Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For Today's Composers: A Conundrum, or simply a "Tempest in a Teapot?"

The composer in our time lives in a hypo-dynamic age of electronic devices that make it possible to engender a plethora of new ideas and tactics not known or conceived in preceding years.
The computer, as an example, is emerging as a tool for the composer in geometric terms, which is  actuating a sea change in creative tactics and the commensurate aural results given the listener.
For instance, as a simplistic example, a composer, by way of the computer, can fashion a piece of music for piano which can result in, say, forty or fifty notes being heard in simultaneity, which no human can accomplish.
And because for two centuries of our  having heard the human attachment to the piano, and the traditional  expectation of what ten fingers can accomplish on the keyboard, the mind can be blown away by the sound on  an instrument which had its genesis in the eighteenth century - a brilliant psychological  example, perhaps, of  a new expression in aural art.
Which leads to an issue which, in historical terms, still has its "jury out," in the form of a question having been raised by more than one creative thinker; namely: In an age wherein the composer has had direct contact with the manuscript in front of him for so many centuries, is there a problem created  by injecting  an additional  form of creative power between composer and paper; in this case, the computer?
Allow me to project a statement; specifically,  that I do not in any way mean to imply any form of opinion relating to this issue. I am simply bringing it to light, be assured.
To encapsulate: perhaps the "conundrum" described  here is nothing more than the question  "Does the computer interfere for the first time, in the history of musical creation, with the human spirit, which has always been the true and most vital phase of human creativity? In other words, is, for the first time,  spiritual contact from human to manuscript faced with an obstacle?"
Will this issue take on the form of a problem, or will this process simply be another chapter in the ever-changing nature of human exploration?
Please don't ask me...

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