Sunday, October 16, 2011

SEVEN FUNDAMENTAL TRAITS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC

This list below is courtesy Thom Holmes' wonderfully comprehensive book ELECTRONIC AND EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC,  2nd edition (2008).  In many ways,  the ideas presented in this book clarify and expand on 20th century avant-garde ideals and establish their potential well into the 21st century.   Upheavals still abound for those of us looking, listening and acting.


1.  The sound resources available to EM are unlimited.

2.  EM can expand the perception of tonality.

3.  EM exists in a state of actualization.

4.  EM has a special relationship with the temporal nature of music.

5.  In EM,  sound itself becomes the material of composition.

6.  EM does not breathe:  it is not effected by the limitations of human performance.

7.  EM often lacks a point of comparison with the natural world of sounds,  providing a  
     largely mental and imaginative experience.

Much of this sounds like art that has been liberated from constraints of any sort,  and suggests an open process of seeking form through self-actualization on the part of the artist's collusion with both intent and chance.  To me,  electronic music is an assertion of our shared humanity and our essential "otherness". As William Burroughs (or some other sage) once said many years ago,  "nothing is true,  everything is permitted".

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