Leonardo Music Journal Volume 12 (2002)


with Compact Disc

Leonardo Music Journal is a print journal, published annually. Leonardo Music Journal is edited by Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, and published by the MIT Press.

ONLINE ACCESS: Subscriptions to LMJ include access to electronic versions of journal issues available on The MIT Press website.

ORDER: Subscriptions, individual issues and articles can also be ordered from The MIT Press.

[ See also the Tables of Contents and Abstracts of past issues of Leonardo and LMJ ]

Pleasure

Introduction

Thoughtful Pleasures
by Nicolas Collins


Articles

Pleasure Beats: Rhythm and the Aesthetics of Current Electronic Music

by Ben Neill

ABSTRACT:The division between high-art electronic music and pop electronic music is best defined in terms of rhythmic content. Pop electronic music uses repetitive beats, primarily in 4/4 time, but a new generation of composers is working within that structure to create what is essentially the new art music. This phenomenon is an outgrowth of such historical currents as minimalism and postmodernism, along with the continuing development of a global technoculture; it is part of a larger cultural shift in which art is becoming more connected with society rather than being created by and for specialists. This positive development is being accelerated by the rapid evolution of new technologies for producing and reproducing music today, as well as by new possibilities for distribution and dissemination of music electronically.


Machines of Joy: I Have Seen the Future and It Is Squiggly

by David Byrne

ABSTRACT:The author discusses the relationship of human and machine in Northern European "Blip Hop." The embrace of electronic and computer technology by the region's inhabitants finds its musical expression in peculiar stylistic attributes. The author identifies a preference for obviously non-natural sounds, an avoidance of rhythms easily danced to and a disposition toward effects only achievable through computers (as well as the sounds of the malfunctions and failures of such technologies) as indicative of Northern European acceptance of this modern symbiosis.


Human Bodies, Computer Music

by Bob Ostertag

ABSTRACT:The author considers the absence of the artist's body in electronic music, a missing element that he finds crucial to the success of any work of art. In reviewing the historical development of electronic music from musique concr¶te to analog and then digital synthesizers, the author finds that the attainment of increased control and flexibility has coincided with the reduction of identifiable bodily involvement by the performer. He contrasts this trend with the highly physical intervention and manipulation, first practiced with atypical electronic instruments such as the theremin, subsequently introduced to the electric guitar by Jimi Hendrix and his followers, and then to vinyl by turntable artists. He concludes that the tension between body and machine in music, as in modern life itself, can only exist as an experience to examine and criticize and not as a problem to resolve.


Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective

by Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha

ABSTRACT:The authors trace the history of electric performance art. They begin with the roots of this art form in 18th-century experiments with "animal electricity" and "artificial electricity," which were often performed as public demonstrations in royal courts and anatomical theaters. Next, the authors sketch the development of increasingly powerful techniques for the generation of electric current and their applications in destructive body manipulation, culminating in the electric chair. Finally, they discuss the development of electric muscle-control technology, from its 18th-century beginnings through Duchenne de BoulogneÍs photo sessions to the current work of Stelarc and Elsenaar.


Some Sadomasochistic Aspects of Musical Pleasure

by Reinhold Friedl

ABSTRACT:The author posits that a dynamic of sadomasochistic pleasure is at work in contemporary music. The rise both of compositions that equal a set of technical instructions and of perhaps impossible requirements upon performers can be seen to make the act of taking pleasure in their execution a form of masochism. The audiences of increasingly intellectualized musical styles could be said to enjoy a similar relationship to their performance. And in the more physical "noise music," the intended effect is often not auditory pleasure but suffering. The author recounts a number of sources in his discussion, from Freud to Nietzsche, Adorno, Schumann and Stockhausen.


I Know It's Only Noise but I Like It: Scattered Notes on the Pleasures of Experimental Improvised Music

by Ricardo Arias

ABSTRACT:The author, a Colombian improvisational musician residing in New York, muses about the pleasures associated with experimental improvised music. He draws from his own experience and from ideas borrowed from the viewpoints of others to present a deliberately disjointed picture of the subject.


A Graph Topological Representation of Melody Scores

by Leonardo Peusner

ABSTRACT:This article is an informal presentation of a rather trivial observation: if a melody score is translated into a graph, the resultant drawing has aesthetic qualities that parallel in the visual domain the pleasure of experiencing the music in the auditory realm. Moreover, this beauty has several interesting elements of precision that the author explores using the simple though rigorous tools of graph theory.


That's Comish Music! Mutant Sounds

by Frieder Butzmann

ABSTRACT:The author reflects on the uneasy relations among pleasure, humor and music by way of a German word meaning both "strange" and "funny." Such music arises out of mutation from the sounds that their creators attempt to get "right."


Playpens, Fireflies and Squeezables: New Musical Instruments for Bridging the Thoughtful and the Joyful

by Gil Weinberg

ABSTRACT:The author discusses research in music cognition and education indicating that novices and untrained students perceive and learn music in a fundamentally different manner than do expert musicians. Based on these studies, he suggests implementing high-level musical percepts and constructionist learning schemes in new expressive musical instruments that would provide thoughtful and joyful musical activities for novices and experts alike. The author describes several instruments---the Musical Playpen, Fireflies and Squeezables---that he has developed in an effort to provide novices with access to rich and meaningful musical experiences and recounts observations and interviews of subjects playing these instruments.


Eine Kleine Naughtmusik: How Nefarious Nonartists Cleverly Imitate Music

by Dave Soldier

ABSTRACT:The author poses the question whether or not those who are not bona fide artists generate "genuine music." He discusses his research on children, animals and resultant networks that cunningly assemble collections of sounds designed to fool listeners into believing them to be genuine music created by true composers.

Artists' Statements

The Sheer Frost Orchestra: A Nail Polish Bottle, A Guitar String and the Birth of an Orchestra

by Marina Rosenfeld

Techno, Trance and the Modern Chamber Choir: Intellectual Game or Music to Groove To?

by Robert Wilsmore

Sounding the Ritual of Sensual Rebellion: Pacific-European Resonances

by Bruce Crossman

The Red Bus Stops Here

by Amnon Wolman


A Nonmusician's Life in Music

by Yale Evelev

ABSTRACT:The author reflects on his experience as a devoted music fan who has made music and its dissemination of it the center of his work and life. He documents his progress from early fascination with American musics to a growing engagement with myriad African and Asian styles, and from amateur collecting to increasing professional involvement. As a result he is currently president of an international music label, but remains committed to sharing his particular enthusiasm for his favorite independent artists and musical forms.


The Psychoacoustics of Mono

by Robert Poss

ABSTRACT:This discussion of the dynamics of sound memory finds the author's nostalgia for music essentially monophonic in nature and considers some possible explanations for this phenomenon.

Editorial

Pleasure Has an Opposite, or Somewhere over Whose Rainbow?

by David Rosenboom


LMJ12 CD COMPANION

From Gdansk till Dawn: Experimental Music from Eastern Europe

Curated by Christian Scheib and Susanna Niedermayr

Introduction: Pleasure from Gdansk till Dawn

by Christian Scheib

CD Contributors’ Notes

Tigrics: Everbeener (Hungary)
Olga+Jozef: 7B2 (Slovakia)
Wolfram: Sentinel (Poland)
nicron: highpass.2 (Hungary)
EA: s. pool (Poland)
Daniel Matej: SATIollagE (Slovakia)
Borut Savski: Birdy Activity (Slovenia)
Molr Drammaz: niezano (zano) (Poland)
The Abstract Monarchy Trio: Schrattenberg (Hungary)
Arszyn: Oho!---rzek_a _ydówka, ukazuj_c drugie, du_e, czarne oko. (cz___ druga) (Poland)
Vladimir Djambazov: The Secret Life of a Can (Bulgaria)
Jeanne Frémaux: Fret Accord (Croatia)
Arkona: Komputerliebe (Poland)
Vapori del Cuore: Great Dance (Czech Republic)
Martin Burlas: monika vypovedá (Slovakia)

Commentaries

Ana María Romano: Comment on "The Development of Electroacoustic Music in Colombia, 1965--1999: An Introduction"
Lucio Edilberto Cuéllar Camargo: Response

Editors' Notes: Texts by Paul Burwell on the Web, Identification of Mystery Composers

2002 Leonardo and Leonardo Music Journal Author Index

Updated 6 June 2007