Remediated interfaces of modern music software have deeply changed music composition and performance. Designed as visual editing machines most music software operates on sound objects, sequentially organized in time on multiple tracks. Today, approaches to music making like e. g. live coding, a contemporary art form in which music and visuals are programmed during performance, challenges the concept of the sound object and along the materiality of music and, perhaps even more fundamental, the concept of poesis i.e. the very condition of music making.
Materiality: From object to signal
Music per se is a time-based art form and has due to music notation a long history of literacy. A history that was broken when analogue recording technology in the 20th century turned sound into an object for phenomenological investigations. Sound was no longer just a phenomenon in time, but suddenly a phenomenon in space. As a media object it could be stored in a sound library and retrieved for analysis, manipulation and composition. Sound recording and playback led to new approaches to music composition, as in the practice of Pierre Schaeffer that originated from the listening to sound objects and not from the writing of them. The music culture of today has for a long period of time been dominated by operations of selection and compositing, or rather of cut, copy and paste taking on the legacy from Schaeffer.
- Morten Breinbjerg (DK) is an associate professor with a Ph.D. in computer music aesthetics at the Institute of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark. He researches in the field of computer music, digital aesthetics and software culture.
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