This article describes the "maximalist" approach I take in my musical composition. This approach embraces heterogeneity and allows for complex systems of juxtapositions and collisions, in which all outside influences are viewed as potential raw material. I focus here on the notion of hybridization, in which two or more sharply-defined and highly-contrasting aspects of experience are combined to produce something that is both alien and strangely familiar. Recent technological advances have allowed hybridization to extend into the realms of the synthesis of sound itself, the ensemble relationship between musical lines and the connection between performer and instrument.
This page contains writings, interviews and lectures on composition, aesthetics, and computer music technology
Keynote Address to the 1995 Conference of the Australian Computer Music Association
Computer music is nearly forty years old. Electronic music is twice that old, dating back to the invention of the Theremin Vox. In that time, computer music has brought together many diverse disciplines, creating hybrids such as psycho-acoustics and algorithmic composition, as well as spawning its own diverse branches. These range from performance instruments to music printing, from MIDI sequencing to automatic transcription. Such diversification is an indication of the success of the field. Yet some categorical divisions arose as a result of philosophical schism, often in response to limitations in the technology of the day.
As this is my first trip to Australia, it seems fitting to flip things upside down and take a fresh look at some of these traditional divisions. Focusing on areas such as sound synthesis, performance, and the role of the composer, we will see which of the familiar constructs still apply and which may no longer serve our best interests. The intention here is not to survey all existing work--this would require more time than we have--but rather to discuss a few examples drawn from my own work and that of several of my colleagues in order to show that hybridization is still an active force throughout the computer music family tree.Read More