Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Reading List

To stay true to my six credits worth of research this summer, I have been trying to read a fair amount. Here's what I have read so far:

Selected essays from Audio Culture

I have already read many of these, so I read some I had not yet explored. I think this is a great reference to have on hand, so I plan to buy it eventually.

Miller - Sound Unbound

This was another collection of essays, and I essentially read it cover-to-cover. One of my colleagues requires it for his undergrad Music Tech class, so I wanted to see how it was. I liked it a lot, but I would not require this for that particular class. Most of the essays, while great for those interested in the history of media, are very specialized, and not particularly relevant to a class that attempts to bring undergrads up to speed on Finale and Reason.

Chanan - From Handel to Hendrix

This was a great read. Since G.F. Handel and Jimi Hendrix rented houses next to each other in London (centuries apart of course), Chanan uses that as a jumping off point to examine evolution of composers' role in society, from court servants to businessmen to academics, etc. Many of the anecdotes I had read elsewhere but Chanan has a pleasant writing style and ties together a lot of interesting ideas about economics and politics as well as art.

Tarasti - A Theory of Musical Semiotics

Since we touched on Semiotics in my Analysis class this semester, I wanted to get a better grasp of the subject. I've made it through the first half (and I'll probably need to read it again!). The second half gives thorough analyses of some well-known works, such as the Waldenstein sonata and Pictures at an Exhibition.

Tamm - Brian Eno

This is a pretty short (175 pages) summary of Eno's ideas and processes. It was published in '89 but it covers the music by Eno that people care about! Tamm divides his attention between Eno's rock music, his ambient music, and his collaborations in general. A decent read for Eno fans or fans of process music.

Adams - The Place Where You Go To Listen

This book is primarily a journal of John Luther Adams's creation of his work of the same name. I enjoy his work quite a bit and admire his combination of often simple-sounding music with more complex ideas about nature and sound. This work is an installation that gives sound to various phenomena found in his home state of Alaska, such as the position of the sun, seismic activity, and the Aurora Borealis. Interesting read, just wish I could experience the actual work!

Feldman - Give My Regards to Eighth Street

A collection of essays by another favorite composer, Morton Feldman. Really fun. Not done yet but will eventually purchase - can sit next to my copy of Silence.

Kim-Cohen - In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art

This title (and subtitle) were just too good not to check out. Kim-Cohen has a breezy writing style that made this a joy to read. There are a lot of ideas here so I will need to revisit it. Essentially, Kim-Cohen compares sonic art with visual art - particularly conceptual art from the second half of the twentieth century. He claims that sonic artists have retained an essentialist, phenomenological approach while visual artists have gone beyond this - and he wants sonic artists to do the same. Again, much to absorb and think about.

Chanan - Repeated Takes

Another book by Chanan, a taut and exciting history of the recording industry, from Edison, Bell, et. al to the proliferation of the CD and so-called "world" music. It was published in 1998, so I'd be very curious what Chanan makes of CD burners, mp3s, and all that has happened in the last 13 years. From reading this book it seems that the music industry has always had the same complaints regarding piracy and their inability to keep up with new technologies.

Next up include:

Kahn - Noise, Water, Meat (been wanting to read this for awhile)

Attali - Noise: The Political Economy of Music (not too long, but still looks intimidating)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time Out

I am at the computer too much. Every summer during grad school I get excited about working and work all day, developing RSI. I haven't let it get as bad as I have before, but it's time for a break. It's really hard to force myself NOT to work, but here we are.

FLIP is going to perform The Tiger's Mind by Cornelius Cardew tomorrow, which will be a good change of pace for me. Hopefully we'll be able to get some video of it.


Friday, July 8, 2011

more Lilypond fun

I've been working on a short piece for piano 8 hands (2 players on keys, 2 inside). This gave me another opportunity to learn more about Lilypond. As Nympholepsy is just a solo, I had a lot more layout issues to deal with on this one. Also, arpeggios, cross and diamond noteheads, clefs, and how to override just about anything.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Six albums now on Bandcamp

The past two days I spent uploading my albums to (quite time consuming, but I got some reading and other stuff done). I think Bandcamp is well run - artist interface is very intuitive, and the "fan" interface is very clean. Although I have some of my music in other places such as CDBaby, I think it's nice to put everything on a site where it can be streamed for free.

I even uploaded albums by my old bands!

Main link: