Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 13 (2003)

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 ]

Groove, Pit and Wave


Groove, Pit and Wave

Nicolas Collins


The Influence of Recording Technologies on the Early Development of Electroacoustic Music

Peter Manning

ABSTRACT: From the earliest experiments with the manipulation of 78-rpm disks during the 1920s, the technology of recording has played a major role in the evolution of electroacoustic music. This has extended not only to the recording and reproduction of materials but also to key components of the compositional process itself. Although such influences have become less prominent with the advent of digital technology, their impact during the formative years of electroacoustic music was significant and far-reaching. This article examines some key aspects of the pioneering era of creative development through the early 1950s, with particular reference to the Bauhaus sound artists, Pierre Schaeffer and musique concrète, and the Cologne studio for elektronische Musik.

John Cage and Recording

Yasunao Tone

ABSTRACT: There is general agreement that John Cage's attitude toward records and recording was ambiguous and not necessarily coherent. However, if one closely analyzes his work and his evolution of the concept of the art---that is, from his pieces for prepared piano to his use of I Ching for Music of Changes to 4'33" to his prototype of Happenings at Black Mountain College in 1952---one finds a critique of something that other composers take as self-evident. Cage's critique of recording relates to the representation as re-presentation of music. The author aims in this article to discover/uncover Cage's critique of the metaphysics of presence through his work and utterances.

Christian Marclay’s Early Years: An Interview

by Douglas Kahn

ABSTRACT: The artist discusses with the author his early career and influences. Marclay explains his upbringing in Switzerland and his lack of familiarity with American mass culture, to which he credits his early experiments in art, music and performance using records. Marclay describes the evolution of his use of records and discusses other influences, such as art school and the New York club scene of the 1970s.

Recursive Audio

by Nick Collins

ABSTRACT: Algorithmic procedures for the cutting and splicing of audio can be iterated to explore the technique of recursive audio cutting. The author investigates both implicit (intuitive) and explicit (analytic) methodologies applicable either to prerecorded signals or to continuous streams in real time, with an emphasis upon practical implementation. The techniques can be of immediate use as special effects for audio processing, as well as in deeper explorations of fractal music. This work has grown out of a broader search for new audio cutting procedures. Analysis is also provided of the trends exposed by such routines in relation to the order of recursion employed. An appendix connects this work to the subject of time-map representations, and a glossary is provided for the terminology of cuts employed.

The Music of the Sphere: An Investigation into Asymptotic Harmonics, Brainwave Entrainment, Gestural Improvisation, and the Earth as a Giant Bell

by David First

ABSTRACT: The author discusses a conceptual framework for the organization and performance of music that has its basis in the frequency relationships of the Schumann Resonances and in the principle of binaural beats. He describes the steps he took in conceiving the project, the technical issues involved in realizing the goal of live data transmissions from a remote location and the creation of the three-dimensional overtone series that is the project's theoretical centerpiece. He also lays out his philosophy of improvisation and treads lightly into the curious grey areas where science mutates into leaps of faith.

Regenerative Feedback in the Medium of Radio: Study 1.0 (FM) for Radio Transceiver

by Matthew Burtner

ABSTRACT: The author discusses compositional applications of feedback in the medium of radio as a means of exploring the nature of transmission and reception. His Studies for Radio Transceiver are presented here along with a detailed discussion of Study 1.0 (FM). This composition juxtaposes the historical and technical use of feedback in radio with audio signal recursion. Regenerative feedback is used to redefine the compositional capabilities of the medium.

Artist’s Notebook: TOHU BOHU---Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments

by Guy-Marc Hinant

Damaged Sound: Glitching and Skipping Compact Discs in the Audio of Yasunao Tone, Nicolas Collins and Oval

by Caleb Stuart

ABSTRACT: From the initial release of the CD in 1982 artists have tampered with the system to test it, compose with it and sample from it. The author examines the use of the cracked and manipulated CD in the work of Yasunao Tone, Nicolas Collins and Oval in relation to their differing approaches and the role of the CD in sound expansion. Tone and Collins are interested in indeterminacy and the benevolent catastrophe in composition while Oval's process has more in common with pop production and studio practices.

Displaced Soundscapes: A Survey of Network Systems for Music and Sonic Art Creation

by Álvaro Barbosa

ABSTRACT: The introduction of various collaborative tools, made possible by the expansion of computer network systems and communications technology, has led to new methods of musical composition and improvisation. The author describes a number of recent music and sound art projects involving the use of network systems that enable geographically displaced creators to collaboratively generate shared soundscapes. Various system designs, ideas and concepts associated with this interaction paradigm are presented and classified by the author.

Hand-Luggage: For a Generative Theory of Artifacts

by Holger Schulze

This text is based on a talk given by the author before the post-graduate colloquium Praxis and Theory of the Artistic Process, Berlin University of the Arts, 24 June 1999. It was translated with the help of Laura Schleussner.

ABSTRACT: This article presents the basic elements and strategies of a generative theory of artifacts, the Theorie der Werkgenese. Starting with a narrative reconstruction of Mike Mills's TV commercial for Adidas, the text briefly outlines a history of aleatoric games and heuristic strategies in the classical avant-garde as well as in postmodern follow-ups and late-20th-century pop music. Finally, the various fictions conveyed by the commercial are narrated in a new way, demonstrating generative analysis.

Early Musical Impressions from Both Sides of the Loudspeaker

by Sérgio Freire

ABSTRACT: A metaphoric image of the loudspeaker and its sides sums up the spatio-temporal ruptures that started shaping aural perception in the late 19th century: on one side, the listener; on the other, sound events conveyed by phonographic products, radio and various sound-recording devices. Diverse practices as well as samples of theoretical and aesthetic thinking from the early 20th century illustrate how new media have affected the musical imagination and listening in general.

Extended Abstracts

NOTE: The articles below appear in an online special issue of Leonardo Electronic Almanac. The articles' extended abstracts appear in print and are also linked here.

Christopher Burns and Matthew Burtner: Recursive Audio Systems: Acoustic Feedback in Composition

Michael Bussière: Performance Space Meets Cyberspace: Seeking the Creative Idiom and Technical Model for Live Music on Broadband

Marlena Corcoran: The Gallbladder Sonata: Transmission Time on the Internet

Trace Reddell: Mediating (through) Imagination: Web-Based Sound Art

Tobias C. van Veen: Turn/Stile: Interpreting Udo Kasemets’ CaleNdarON for a Single Turntable with Treatment and Surfaces


Splitting Bits, Closing Loops

Curated by Philip Sherburne

Introduction: Splitting Bits, Closing Loops

by Philip Sherburne

CD Contributors’ Notes

AGF, Leo’s Code
M. Behrens, For the Further Consequences of Reinterpretation
Alejandra & Aeron, Village Football
DAT Politics, Bag
Stephan Mathieu, A Microsound Fairytale (Conclusion)
Francisco López, Untitled #115 (Part 1)
Francisco López, Untitled #115 (Part 2)
Institut fuer Feinmotorik, Slo
Janek Schaefer, Rink (excerpt)
Steve Roden, OTR
Scanner, Spirit Trace
Stephen Vitiello, Slow Rewind

2003 Leonardo and Leonardo Music Journal Author Index

Updated 6 June 2007