Article

Combining the Acoustic and the Digital: Music for Instruments and Computers or Prerecorded Sound

Simon Emmerson

in The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199792030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199792030.013.0009

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Combining the Acoustic and the Digital: Music for Instruments and Computers or Prerecorded Sound

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The world of the acoustic instrument has changed profoundly in the wake of the onslaught of electronic sound and media. A very important development was to combine the acoustic instrument with prerecorded sound on a fixed medium. While the emphasis in this article is on the contemporary digital world, it also discusses its analog prehistory. This article discusses how the instrumentalist responds—literally and musically—to this disembodied “other” (even when it is a mirror image). Whether as extension to the human performer's mind and body or as an independent performer in its own right, the computer is helping develop new forms of music-making, but the future is never predictable. Live coding, circuit bending, and dirty electronics have all challenged the prevailing orthodoxy of “steady improvement in technical performance.” Human creativity works well with limits—a limit is not necessarily a limitation. What form self-imposed limits take will be the question.

Keywords: electronic sound; media; acoustic instrument; instrumentalist; music-making

Article.  9134 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music

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