Introduction: The Many Futures of Computer Music

Roger T. Dean

in The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199792030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Introduction: The Many Futures of Computer Music


Computer music offers possibilities for music-making that can hardly be achieved through other means. These possibilities commune between real-time creation in improvisation or other forms of interactive performance, production of scores for others to perform, and acousmatic composition. This article gives some perspectives on the scope and futures of computer music. Computer music has passed its fiftieth anniversary and is part of a slightly longer tradition of electroacoustic music. This article provides a broad introduction to the whole electroacoustic field and its history, but its explicit emphasis is on computer music in the period since the 1980s during which the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and the availability of desktop (and later laptop) computers at prices individuals could afford meant that the practice of computer music was no longer restricted to those who could access a mainframe computer.

Keywords: computer music; electroacoustic music; Yamaha DX7 synthesizer; desktop computers; mainframe computer

Article.  2099 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music

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