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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 35 | volume VII | March-April, 2004



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 35March-April, 2004
Sound Reviews

Music and Technology

– Roundtable Discussion –


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p. 1
Philip Glass

Philip Glass moderates a discussion with four composers about digital technology's impact on new music.

Philip Glass: How has digital technology affected your compositional process?

Morton Subotnick: I've been working with technology since the late 1950s and trying to develop technological music. Technological music — in my vision — is different from instrumental music; otherwise, there would be no reason to do it. From my standpoint, digital technology is the fulfillment of a lifetime vision. I never expected it to be this good. The effect it's had is to help make what I'm doing more complete. It's really hard for me to say exactly how that change comes because I've been working with technology from the beginning. For composers who had been writing instrumental music, the advent of digital technology is probably having a bigger overall influence.

Michael Riesman: Like many of my generation, I still write music at a desk with a pencil. But what has changed is what I am writing for. I would have to say that the most significant development in digital technology has been the development of digital synthesis and sampler technology. The other developments in the digital realm, such as the CD, DVD, digital signal processing and hard disk recording, are of course useful and convenient, but have not created new ways of producing music as have synthesizers and samplers. At present, when composing, I am well aware of the capabilities of the electronic medium and most of what I do involves both synthetic and acoustic sounds.
    Digital technology has also affected the compositional process in that it is relatively easy to produce an electronic track, even in an inexpensive home studio, which has the sound of a full orchestra. When I started writing music, the only way to hear a new piece of orchestral music was to have all the parts copied out and get it played by an orchestra. This was no easy undertaking if you were not already a well-known composer. Although it's not going to sound the same, a synthesized orchestra will provide a realization good enough to learn from.

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky): I think of technology as an extension of what's already been going on for a long while. Compared to the notational symbols of European classical music or the rhythmic patterns of West African music, a computer is a formalization of those same processes. The computer makes all that was formal






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