening to contemporary, historical and ethnic musics during, and as part of, our daily transactions. The perpetual juxtaposition of music with the sounds of the day, no matter how obnoxious, cultivates, to various degrees, a capacity to tolerate disparate sonic experiences that in turn become reinterpreted as a music. Within the individual, these sonic experiences assemble as an auditory phantasma which contribute to an affirmation of contemporary existence. If this sonic experience is duplicated or imitated and presented in a musical context, then the nature of music has been significantly altered. The fact that this is precisely what is happening is, I feel, pertinent to an appreciation and understanding of a contemporary musical experience. Thus music may be considered, in part, an intellectual resynthesis of the clamor of the world around us, a constant expression of a perceived control over, and understanding of, our environment and ourselves. Music is not simply a purification of noise, it is a willful interpretation; an ordering and codifying of certain sounds in the belief that this new order will vindicate, perpetuate and advance the human statebe it in a mundane or spiritual, corporeal or intellectual form. How this is achieved and in what sense, of course, remains difficult to establish given how we understand music to convey meaning:
Jacques Attali has correctly observed that while music can be defined as noise given form according to a code, nevertheless it cannot be equated with a language. Music, though it has a precise operationality, never has stable reference to a semantic code of the linguistic type. It is a sort of language without meaning. (Beverley, 1989, p. 43)

Further to this idea of language without meaning, music might also be seen as an articulation of concepts without specificityan allusion to thingsan imperative to actively participate in constructing concepts and ideas according to certain sonic input. If it is the case, as Attali states, that Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise. (Attali, 1985, p. 3), music must be, in part, our abstraction and conceptualization of the doing which in turn is a manifestation of power. Thus it is a



mental fabrication of the product of our myriad daily actions into an essence of doing. To create music is a reflexive interpretation of this raw concept; it is to do something which essentially models the perceived, imagined or dreamed activities of our existence in the very same substance (sound) which constantly invades our consciousness. Music thus stylizes and reinforces our actions and mental processes in our respective societies and cultures. The success of this stylization and abstract mimesis being determined by emotional responses in the individual, emotional commitment defines the strength of our engagement. Returning to the Attali quote, it occurred to me that there seems a parallel between the Aztec civilizations justification for human sacrifices to their Sun god and need for music in our society today. The Aztecs were convinced that if they stopped human sacrifices the sun would not rise and their world would end. The proliferation of music today, through shops, malls, streets and private homes, suggests that we are dependent upon music to confirm the dynamic of our society. If the public dissemination of music were to stop, we might begin to feel that our society and culture has lost momentum or actually be at an end. If, as Attali states It [music] has always been in its essence a herald of times to come. (Attali, 1985, p. 4), it is because music can preview the nature of the new in a way that is acceptable to the human condition and social moment. In music, we might already be experiencing what it is like to live within the new5 because music so often and convincingly expresses the present. It is also, in its other forms (and more potently it may seem), a means of confirming the present and venerating the past.6
In Ernst Blochs terms, even music video, trashy, glitzy and prematurely hackneyed as it often is, still can contain a nouvum, an instance of the radically new which has never yet been. We need an open aesthetics, future-orientated, to deal with an art which is still in process, not yet sedimented or stereotyped. Music video is still an area of possibilities: its identity is still unsettled. Bloch argued that the human condition, like adolescence, was defined by its possible futures, its unidentified desire and unarticulated want. (Wollen, 1986, p. 170)

Such unsatiated and of ten incompatible conditions generate noise as we search for the momentary artistic/cultural utopian sound. Noise may be seen also as the result of experiments in musical thinking something like an orchestra tuning up. Noise is the collision, that simultaneous availability of all that there is or has been. If we understand noise, we can appreciate the future of music. Music can both sublimate and reify the perceived continuum of human existence. The question is how noise becomes or indeed, has become, part of this.
NoiseToken of Things

Recordings of the real world in action, are the new truth in music. In a world of manipulated conditions and hyped desires, sounds from the real world are currently the most effective means we have of restoring our ability to believe (to be drawn towards a sense of truth) in human expression. Noise represents the antithesis of studio perfection and consequently, that of concocted artifice.

new references only a momentary but uniquely contemporary instance of society. The current one in a series of instances.



However, since the noise of the world is diverse beyond comprehension, it is important to grasp how and when moments of it can be employed to redeem the power of music. All music is a type of noise, the difference is that music has been disconnected from reality, in order to create, temporarily, an alternative reality. Our common definition of noise is most probably any sound of an unwanted and incidental nature. Noise is that sound which intrudes at unpredictable moments; that has a character which instills alarm, anxiety, stress and fear in our minds. It may be loud or soft, brief or persistent. It may leave only a momentary impression, or one that lingers long after the noise itself has subsided. Noise can counter and challenge simple perceptions, dislocate attention and create an uneasiness within the listener which blocks engagement with the musical or central sound object and, of course, silence. Is noise ever trivial? Frequently, but its effect is to demand attention and generate assessment. Noise is random information which may or may not have significance; that can only be decided at the cost of surrendering ones private discourse. In our daily lives, for any given moment, noise means different things. For precisely this reason, the more dynamic the scenario, the more prominent noise is in that dynamic. We need only think of the trading floor in a Stock Exchange or rush hour in a large city. Imagine those silentsomething would be wrong with the laws of the Universe! Yet, amid the essentiality of the context, we often feel anxiety and irritation towards accumulated noise we are not emotionally, intellectually or physically concerned with. Whether we consciously interpret noise or try not to, it nevertheless provides essential clues and synchronisms with the various objects in the world. Through noise we orientate ourselves in the continuum of our existence. Noise, therefore, can be a trite and unimportant sensation or a complex social referent. As a by-product of human activity, noise probably reveals much about the times we live in and ourselves. Are these times any noisier than some previous time in human history? It would appear so or so we thinkbut, psychologically speaking, it may simply be relative, in the sense that we are conditioned to (and necessarily accept) the degree of activity our world generates and hence the level and diffusion of noise. If the noise of our world were to noticeably but inexplicably subside, we might be lead to think that our society was in a state of decline. Music, in contrast to the sounds of the world, directly interprets contemporary life; different music for different people but it all speaks about the present. Music confirms and explicates the idea of existence for people with varied outlooks on the world. If it unifies the clamor of our actions, creating a continuum that is, on a personal basis, meaningful then perhaps the sounds of life achieve the same end on a collective psychological level. Is it not at least arguable that, the degree to which people make sense of or view the times they live in, could be linked to their level and diversity of musical appreciation? The difficulty, of course, is in assessing such a hypothesis. But, as we pursue the questions of music in the latter part of this century, it becomes clear that noise takes an increasingly important role in the musical object (both art and popular forms). For disagreeable, invasive, irritating and vague that as it may be, noise engages attention, demands

This is an encapsulated view and necessarily a simple one of a modernist perspective on music, in as much as it thinly connects the notion of progress in music with that concept in society and further intimates that society is in fact aware of this correlation. This is probably rather fanciful. Although society may still be under the influence of the modernist agenda, it does not necessarily follow that it appreciates or indeed recognizes the constant culture/life parallelism other than in its most immediate forms. The current concept of modernismcertainly as it pertains to artis avowedly too complex to support a simple perpetually progressive model of either art or society.



assessment and alludes to a sense of awareness. If we live in a world where, hearing is one sensory means of acquiring knowledge, and this in turn equates to a desired state to be in, (i.e. in the know so to speak) then noise is something that has a value for as long as it takes us to realise its implications. Its value plummets to worthlessness upon our extraction of its meaning and our comprehension of these implications. At that point we can act or anticipate or remain unaffected. Noise also takes on a more substantial meaning when those loud and ferocious sounds, endemic to most popular musics, become associated with power. The energy in very loud sound, gives substance to the concept of strategic power; power in a vital and personal form. It is therefore clear, that noise and music are conversant but that they are perceived (or have to be understood) as functioning differently, acting as opposing concepts within society. Given this observation, might there be a coexistent state for music and noise, or would that in fact create simply another form of music? Is it music when the context is exclaimed as music and noise when it is deemed noise? For instance, it is interesting to note two comments from John Cage in Silence. The first comment is from Cages fictional Satie dialogue, Satie pontificates:
Nevertheless, we must bring about a music which is like furniturea music, that is, which will be part of the noises of the environment, will take them into consideration. I think of it as melodious, softening the noises of the knives and forks, not dominating them, not imposing itself. It would fill up those heavy silences that sometimes fall between friends dining together. It would spare them the trouble of paying attention to their own banal remarks. And at the same time it would neutralize the street noises which so indiscretely enter into the play of conversation. To make such a music would be to respond to a need. (Cage, 1961, p. 76)

Is Satie simply referring to muzak as we know it or is this a music that is to be specifically composed to function on two levels? First, as pleasurable music in the conventional sense and second as a means to subvert the sounds of life to the mood of the context? What really is the need? The problem in defining the value of noise is largely one of context: its relation to the moment, its meaning, and from there to music. Is it a subset of or synonym for sound? Does it work with or against an elucidation of the context in a positive musical or aesthetic sense? When discussed in relation to music as a collaborative entity, is noise to be perceived as immanent or intentional, as in, say, percussion instrument sounds, or as a natural artifact, as in the processing of environmental recordings? Noise may well become sound (that is, neutralized) music, when it is understood as performing an essentially musical function, not simply as an irritating or agreeable sonic event framed in a musical context.
One day when the windows were open, Christian Wolff played one of his pieces at the piano. Sounds of traffic, boat horns, were heard not only during the silences in the music, but, being louder, were more easily heard than the piano sounds themselves. Afterward, someone asked Christian Wolff to play the piece again with the windows closed. Christian Wolff said hed be glad to, but that it wasnt really necessary, since the sounds of the environment were in no sense an interruption of those of the music. (Cage, 1963, p. 133)

What is of interest in the above quotations are not the more evident differences in the two views of noise but that noise is considered something that has to be engaged. The engagement actually takes place within a constructed musical context. The listener has to accept that a noise context can be



admissible within a prevailing musical/sonic one. How does one accept the confluence of the two sonic experiences? Is it that the music and noise harmonize? Probably not. Not, at least, in a traditional sense. Some part of the acceptance must lie in the recognition of structure, articulated by timbre, pitch, dynamics and spatial relations. This coalesces as a unique, complex and partially unpredictable listening experience. A commonly held view of the relation of noise to music is here again articulated by Cage in his essay History of Experimental Music in the United States, in reference to a discussion on Christian Wolffs article New and Electronic Music and Edgar Varse, he states the following;
Sound come into its own. What does that mean? For one thing: it means that noises are useful to new music as so-called musical tones, for the simple reason that they are soundsBut it is clear that ways must be discovered that allow noises and tones to be just noises and tones, not exponents subservient to Varses imagination. (Cage, 1961, p. 68)

Much of the historical discussion of noise in music reflects a desire to conquer and sublimate the essence and existence of noise to the will of the artwork. But it is also clear that noise is frequently used (or referred to in theory) as the means to emancipate and stimulate a sense of a future for music. Although initially associated with the Avant-Garde and later Rock music, it now seems less controversial and more functional in its manifestations. These pragmatic uses of noise range from the banal to the iconoclastic, consider the following quotations from Attali and Calinescu:
When Cage opens the door to the concert hall to let the noise of the street in, he is regenerating all of music: he is taking it to its culmination. He is blaspheming, criticizing the code and the network. When he sits motionless at the piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds, letting the audience grow impatient and make noises, he is giving back the right speak to people who do not want to have it. (Attali, 1985, p. 136)

Another perspective:
But, as the case of John Cage clearly shows, the disruptive techniquesaleatory or otherwise characteristic of aesthetic anarchism do not go without a high degree of sophistication and awareness of theoretical issues. The attempt at discovering means to let sounds be themselves rather than vehicles for man-made theories or expressions of human sentimentsas Cage puts it in his book Silencemay be meaningful only to the connoisseur or to the snob, not to the man in the street who is likely to be a sincere consumer of kitsch and not care about pure sounds, stripped of their human significance. (Calinescu, 1987, p. 145)

Historically, noise is that domain in which music can never be present without being weakened and robbed of its essential power. Whether it is manifest as a fault in the score or in performance as an inappropriate sound, its effect is deemed immediate and pernicious. But, of course, noise itself can be or is a component in the sound of instruments and thus in the music itself. Noise is what gives certain



instrumental sounds their timbral identity and individuality. But beyond the acoustic importance of noise, the concept and its more radical manifestations are seen as playing an important role in the freeing of music in this century. While those extra-curricular noises are universally condemned for their role as a negators of codes and networks within the realm of historical musical thought and practice, rarely is noise considered beyond either a provocative phenomena or a musical novelty. This position has arisen solely from the confrontation of traditional musical thinking and the nature of noise. Apparently only emasculated noise is permitted in the musical domain. Whatever noise is in the contemporary listening experience, it now has far more demanding and engaging connotations than the word sound. This is perhaps because the notion of sound has been unreservedly absorbed into most musical contexts. In recent decades the term sound is seen as embracing private and meaningful auditory experiences and no longer initiates critical response when discussed as music. Noise, on the other hand, provides a locus for the collision of sensory ambiguity and critical evaluation. By definition, it will never substitute for a music.
Their noise be our instruction7: Compositions with Real-World Sounds

It is generally accepted that music today might contain sonic material of a radically different nature to that of previous musical epochs. Indeed, the material itself goes beyond structural and organizational differences to an attitude about music with a very short historical precedent. Thus what once would have been regarded as noise and nothing more, has gained a position in the musical landscape through immense aesthetic upheavals in the arts in general during this century. Incongruous as the sounds may be against traditional musical sounds, the project has been deemed important not because it is theoretically correct in mathematical or acoustic terms but because it is musically effective. There are two broad areas where such material has become manifest. The first is concerned with transformations and additions to conventional instrumental music. This area is itself divided into two with the development of new performance techniques on the one hand and the augmentation of the instrumental collection with new or less conventionally entrenched (since some have complex developmental histories) percussion instruments on the other. The new sounds from traditional instruments typically lie outside the normal operational mode and by their nature, are often difficult to control, limited in pitch and timbral diversity, and conceptually esoteric, that is, the sounds do not necessarily possess the same degree of prescience characteristic of that conventional instrument, e.g. the perceptual expectations associated with certain pitches within a given tonal domain. For the most part these sounds represent a contrary or complex adjunct aesthetic to that immanent in the traditional operation. However, mastery of these techniques has become necessary for new music instrumentalists since a considerable repertoire now exists which requires such techniques for authentic and correct interpretation. It could be argued that such techniques as microtonal intervals, multiphonics, key clicks or playing on, in or with different parts of the instrument actually overlap the next category due to the character of the performance act and sounds i.e. less pitch oriented and more inclined to gesture and effect. However, the point is that they occur on the traditional instrument and serve to promote the performer as a new music virtuoso due to competence with these difficult techniques. Although some of the extended techniques are just that, extensions to common practice, they represent an historically distinct attitude to the instrument



The most dramatic and conspicuously noisy are the so called percussion instruments. These have increased in numbers and prominence in late 20th Century musicparticularly in orchestras and chamber ensemblesand mark a significant class of noise makers. In fact, it would appear that this class is resisting standardization as ever more varieties appear in the concert hall. Thus, the importance of these instruments for contemporary music lies as much in their visual statement of the modern as in their actual timbral diversity. This dual aesthetic effect probably dates from before World War I (the Futurists, et al) but remains as impressive today as it did in the early part of this century. It is interesting to note that this was also a trend pursued not just in art music but in popular and entertainment musics as well. Consider Jazz at the beginning of this century, in which Latin and Carribean rhythms, executed under the skill of the native practitioners, became fashionable in the music of city dance bands. It has left a distinct impression on Jazz and every decade or so, a revival of the purer forms occurs. Percussion instruments have introduced a further visceral component to new music with sounds that range from barely audible chimes to stomach churning booms and crashes. As a consequence, percussion instruments have helped shift emphasis from pitch as embodied in harmony and counterpoint, to timbre, rhythm and tempo in modern music. Whether the increase in percussion music has contributed to a tolerance for noise in or as music is difficult to evaluate. With some latitude in definition, the emergence of percussion music and noise in music do appear to historically coincide. Most people have heard percussion works that sound like one hour of urban life compressed into a moment. The evolution of percussion music is something of a confirmation that noise needs taming and when it is tame it is music. By taming, I meaning the experience of developing an understanding. This understanding leads to an ability to know how to control noise and present it at precisely those times when the sound has maximal musical effect. One consequence of this evolutionary condition being that the instruments become refined to the point where they are merely tokens of a former sound. One has to imagine what they sounded like even if one has never heard the original. Percussion instruments in particular, that were once used extensively as prominent or solo instruments, are reduced to a colorflash and are not permitted to speak in their own right. The second, and probably most far reaching approach to the exegesis of noise is through technology, in particular, the recording and playback technologies and the complex processing of recorded sounds in a digital signal environment. Consequently, the implications and central issues of the noise in music are clustered around recording technologies. From the inception of recording technology, its users most demanding preoccupation has been to minimize inherent system noise, the object being to project only the spectra of the recording itself. The capacity of technology to provide, now, such low noise presentation of sound is a curious and important factor in the contemporary reappraisal of noise and its reintroduction into music. Improved signal to noise ratios have contributed to a significant increase in a listeners engagement and stamina towards the experience of recorded music. Although the cultural ramifications of this impact are open to interpretationfor there are obviously points that need clarificationthe predilection towards technology seems also initially based on pragmatic reasons. The potential of the signal processing is towards the processing of a broad range of signals, for example, those gathered under conditions considerably inferior to that of the
7 Shakespeare. The Tragedy of Coriolanus I. iv. 22.



recording studio or concert hall. This suggests that music now engages technology at critical aesthetic and perceptual angles which lie outside the content of the music. Yet, if anything, the implications of at least three decades of recording technology are by no means fully appreciated because although the general field of music technology is seen as very fertile ground for investigation and experimentation, it is a dynamic and changing environment. Inherent in such rapid change, is a veiled sense that something new will emerge to reveal that which has not been seen nor thought of before but which immediately becomes essential and inevitable. The potential revelation of a new technology tends to keep critical thought, certainly in the less tangible areas, off balance but at the same time receptive to improvement. What general criticism exists, of course, cannot negate those results thus far achieved. There is no question that achievement in the field of digital technology, in particular, has had significant creative implications and repercussions, and by all accounts will continue to have them in the immediate future. Consider one of the more subtle implications:
Digital developments appear to offer shattering evidence for the pertinence of Walter Benjamins analysis, in the spheres of both production and consumption. In music production, the increasing use of digital recording and reproductive equipment gives enormous credence to Benjamins celebration of the end of the aura. In the age of mass production, Benjamin stated that the audience is no longer concerned with an original textual moment. In the age of digital reproduction the notion of the aura is further demystified by the fact that everyone may purchase an original. (Goodwin, 1988, p. 35)

Goodwin has actually got it slightly wrong. If he really understood the implications of digital technology, he would have realized that there is now no such thing as an original. The concept of originality can no longer be applied to the principle object but only to uniquely applied details (packaging) that has no effect on the object itself. For example, if a computer file is copied, the copied inf ormation has to be identical otherwise the copy is not a copy but what or where it is copied may help distinguish the temporal sequence of replication. What differentiates the output of the process, that is, the copy from that which is copied, can be as simple as a date of creation time stamp. Of course, a date stamp can be altered so that the copied file has a later creation date than the copy. For most practical purposes, the vagaries of the creation date are of no real importance unless the files differ. The appropriation and processing, or simply the inclusion of life noise into musical composition has in recent years become more discernible while maintaining a low technical and aesthetic profile. The fact that little discussion has emerged in contemporary musical forums indicates that there are potential problems in either formulating grounds for discussion or in elevating, what might be perceived too readily as novelty, too highly in contemporary compositional practice. Perhaps composers are aware that, a too vigorous discussion and, hence, promotion of the use of noise in the compositional domain is likely to lead to its abuse and rapid demise. On the other hand, is there any basis for a discussion of noise at all, as compositional material now or in the future? What is it that is done with noise that gives the subsequent result any musical significance? If anything, such questions indicate a lack of clarity surrounding noise and in this respect, discussion might still be premature because it is not defined in terms generally understood as important to currently musical practice. Leaving these questions aside for the moment, noise has, nevertheless, emerged in recent times as an abstract concept which challenges musical development. It is increasingly seen as somehow important in the presence of contemporary musical interpretation. Perhaps, the most troubling aspect is the recognition that the use of noise in composition may be important but that there is no immediately



discernible theory for its application. At this early stage, however, theories are perhaps, nascent, as metaphors of compositional thought. Consider the painting metaphor in which the employment of numerical techniques (analysis and resynthesis, filtering and mixing) to process sound can be likened to paint brushes and brush techniques for their contribution to the nature of the material. Indeed, contemplation of the results of such digital techniques tend to raise associations with some fondly (or not) remembered work in the visual art world. In addition to this metaphor, I recently found a quote which I thought worth keeping in mind when applying computational muscle to recorded sound. The Japanese artist Shiko Munakata wrote:
I advise the layman to spread India ink on an uncarved board, lay paper on top of it, and print it. He will get a black print, but the result is not the blackness of ink, it is the blackness of prints. Now the object is to give this print greater life and greater power by carving its surface. Whatever I carve I compare with an uncarved print and ask myself, Which has more beauty, more strength, more depth, more magnitude, more movement, more tranquility? If there is anything here that is inferior to an uncarved block, then I have not created my print. I have lost to the block. (Danto, 1981, p. 52)

So translating the above sentiment into a musical context: once the signal processing composer has carved into the recording of life, the result should be contemplated against the original. Certainly the above questions should be kept in mind but also the composer should also attempt to assess what has been removed, what has been gained and what has been revealed. One significant aspect of the compositional sublimation of noise is that the material itself can invoke a sense of space, social context and perspective in a far more complex and subtle manner than by simply superimposing artificial reverberation or, more elaborate, room simulation effects. It is potentially a far richer source of spatial illusion (in the right contexts), not only because of any inherent reverberation but also through the nature of the sounds themselves. I think it matters little whether the addition of certain types of noise to create subtextual meaning is an illusion or trick. It depends on how the listener wishes to interpret supplemental material and engage the implications. Thus, not only the topology of noise but the instances of noises themselves can add a psychological dimension that goes substantially deeper than the clinical effect of synthetic techniques. The crucial aspect to the spatial quality of noise is that it has an immediacy and discernibility that cannot fail to be appreciated by the listener either consciously or subconsciously. It deepens the sensuality of the musical material. The underlying idea then is not to simply enhance the sound but the perceptual context. The use of noise (an ambient wash) or artificial simulators (echo, reverb and room simulation devices) as a means of conveying a sense of space is essentially a compositional decision based on the nature of the principle sounds employed. The selection and interpolation of additional sound material into a work is a complex undertaking, and not simply a matter of mixing sound indiscriminately. Creating the impression of a complex space is done through the composing in ofor the working around withthe recordings of our various sonic worlds. The perception of noise and its relation with music has been and no doubt remains deeply troublesome to the professionals producing sound. It has largely become synonymous with a subversive function which erodes the power of music and destroys its immanent material. But this condition only persists when one is not in control. It is dear that what would have been unacceptable in previous musical works is now desirable because it can be controlled. The disturbing element comes



under the aesthetic control of the professional, the virtuoso and the master. Attalis discussion of noise in the section The New Noise (Attali, 1985, p. 136) takes the emergence of noise as a compositional phenomenon in this century as, initially, a counteraction to prevailing musical ideals. But it becomes increasingly obvious that noise is a major component in the music of this century precisely because its use makes a paradox of (one might say, puts into a disturbing contrast) the traditional concept of the musical idea. What also seems strange, is the association of noise with the political economy of music. If noise is a residue or detritus of our society then its elevation to the stratosphere of a music or musical adjunct must be interpreted as essentially a destructive ploy. This, one would expect, is to be avoided because it appears not to support a positive ideal rather a disenfranchising and negative realism. But then again noise is the embodiment of social dynamism. Yet in its recorded form, it is a simulacrum of social dynamism because it has been disconnected from the moment of its creation. In practice, to record society and approach its inherent expression through the application of contemporary technology and make what can be regarded as a social (if not historical) instance, into a statement that maybe music, requires creative considerations. The resulting music should, at least, usher up some sense of a philosophical perspective on a moment in our existence which can be interpreted as personal, universal and essentially empirical. The music should engage historical necessity in a different role and, for the most part, (one entirely up to the composer) orientate the listener within a completely different space to that which might result from traditional instrumental music. Noise is, unfortunately, such an accessible sonic material that it is susceptible not only to poor compositional understanding but to various forms of abuse. As a phenomenon or simply a material in contemporary compositional use, it is possible to appreciate its passage to decadence long before it has matured in the musical world. This is a reflection on the musical times as much as the material itself. Anyone aware of the contemporary situation senses the voracious rate of consumption and demand for new techniques and ideas, particularly in the area of technology. Couple with this the recognition that the material itself has a surface dynamic that is easy to skim off and exploit, and the desire to investigate intuitively deeper musical structures or even psychological dimensions wanes against a mounting feeling that the eff ort necessary for such tasks is likely to be spent in a rather futile and belated pursuit. The moment may have just passed. But compositions exploring the sounds of the day have appeared from composers scattered in the contemporary music domain and stretching back over the lifetime of recording technology Despite the lack of a strong sense of aesthetic or technical homogeneity that might be co-opted into the notion of a style, a conscious negotiation of the new material is clearly evident in many of these works. Exactly why this has come about requires some discussion of the contemporary scene and, indeed, beyond; a task of considerable enormity and outside the scope of this paper. But consideration of some examples at this point might serve to illuminate the position of noise in recent composition. These examples reflect a diversity of aesthetic intention, yet underlying this, I feel, there is a singular appreciation of the function of real-world noise. The first two compositions I intend to discuss, reflect dramatic interpretations of what Arthur Danto calls The transfiguration of the commonplace. Dantos book of that name, is concerned with how mundane objects change their significance when included in a work of art or more radically when they become the artwork. Although his focus is on the visual arts, it is not difficult to appreciate the creative



implications of digitally recorded sound in this respect. I will not be drawing explicit parallels with any visual art work but will concentrate on what I understand about each as recent musical compositions.
QuakerbridgePaul Lansky (signal processed environmental recordings)

On listening to Quakerbridge for the first time, there possibly comes a moment early in the work, where some curiosity arises as to whether the initial foreground presence of a shopping mall will be sustained or whether it will be subsumed by the composition proper. Is the dramatic presence of the mall to subside? Are conditions simply being set up to eventually resolve into a more conventional interpretation of music? Of course, there is an artwork expectation within the listener that foresees the context changing, in whole or in part. In the single contextual presentation of the work, as a recording on tape, such a transfiguration is primarily what the composition attempts to convey. But it takes place not on the mall sound but through the sparse addition of, what we might call, an allusion to real music. The work is also aided in this quest by the fact that it will probably be listened to anywhere but a shopping mall. In the concert hall, it confronts and conflicts that staid setting with a broader social realism. Perhaps Quakerbridge should be experienced in the original setting? The mall noise provides a familiar narrative. The listener becomes absorbed, through personal experience and memories, and begins searching or expecting more from the listening experience. It is not simply about being there, but wrestling with different intentions and expectations. This piece may have cinematic parallels with, in particular, the visualization of place and the actuation of memory to create temporal continuity but since this happens on a personal level it is difficult to ascertain the degree to which a listener might construct an imaginary shopping mall and maintain it at a conscious level, populating it with their own sensations and memories. Thus, to remove or fade out the sound of the mall sounds would be to remove the locus in quo of the musical experience and consequently negate an essential part of the compositional intention. In Quakerbridge the listener never leaves the sonic mall, but rather has their memory of the place manipulated through the presence of the composer acting as a kind of guide. What appears to take place is that through the introduction of composed in noise (music) the listener can transcend the environment at precisely those moments the composer feels are important. The listeners degrees of transcendence or re-focusing of thought about the place, are assumed to be those rare experiences associated with the artwork encountera musical experience. These are improbable experiences for the normal course of life. So in one respect, it is about re-experiencing the place in purely sonic terms which affect a shift in mental imagery, by intermingling the immediacy of the action of suburban life with a state of contemplationan uncommon contemplation on the subject itself. A reverie on which one does not ordinarily spend much time, simply because it is there and dominated by the images and expressions of function. But it may also be a contemplation on the composers musical interpretation of collective experiences, assuming he or she has been there more than once. The listener is experiencing the composers experiences and emotional responses through the composed in music. This vicarious experience engenders conflict. To merely hear this work as a melding of composed material and natural sound would be to neutralize the sociological experience of the shopping mall. It is probably impossible for anyone to listen to this and remain oblivious to their experiences of shopping and the music in them.



Never Sing Before BreakfastSteve Mackey (Wind QuintetFlute doubling Piccolo; Clarinet, Oboe; French Horn; Bassoon and Boom Box playing recordings of domestic sounds)

The tape sounds employed in this work bring together the composers parents talking around the kitchen table and the composer himself, in the act of composing the work at a nearby piano. During the quintet performance, the piano playing is heard at the start of the tape but dialog predominates in the later tape sections. The recording of the quintet performance has the feel of a situation comedyas one might experience it on televisionwith the music punctuating the dialogue, but unlike television the music is of primary importance. What has always appeared to be a significant problem for compositions of tape and instruments, is the establishment of credibility for the combination in performance. Such questions as In what sense is there a musical relation between the sound sources? seem to surface at every performance, especially when the recorded sounds appear to have little in common with the instrumental material. If the success of the work depends on a unified experience then the persistent awareness of two activities would constitute a failure, either on the part of the composer or performance realization. So the pursuit of an aesthetic through the confluence of such musical material challenges the composer, the performers and the technology. In Never Sing Before Breakfast the approach appears contradictory to accepted practice for this form of composition, however, it is effective precisely because of this scenario. The tape material is not only not essentially musical with respect to the instrumental part but is itself presented as an imperfect recording. Playback is also cued by a performer rather than a technician in the wings which certainly eliminates one source of confusion whilst focusing every aspect of the perf ormance on the performers. The recording quality, or lack thereof, enhances the subject of the recording and conveys, to anyone with some recording experience, the spontaneity of the moment and occasion to which the material refers. It is assumed that for the presentation of this work the listener would be given some insight into the origin and background of the material, but the playback quality also indicates that we should not be so concerned with minutiae but with the experience of a sense of place and the spontaneity of human discourse. The tape and instrumental create an unusual musical state. The effect is a counterpoint of place which exists between that of the domestic and the instrumental performance worlds. But a continuous two part texture does not exist from the start. The listener is primed for the recorded sounds by an engaging introductory section into which a recording of a piano playing part of the quintet, slowly becomes recognizable. The piano part enters unobtrusively but is yet immediately recognizable. When the more dramatic tape sounds enter, they seem to either puncture the moment or float on the underlying musical texture that has momentarily assumed a subordinate position. It is a challenging sonic coexistence when underway. The recorded material is in such contrast to the wind quintet, it often seems to break into the work with an effect similar to someone suddenly removing the roof from above the performance space. The tape part is by no means easy listening. The listener strains to make sense of the obvious conversation and is, in the effort, transported to another place. The fragments are short and relatively few in presentation but engage the imagination quickly. It becomes obvious that too much recorded material would destroy whatever effect is created in the juxtaposition of cultural moments.



As with Quakerbridge, there is a sensation of a musical transgression of the laws of place. There is the disturbing experience of hearing two mutually incompatible places at once. Something similar to watching TV while people near you are carrying on a conversation in which you are less interested but unavoidably engaged. Or watching with the sound turned down. In this respect, the work has a powerful contemporaneous quality that mixes sensual familiarity with contextual dislocation.
Greek Nickel piecesJ.K.Randall

The recording of the Greek Nickel pieces for solo piano, reflect yet another perspective on noise in the performance context but not as an exploration of or interaction with some form of prerecorded material but through the concurrency of performer and room ambience. This is where this work differs radically from the majority of recorded solo piano works.9 There is no accompanying tape part, the ambience is a natural part of the performance context, yet at the same time, appears quite artificial. It is also made up from two recordings made ten years apart. The first by Jeff Presslaff and the second, by J.K.Randall. The two recordings were digitally mixed and edited by the author under the direction of the composer in 1992. Where a recording is stipulated as live some concession is given, on the part of the listener, to the relation between the music and its performance context. The listener thus understands and is prepared to accept that the recording may contain aberrant sounds which will either contribute to or detract from an appreciation of the music. However, the fact that the recording explicitly contains such extended musical or non-musical material invariably lends it a tantalizing quality which has been predictably, much sought after. Apart from the obvious sense of concert hall dimensions that may resonate from the recording, what comes across occasionally in the sound is a sense of an energy that is partly the silent audience but, more importantly, also the mediation of the place and performance moment by the performers. Yet the sense in which presence is perceived, is as a supplementary or incidental adjunct which only enhances the music but does not alter any fundamental aspects of the music itself. In the controlled studio mannerisms characteristic of the majority of recorded music, the presence of sound other than the designated music has been conventionally regarded as detrimental to the success of the recording and deplorable under the circumstances of a (believed) favorable recording condition, such sound is usually pursued vigorously and expunged. Unless the recording seeks to emphasise the studio context, with such things as pre or post session dialogue or high jinks, recordings that incorporate the noise of the performer in action, i.e. something that indicates the presence of a performer, are still regarded as a commercial novelty or session fault rather than essential to an understanding of the work. In most cases that is probably a correct evaluation of the situation. The Greek Nickel pieces provide a private, enveloping work in which the listener becomes acquainted with the performer and the musical place during the frequent moments of reflective ambience as much as through the music itself. Few recorded solo piano compositions come to mind with such space between the performance action, each deliberated attack marking a sparsely surveyed point in a vast musical topos. One instinctively listens or perhaps more engagingly, thinks between the

It did occurred to me that Nancarrows Player Piano studies have the same ambient quality. On close listening, at the very beginning or during quiet periods, it is possible to hear the vacuum pump running and the paper passing from one roll to the other.



music. The performance thus exists in some very different musical setting to those described above. There is also a strong sense of the performer, transfixed as a listener on every occasion, where the dying chords assume the proportional weight of the impending silence. The arrival at periods of real silence are as dramatic as the attack of the notes themselves. In these spacious moments there are only listeners. At some point in the interlude between each section, a respite occurs where roles are reaffirmed, as the pianist once again engages the instrument as performer. Around the arched silences the pianist is evident not only through the perf ormance itself but in occupying the role of the performer. The sound of this occupancy is occasionally manifest in paper shuffling, creaking piano stool and piano pedals but dramatically felt in the holding of notes or the sensed deliberation and poise preceding the execution of those chords at the extremes of either the dynamic or keyboard range. The effect is an unusually expatiated music which encourages listening beyond the immediacy of the pianos pitches and idiom, and seemly operates as, and allude to, a logic of reference pointssimultaneously compelling and unpredictableto that place and time where the perf ormance experience resides in its purest form. As those intense notes from the extremes of the keyboard evaporate, we are left with the essence of the musical act; the distilled notion of performance in the tapered remnants and final absence of the music. That Quakerbridge, Never Sing Before Breakfast and the Greek Nickel pieces reflect differences in the accommodation of extra-curricular material within diverse musical gestures, is most likely of lesser interest when set against the totality of each work. In fact, how the noise factor contributes to each work requires an unfamiliar line of musical analysis, one not well established within the field of composition itself. Consider the compositional process that meticulously extracts material from a recording of noise (albeit, interesting to begin with), then formally places these sounds back against the source noise in the form of traditional musical material. Consider the conspicuousness of the recording process itself set against a common practice musical setting where there are inevitably contrasts between the surfaces of the colliding sound worlds. Curiously, it is not necessarily the music or the prominent recorded material that are in contrast but the noise component (two in this case) of what sound engineers call the signal to noise ratio. Noise here is regarded as the residual signal that is extraneous to the desired signal (Dodge and Jerse, 1985, p. 29). This is usually understood to exist within such a system as a tape recorder or amplifier but it is important to recognize that it could also exist in the system of the space in which the recording takes place. In recording contexts other than sterile studios, such noise conditions can transfer the listeners attention from the recording to the listeners immediate space. Irrespective of the listeners reactions, it becomes a more complex setting for musical appreciation prior to the introduction of recording; one in which the total experience is altered and, perhaps, extended beyond either auditory concern. This has probably always occurred, to some extent, as part of the recorded music experience but been overlooked or conveniently ignored because it was not the point of that experience. It is generally accepted that one listens to the music, not the context one is hearing it in.

I have, throughout this paper, attempted to circumnavigate concepts and issues regarding sound found in the context of noise, in particular the noise of the world around us. The discussion springs from, and



obviously encompasses, a vast range of sonic experiences and suggests that they provide a potentially creative context, if initially imaginary, for the contemplation of a new musical discourse. Unfortunately, in our frenetic world, the capacity to filter out noise is so refined and essential that there are rarely opportunities to appreciate the extraordinary coincidences occurring in the temporal/ dynamic/timbral structure of sound around us. Yet, throughout life, there are moments when we contribute to, or expect there to be, evidence of sequences and parallels. In the home, the office, the sporting event and the concert hall, confirmation is sought of the nature of collective action. It is just that, as composers, we have yet to understand how to put this into a creative form. What does the concept of noise amount to in the current musical context? What is there to listen to or think about in the fidelity captured in recordings? Noise means something different at this end of the century than it meant at the other or, perhaps more speculatively, may have meant. With the decline of media noise we tolerate, or perhaps we require, a substitute. The historical association of noise with the means to confront tradition and, later, as the means to free music has given way to subtle investigations that often appear to evade the implications of these past associations. That noise cannot be explicitly music is predicated on historical and archetypal musical models. The social institutions that maintain the logic of this have dominated musical production but not the technology for reproduction. This has never been on the musical agenda and for a number of reasons could not be absorbed into the musical institutions. The institutions have provided the reproduction and processing technologies with access to the vault of musical ontology because of their supposed neutrality with respect to music, and because of the nature of technologys status in the context of musics continued existence. Reproduction technology has been impossible to subjugate with purely musical criticism because of its powerful criteria and ectopic position. It simultaneously issues and manifests promises while leaving a developmental path strewn with limitations and failings. It has causedindeed, it continues to causemusic to forego its own momentum for the promise of a kind of immortality of momentthe quintessential recording. Noise has always occupied a place between music and silence. It can represent a hermeneutic mode which, in a simple instance, communicates with the listener in a special language. It can be about being somewhere and understanding or attempting to come to terms with that place. Thus noise, as a source of musical material and compositional formalism,10 is not simply a transition or inveigling into the cultural status quo of the concert hall by the street. It is a working out of the historical and social musical material with the present, a project in rethinking the function of music against a complex musical world, dominated by the search for the perfect medium for recording and reproduction.
Adorno, T.W. (1990). Prisms. Cambridge, Ma.: MIT Press Attali, J. (1985). Noise. The Political Economy of Music. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Beverley, J. (1989). The Ideology Of Postmodern Music And Left Politics. Critical Quarterly. Manchester University Press: Manchester. (Spring) Vol. 31 No 1., 4056. Burger, P. (1984). Theory of the Avant-Garde. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Including the order of presentation of material on recording media.



Cage, J. (1961). Silence. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. (1963). A Year From Monday. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. Calunescu, M. (1987). Five Faces of Modernity. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. Crimp, D. (1991). The Photographic Activities of Postmodernism. In Postmodernism: A Reader. ed Thomas Docherty. New York: Columbia University Press. Danto, A.C. (1981). The Transfiguration of the Commonplace. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Dodge, C. and Thomas A.J. (1985). Computer Music. New York: Schirmer. Goodwin, A. (1988). Sample and hold: popmusic in the digital age of reproduction. Critical Quarterly. Manchester University Press: Manchester. (Autumn) Vol. 30 No 3. 3449. Lyotard, J.F. (1984). The Post-Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pritchett, J. (1993). The Music of John Cage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Randall, J.K. (1991). Three for Piano. Open Space. New York: Red Hook. Wollen, P. (1986). Ways of thinking about music video (and post-modernism). Critical Quarterly. Manchester University Press: Manchester. Vol 28 Nos. 1&2 167170.

Lansky, Paul. Quakerbridge on Homebrew. Bridge Records BCD 9035 New York 1992 Mackey, Steve. Never Sing Before Breakfast. Newport Classic CD. Recorded by the Quintet of the Americas. Randall, J.K. Greek Nickel 1 & 2 on Open Space 4. Open Space, New York. Performance by Jeff Presslaff and J.K.Randall.


Notes to accompany CD:


People Underground (extract) Katharine Norman The extract is the first 11 minutes of the piece, ending with the section discussed. The source sounds for this tape piece are recordings of people walking through foot tunnels under the Thames. The music takes a walk below ground, where fact and fiction intertwine; the real journey is confused with the imaginary as sounds drift in and out of focus, seem to acquire meaning but fade from hearing as the the listener returns to the surface. Sud (extract) Jean-Claude Risset The extract is the first five minutes of the first movement, reproduced by kind permission of INA.GRM, 116 av. Pdt-Kennedy 75016 PARIS. (INA C 1003)
The sea in the mornng. The opening profile permeates the entire piece. Waking birds: isolated peeps rising to a stretto. Harmonic clouds. Hybrid sounds emerge from the low frequencies. Heat. Luminy, at the foot of mount Puget: real and imaginary insects and birds. RISSET:
Examples, with approximate durations. Example from Passages

1) c. 50 secs The flautist sings into his instrument, and the synthesized tones become voice-like.



Examples from Sud

2) c. 30 secs Using the microphone as a microscope to magnify natural sounds: quivering of insects and cracking seeds. A moving synthetic sound is added to signal a flying buzz. 3) c. 20 secs Shuffling sound segments with Brage: making a piano stutter. 4) c. 25 secs Using Brage to perform compositional development on found sounds: from pointillism to stretto. 5) c. 40 secs Wave contours used as seminal elements for the piece: first unaltered, then coloured by digitally mixing the recorded sound with copies delayed by 1/415 Hz, corresponding to a G sharp. 6) c. 40 secs A short cello sound, then lengthened by mixing with itself, then subjected to phasing. Then phasing for cello two sounds with different pitches. 7) c. 30 secs Recording of a rough sea, unaltered, then submitted to phasing. 8) c. 20 secs Synthesized percussive sound, then its transformation into a dynamic texture by mixing it in a controlled way with transposed and frequency-warped variants. 9) c. 8 secs Synthetic chord and arpeggio with the pitches G, B, E, F sharp, G sharp, which make up the minormajor scale that permeates the piece. 10) c. 15 secs Synthetic arpeggios specified in term of pitch curves derived from natural wa ve contours, then quantized in terms of the pitch scale. 11) c. 17 secs Cricket sounds, first unaltered, then transposed along pitches of the scale. 12) c. 23 secs The seminal wave contours, unaltered, then filtered through a set of 25 resonant filters tuned to the scale. 13) c. 15 secs A bird caw heard unaltered in the right channel and with a trailing resonance in the left channel. 14) c. 16 secs Same as 13, except the resonant filtering is non-causal, since it precedes the excitation. 15) c. 30 secs Bird raga: bird songs passed through filters tuned to the scale. (Here the filters are not very sharp, so that one can hear a glide from E flat-E natural). 16) c. 20 secs Resonant filtering of sea sounds previously striated via phasing (the ascending glides are obtained by time reversal). 17) c. 15 secs Piano sounds ring-modulated by a sine wave. 18) c. 32 secs Hybrids obtained through linear-prediction: cello-birds; birds-metal chimes.



19) c. 18 secs Harpsichord-like synthetic tones, unprocessed, then cross-modulated with wave sounds; then crosssynthesis of waves and wood-chime sounds. 20) c. 15 secs Multiple cross-synthesis, included metal-chime percussions.

Examples from Invisible Irene

21) c. 15 secs Cross-synthesis: the larynx of the soprano is replaced by the wind. 22) c. 15 secs Spoken voice, stretched voice, illusory voice, artificial acoustic environments, rain sounds. 23) c. 45 secs Soprano voice with echoes and synthesized gong-like sounds. TRUAX:
Example 1: duration 7:00 Entry to the Harbour (1973) from The Vancouver Soundscape, World Soundscape Project, Simon Fraser University

Entry to the Harbour simulates a voyage into Vancouvers harbour, past several foghorns and a fog bell, including the Diaphone at Point Atkinson which dates from 1912, and ending with the unloading of a ferry and entering a waiting room.
Example 2: duration 2:45

Dominion (1991) Barry Truax This excerpt from Dominion begins in the Prairie region with stretched versions of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) whistle (an E-flat minor triad), and the noon siren in a small Alberta town, heard over the keynote sounds of a humming power line and wind in a wheat field. It continues on into British Columbia with three blasts of the B.C.Ferry horns, followed by various steam whistles and the CPR shift whistle in Vancouver harbour. All material is granulated and time-stretched.
Example 3: duration 2:02

Beneath the Forest Floor (1992) Hildegard Westerkamp This excerpt from the opening of Beneath the Forest Floor is composed from sounds recorded in oldgrowth forests on British Columbias west coast, specifically the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island, which is the site of controversial clear-cut logging operations. The soundscape of the valley includes a creek, small songbirds, ravens and jays, squirrels, flies and mosquitoes.




Dima Dobralsa Domoy (1993) 7:21 My most recent work was inspired by, and dedicated to the extraordinary Russian singer and conductor Dmitri Pokrovsky who is renowned throughout the world as an exponent of traditional Russian folk music. The title literally means Dmitri finally comes home, or Dmitri returns home after a long voyage. Dima is the diminutive for Dmitri. The piece uses Pokrovskys voice, as well as some natural and synthesized sounds. The accompaniments here built around his a capella singing. If there is a program as such, it is his search for his ancient home as he traverses several Russian cities.

Tense Test (extract) John Cousins The structure of this work develops out of self-questioning, as the composer reinterprets answers given to questions in a recorded interview. In the extract, taken from the beginning of the second main section of the work, this self-questioning (and criticism) is carried out during ordinary daily tasks. Reference to the sound recording medium as a vehicle for this process is made through the background presence of analogue tape editing sounds, and by the insertion of new responses to questions taken from the original interview. Realistic and abstract states exist in parallel through much of this section with recognisable scenarios being underscored by a continuous complex resonance which also acts as material into and out of which sound identities transform and reform.
Reproduced by kind permission of ODE records (ODE CD MANU 1436).

Red Bird (extract) Trevor Wishart This extract, taken from the middle of the piece, contains examples of two of the most important processes in Red Bird. Firstly, the distinction between sound groupings which are either naturalistically free or regularised. This is typified here by the image of a machine drawing on sound identities heard in other contexts within the pieceas bird song becomes a mechanical squeak and breath the release of steambut within a composite representation of automated regularity. Secondly, the gradual transformation of one sound identity into another heard toward the end of this extract as the aurally ambiguous slam of a book (originating in attempts to swat a fly) successively develops into the slam of a door, eventually to become a multitude of doors, behind which are glimpses of other worlds.

Quakerbridge (extractfirst four minutes) Paul Lansky Quakerbridge is based on sounds of people going about their business in a local suburban shopping mall, shortly after Christmas. The great variety of arbitrary human sounds and acoustic spaces I encountered as I wandered around trigger musical events while large-scale harmonies pro vide a musical continuity and context for the experience. Recordings of real-world sounds, like photography, create a nostalgic



ache in that they almost capture events which are, in reality, gone forever. Quakerbridge tries to find the music of the experience of this nostalgia. Paul Lansky
Reproduced by kind permission of Bridge Records, Inc. GPO Box 1864, New York, NY 100116.email: Bridgerec@aol.com

Greek Nickel Pieces (extract-five minutes)




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Adorno, Theodor 109, 123, 126, 127, 136145, 147, 148 Amis, Martin 22 Appleton, Jon 33, 42 Arel, Bulent 64 Arfib, Daniel 36 Attali, Jacques 148, 111, 117, 119, 153, 155, 158, 162 Bachelard, Gaston 23, 256 Ballas, J. 50 Barrett, Richard 125, 126 Barrire, Jean-Baptiste 42 Barthes, Roland 44 Basho 101, 104 Bayle, Franois 33, 36 Bazin, Andr 23, 9, 20 Beauregard, Gerry 42 Benjamin, Walter 109, 117, 128, 161 Bennett, Gerald 33 Berberian, Cathy 113 Berio, Luciano 113, 146 Beverley, J. 153 Blake, Peter 119 Bodin, Lars-Gunnar 64, 67 Boeuf, Georges 33 Boehmer, Conrad 126 Boulez, Pierre 1214, 125, 126, 128 Braxton, Anthony 125 Brecht, Bertolt 109 Bregman, Albert 29, 50, 72 Broomfield, Howard 55 Buff, Paul 109 Burger, P. 152 Cadoz, Claude 31 Cage, John 31, 54, 64, 94, 116117, 118, 120, 125, 126, 127, 130, 157158 Calinescu, M. 158

Calvino, Italo 42, 42 Campbell, Philip 5 Capote, Truman 22 Carter, Elliott 113 Carroll, Noel 20 Casey, Edward 57, 19 Casey, Michael 42 Castenet, P. 33 Czanne, Paul 40 Cherney, Lawrence 61 Chion, Michel 136, 142 Chowning, John 29, 31, 33, 44 Clair, Ren 108 Coakley, C.G. 51 Coltrane, John 112 Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. 103 Corbett, John 120, 121 Connes, Alain 44 Cousins, John Tense Test 848 Creshevsky, Noah 67 Crimp, Douglas 1493 Cunningham, Merce 102 Danto, A.C. 162, 163 Davidovsky, Mario 64 Davis, Bruce 53, 56 Davis, Miles 111 Decoust, Michel 33 Debussy, Claude 44 Dhomont, Francis Chiaroscuro 8586 Dodge, Charles 33, 166 Dolphy, Eric 115, 124 Dufourt, Hugues 33 Duke, George 115 Dylan, Bob 132



Eisenstein, Sergei 9, 203, 108 Eliot, T.S. 25 Emmerson, Simon 52, 53 Epstein, Jean 60 Erickson, R. 48 Ernst, Max 123 Feldman, Morton 101 Fell, Simon 126, 131 Ferrari, Luc 20, 33, 138 Presque rien avec filles, 12 Htrozygote 15 Fischinger, Oscar 101 Flaherty, Robert 20, 109, 123 Ford, Mary 109 Fuller, Buckminster 127 Gabor, Dennis 60 Ghent, Emmanuel 64 Gibson, J.J. 29 Gillette, Ray 42 Gleick, James 7 Goodwin, A. 161 Grabocz, Marta 33, 33, 40, 42 Grateful Dead, The 132 Guillemain, Philippe 36 Handel, S. 50 Hanslick, Eduard 136, 138 Harris, Sugarcane 124, 129 Hartmann, W.H. 38 Harvey, Jonathan 9, 33 Mortuos Plango 5, 33 Hellman, James 22 Hendrix, Jimi 109 Henry, Pierre 33, 109 Htu, R. 51 Hopkins, Fred 131 Horkheimer, M. 139, 142 Howard, J. 50 Huse, Peter 53, 55 Ives, Charles 118, 127 Jacobs, Henry 67 Jameson, F. 133 Jarsky, Irne 42 Jerse, Thomas 166 Johns, Jasper 101, 104

Jones, David Evan 64 Jones, Jonathan 114 Joyce, James 103, 104, 132 Jung, Carl 89 Kandinsky, Vassily 104, 149 Kastler, Daniel 44 Keller, Homer 64 Kirk, Anu 42 Koffka, Kurt 29 Koons, Jeff 131 Krause, Bernard 55 Kronland-Martinet, Richard 36 Kussmaul, Cliff 42 Landy, Leigh 42 Lansky, Paul Night Traffic 10 The Lesson 1214, 15 Quakerbridge 2323, 33, 164 Lazarof, Henri 64 Lger, Fernand 108 Lejeune, Jacques Deux aperus.. 859 Levin, T.Y. 139, 145, 147 Lexier, M. 51 Ligeti, Gyorgy 64 Lindberg, Magnus 33, 64 Little Richard 129 Lucier, Alvin I am Sitting in a Room 1214, 15, 23 Lukcs, Georg 109 Lyotard, J.F. 20, 152 Macero, Teo 111 Mche, Francois-Bernard 33 Mackey, Steve Never Sing Before Breakfast 164 Maclean, Marie 12 Mailer, Norman 22 Mailliard, Benedict 36, 37, 39 Marinetti, F.T. 132 Martin, George 119 Mathews, Max 31, 36, 38 McAdams, Stephen 5, 29, 50, 74, 136 McClary, Susan 113, 123 McKinney, Martin 42 McLaughlin, John 115 McLuhan, Marshall 3, 120



McNabb, Michael 33 Metz, C. 51 Meyer, Leonard B. 64 Mimaroglu, llhan 67 Minire, Claude 33 Moroder, G. 112 Munakata, Shiko 162 Nancarrow, Conlon 115, 165 Nattiez, Jean-Jacques 50 Nietzsche, Friedrich 8 Norman, Katharine 36, 42, 67, 138 People underground 235 OHara, Frank 104 Pachnike, P. 108 Paddison, Max 127, 139, 140, 141 Parker, Charlie 112 Parmegiani, Bernard La Cration du Monde 81 Paul, Les 109 Prince 109 Pritchett, James 120 Radano, Ronald 125 Randall, J.K. 12, 14 Greek Nickel Pieces 165 Ravel, Maurice 64 Ray, Man 108 Redolfi, Michel 33, 64 Reich, Steve 92, 109, 131 Reich, Wilhelm 133 Richter, Hans 10811, 114 Riley, Terry 92 Risset, Jean-Claude 1920, 20, 23, 52 Inharmonique 33 Invisible Irene 4242 Invisibles 27, 4242 Lautre face 33 Little Boy 27, 3335 Miirages 35 Passages 27, 3436 Saxatile 33 Songes 4244 Sud 1617, 27, 33, 3642 Voilements 33 Rudow, Vicki 67 Ruebsaat, Norbert 56

Russolo, Luigi vii2 Saariaho, Kaija 81 Sani, Nicola 42 Schaeffer, Pierre 33, 36, 50, 64, 695, 109, 136, 142 Schafer, R.Murray 52, 524, 55, 56 Schnittke, Alfred 125, 127 Schoenberg, Arnold 136 Shepard, Roger 29, 34 Shepherd, John 50 Skryabin, Alexander 149 Smalley, Denis 31, 44, 52, 61, 728, 81, 138 Tides 816 Valley Flow 86 Starr, Ringo 128 Stockhausen, Karlheinz 3, 5, 5, 64, 112, 121 Stravinsky, lgor 64, 111, 123, 152 Taruskin, Richard 64 Tchaikowsky, Peter 64 Teruggi, Daniel 33 Thomas, D.M. 22 Thoreau, Henry David 98, 100, 102, 103, 104 Todd, George 64 Toop, David 133 Torigoe, Keiko 53 Truax, Barry vii, 50, 52, 52, 53, 57, 58, 59, 603, 72 Pacific 84 Turner, Tina 123 Underwood, lan 115 Ussachevsky, Vladimir 64 Vertov, Dziga 20, 108 Varse, Edgard 31, 10912, 11417, 124, 125, 127, 128 1, 130, 15760 Victor, Knut 33 Watson, Johnny Guitar 115, 129 Wessel, David 29, 136 Westerkamp, Hilda 52, 568, 5859, 60 Windsor, W.Luke 136 Wishart, Trevor 33, 48, 61, 72, 75, 87, 138 Red Bird 7779 Vox-5 816 Wolff, Christian 157 Wollen, B. 155 Wolvin, A.D. 51 World Soundscape Project (WSP) 528



Xenakis, lannis 41, 64 Young, John vii, 48 Inside Out 87 Young, Neil 132 Zapf, D. 56 Zappa, Frank 108, 109 Zorn, John 146