I’ve spent a lot of the past couple of months answering quizzes, researching music concepts, listening to music I’d never consider listening to were it not for my course, and writing essays.
Fun. (Sarcasm not intended.)
One of my subjects for uni is called Sound Synthesis and the Sound Environment. As our lecturer explained it on the first day, synthesis is the thesis + the anti-thesis of, in this case, how sound behaves, and the synthesis of sound is about putting sounds together. Basically, this subject is about composing music via electronic means. No, we’re not creating techno music. Actually, this semester, our assessments were about recording “found” sounds — everyday sounds as you would hear them in the real world — and creating compositions using software available at university (ProTools, Mbox, Absynth, etc.) so that our compositions consist of “found” sounds and “abstract”/”effected” sounds — not at all like how it sounds in the real world. The result is not techno, electronic dance music, electro-pop or other similar genres of music, as I said before (though the methods of composing music may be similar), but instead you get music like:
- Etude aux sons animes (1958), Pierre Schaeffer
- Bells and Brakes (1997), Shaun Rigney (an Australian composer)
- I am sitting in a room (1969), Alvin Lucier
Yes, all of the above are classified as “music”. If you don’t think that’s music, then you need to open your mind more. John Cage, famous worldwide for his “silent piece”, 4’33” (a pianist sits at a piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds without playing a single key), and known for beginning the electronic music genre, once wrote:
I believe that the use of noise to make music will continue and increase until we reach a music produced through the aid of electrical instruments which will make available for musical purpose any and all sounds that can be heard.