/ Bricoleur and Engineer in Computer Music
placement in the engineer category. At the other end of the spectrum, particularly Oswald is using recorded material with very clear references. It is part of his music that the listener should be able to recognize the source. In Pizzicato Five's case, the reference is not clear, but becomes a more unspecified index to certain musical styles or TV series of the past. None of these musicians are concerned with speculations about the physical properties of sound or abstract composition methods. They regard their material as sound in a cultural sense: recorded music. The musical meaning of their pieces is created to a large extent by the interplay between the audible events and their references to existing music and musical styles. If we try to place these four works into normal style and genre categories, we would place Saariaho and Truax in the stream of Western art music, Oswald in the American tradition of experimental music as described above, and Pizzicato Five as international pop music. Whereas we could expect to meet Saariaho and Truax at a conference like the ICMC, this is unlikely with Oswald or Pizzicato Five, even if their music clearly qualifies, according to the open definition discussed in the introduction. Our study does not confirm that computer music constitutes some substantially new cultural formation which goes beyond existing style and genre demarcations. This might be due to our limited material, which can not be said to be representative. But we rather think that it is a sign that the computer music discourse addressed in the definition for the ICMC 2000 and discussed in Chambers' 1994 paper, is itself a part of the 'engineer culture' as described above. The lack of cultural focus when discussing computer music in favour of mathematically-oriented research is in total compliance with the 'engineer tradition' of Western art music as we have described above. It adds to the impression that the amount of learning required to be able to work professionally with computer composition software is not small, even for a trained musician. Programming skills are needed in order to work out your ideas, and in most cases translation of musical ideas into mathematical algorithms is necessary to a degree that would be unacceptable in most other professions. It is our claim that this increased willingness on the part of some computer music composers is not incidental, but an affirmation of the engineer tradition. The price to be paid for this is that computer music, the 'engineer way', is extending the serial music's compartmentalization as expert culture. Adding an aesthetic dimension to a field like this is a little bit like inviting a stranger in. A true interdisciplinary approach, comprising a wider cultural perspective on computer-created music has a long way to go, not the least in creating a theoretical foundation. We understand the emphasis on the creative aspect as a theme of this conference as a sign of willingness to enter this process, and we hope to have shown through our study that musicology has a positive role to play. REFERENCES Chambers, Evan K. 1994. The Computer Music World View: Sketch of an Ethnomusicological and Aesthetic Approach. In Proceedings of the 1994 International Computer Music Conference, edited by Steffen Brandorff. Arhus: International Computer Music Association. ICMC. 1999. ICMC 2000. Calls for Participation [Internet]. 1999 [cited 8. November 1999]. Available from http://www.icmc2000.org/participation/#papers. Konishi, Yasuharu: Happy End of the World. Pizzicato Five. Matador CD, OLE 198-2 CDP 7243 8 59181 2 4. L6vi-Strauss, Claude. 1976. La pensde sauvage. Paris: Plon. Okkels, Ingeborg, and Anders Conrad. 1999. Bricoleur og ingenior i computermusikken. Unpublished thesis, Institute of Musicology, University of Copenhagen. Oswald, John. 1986. Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative. Musicworks (34):5-8. Oswald, John. 1999. Plunderphonic [Internet]. 1989 [cited 28. February 1999]. Available from ftp://vorlon.mit.edu/pub/plunderphonic. Pierce, John R. 1996. Computer Music, Coming and Going. Computer Music Journal 20 (1):49-51. Riethmtiller, Albrecht. 1994. 7. Symphonie A-dur, op. 92. In Beethoven, Interpretationen seiner Werke, edited by Albrecht Riethmtiller, Carl Dahlhaus and Alexander L. Ringer. Laaber: Laaber-Verlag. Saariaho, Kaija: Lichtbogen, IO, Verblendungen, Stilleben. Avanti Chamber Orchestra, Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Finlandia CD, FACD 374. Truax, Barry. 1990. Composing with Real-time Granular Sound. Perspectives of New Music 28 (2): 120-134. Truax, Barry: Pacific Rim. Computer and Electroacoustic Music by Barry Truax. Cambridge Street Records CD, Csr-CD-9101. Xenakis, lannis. 1971. Formalized Music. Thought and Mathematics in Composition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Top of page Top of page