Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-10-30 - 6:17 p.m.
BS has moved on from IRCAM to the Pompidou Centre – what an old luvvie he must be. Meanwhile in June, Galliope from NYC knocked out a handy paper on technological rupture in music, based on the BS view, which he delivered in Sheffield. He identifies a set of major discontinuities in the technology of music since the prehistoric era. They are:
- the sonorous voice
In each case the technology is a focus of trust and the site of condensed memory. So with notation you no longer have to remember the tune but you trust the notation to carry the writer’s intentions.. There is a strong Detroit strain to this agenda – the place where notation, mechanical instruments, sound recording and synthesis gel into a production platform sometime in the mid 1980s. An academic in Detroit relates this development to the availability of post-urban space there. I am not sure I can go that far yet. I am very taken with editing and the possible rupture involving the integration of sound and vision.
The conference at Sheffield also dealt with the Chinese room of dog feelings. Talking of dog feelings there was a brilliant programme on tv last night about the life of african dogs – then a good interview with Sue Townsend who apparently uses dogs for Orwellian purposes in her new novel.
Back to Sheffield – I mailed Laurence the overview paper which reflects post conference on where the meaning is in music. Is the meaning something like the sound, running alongside in the way that the sound runs alongside the vision? Suppose playing the music is a sequence of operations – as you play sometimes you think about this sometimes about that – this is a II-V change – must try to make sure it isnt too boring – I’ll use an 11th on the II and some chromatics on the V – oh this is a middle octave ‘e’ if it breaks I’ll make the phrase blusier etc etc. Beynon - the author - suggests that this kind of real time musical reflection might range over consciousness of time / timelessness; attention to programmatic content (possibly even explicit reference to an extra-musical experience); association with gesture, or psychological disposition; context-dependence and self-awareness as vital ingredients in performance. I think this is quite a good list.
If it’s meaningful to wonder what its like to be a bat, its meaningful to wonder what its like to be a dog sitting in a Chinese Room listening to Miles Davis or to be Miles Davis in Detroit in 1954 thinking about blues and bop.