Publicación bilingüe del Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras Año VI | Número 11 | Julio – diciembre 2013 Director: Rodrigo Sigal
Interacción entre sonidos instrumentales y electrónicos: posibilidades y perspectivas
When composing, the normal course of action is to imagine a sound, sometimes check or adjust it at a piano, then write it down: notate it. Is there any essential difference between such traditional ways of working and the composing of computer synthesized music? At the terminal a sound is also imagined, tried out, adjusted and then saved in program language notation: a very similar procedure. […] There is a feeling that we are contemplating a defiantly, yet faithful mirror, who constantly poses relevant questions. We modify a parameter and react emotionally to the result. We modify another parameter and this change produces another emotion, subtly different, perhaps even disconcerting. […] We repeat hundreds of times this back-and-forth path between the objective and the subjective, until it is reached a kind of mutual adaptation.
In the editor’s notes for this issue of Ideas Sónicas/Sonic Ideas, dedicated to the interaction between acoustic instruments and electronic sounds, I feel compelled to mention our sorrow over the departure of a great creator, Jonathan Harvey. His work with interactive models created new frontiers in the musical and cultural production of our time. His creative thinking, immortalized in the above text, perceives interaction as being more than a mere sum and connection of different parts to form a whole. Instead, it is an imaginative process which begins in the most intimate moments of the genesis of a work, reflects itself throughout the maturing process, and is finally revealed in the result. Works such as Madonna of Winter, Spring, Death of Light / Light of Death and Weltethos will remain in our memory and claim their place in History, projecting the thoughts and sensibilities of their creator. The music has not vanished, the spirit remains, and the magic of listening and enjoyment it brings will remain with us. Dear Jonathan, we salute you. In the call for contributions for this edition of Ideas Sónicas/Sonic Ideas, it seemed relevant to explore how composers and performers design and implement strategies that lead to the creation of models and practices for the interaction between instrumental and electronic sounds. These may be technological or compositional methods, or even procedures conceived by the performer to solve challenges posed by the composer and the score, or to refine the relationship between the computer system and the actual moment of producing music. Such models or practices reveal a close relationship how music is conceived. They are a reflection of individual approaches towards the technological capabilities that nowadays are available to the creator. Some proposed topics, such as musical gesture, connections between compositional materials, juxtaposition or overlapping of elements, continuity or discontinuity, abstract thinking versus laboratory experimentation, seem to have an important (if not essential) role in the creation of an interactive vocabulary associated with compositional thought – or an interpretative attitude towards the musical work. We believe the texts presented here give a substantial response to the questions we raised in the call for papers. Fernando Iazzetta addresses important aspects of how the differences between the instrumental/acoustic and electroacoustic worlds can contribute effectively to create a unified, coherent musical discourse, which takes advantage of the characters particular to each, and how they reflect (either by similarity or by opposition) the relation between the individual parts, of the whole that constitutes the body of a musical work. The relationship between the composer and the technological means available is discussed in the article by Mario Mary. There is an important warning about how technology can negatively influence the thoughts of the composer, and the risks of adaptation, or even an aesthetic subservience, which are caused by the composer’s submission to the available technological paradigms. We also present four texts, which are more directly related to personal composition strategies, addressing different perspectives on how the composer’s creative thinking can interact with, and make use of, technological tools. Rui Penha presents solutions to a compositional challenge, whereby a graphical representation of physical models projected in space is used to produce musical gestures, and to generate the structure of a work. Robert Ratcliffe focuses on aspects of hybridization in a composition, and how technology can play an active role in creating new hybrids. Jorge Variego uses Markov chains to analyze the style of Charlie Parker, introducing the possibility of their use to define a compositional language. Finally, Elsa Felipe discusses various ways in which technological changes lead to a closer relationship between composer and interactive systems, al-lowing a greater ease in the production of musical gestures. There are many possible paths of communication between the composer / score / interpreter, especially if technology actively intervenes between each element. The presented texts propose a deep understanding of the models used in the construction of a mixed work, and possible ways in which those models may be implemented in the actual performance. The main focus of these texts leads towards a perspective of a strong integration between acoustic and electronic sounds. Pedro Bittencourt analyzes three works for saxophone and electronics, and details how collaboration between the composer and performer influenced the final result. Felipe Amorim discusses the relationship between the performer and pre-recorded electronics, and how sound characteristics and gestures present in the prerecorded material can actively influence the interpretation of the work. It is our hope that these texts will be of interest to our readers, and that they may provoke dialogue, the exchange of ideas and contributions. Music creation, both as composition and interpretation, is a constantly evolving process, to which we can all actively contribute. The commitment and cooperation of all mentioned authors is deeply appreciated. We hope you enjoy reading this issue of Ideas Sónicas/Sonic Ideas.