Contemporary Music Review (Contemp Music Rev )

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Description

Contemporary Music Review is a contemporary musicians' journal. It provides a forum where new tendencies in composition can be discussed in both breadth and depth. Each issue will focus on a specific topic. The main concern of the journal will be composition today in all its aspects--its techniques, aesthetics and technology and its relationship with other disciplines and currents of thought. The publication may also serve as a vehicle to communicate actual musical materials.

  • Impact factor
    0.00
  • 5-year impact
    0.00
  • Cited half-life
    0.00
  • Immediacy index
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  • Eigenfactor
    0.00
  • Article influence
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  • Website
    Contemporary Music Review website
  • Other titles
    Contemporary music review
  • ISSN
    0749-4467
  • OCLC
    11128997
  • Material type
    Music, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Sound Recording, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Taylor & Francis

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 month embargo for STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Journals
    • 18 month embargo for SSH journals
  • Conditions
    • Some individual journals may have policies prohibiting pre-print archiving
    • Pre-print on authors own website, Institutional or Subject Repository
    • Post-print on authors own website, Institutional or Subject Repository
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On a non-profit server
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Set statements to accompany deposits (see policy)
    • Publisher will deposit to PMC on behalf of NIH authors.
    • STM: Science, Technology and Medicine
    • SSH: Social Science and Humanities
    • 'Taylor & Francis (Psychology Press)' is an imprint of 'Taylor & Francis'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This author outlines the approach taken in a series of live-electronics works whose title is Modes of Interference, and describes more particularly the third work in the series, a sound installation using three or more electric guitars, amplifiers and computer. This installation implements a feedback network of sonic interactions structurally coupled with the surrounding environment, developing a kind of autonomous (i.e. self-regulating) and dynamical sound-generating system. However, it also bears on the electric guitar as a cultural object of strong iconic status, and more particularly on the electric guitar sonorities and their role in the rhetorics of rock music. The work is thus described as bending a ‘constructivist’ perspective to a more conceptual task of ‘deconstruction’. The author elaborates on the idea that, as a medium of situated embodied cognition, sound allows us to experience the power relationships that lie behind its coming into existence and its articulation in time.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
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    ABSTRACT: This article deals with the idea of an emergent self, constituted through a process of self-reference or self-reflexion, in Agostino Di Scipio's series of works entitled Audible Ecosystemics. This paper is not an attempt to reconstruct the composer's intentions, but to formulate an idea of the emergence of subjectivity, and its connection to sound on the basis of the series of works in question. In doing so, the paper heavily relies on G. W. F. Hegel's concept of sound as developed in his Philosophy of nature (1970. London: George Allen and Unwin), which it tries to re-actualise as a resource for thinking contemporary music. Furthermore, the paper points towards the conceptual proximity of Hegel's concept of organic life and contemporary biological concepts of autopoiesis and emergence developed by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, which Di Scipio himself draws upon.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Agostino Di Scipio refers often to system theory and transfers some of its models into his concert pieces, as well as into his installations and, recently, sounding objects. Some of these references are discussed in this paper, along with their musical implementations. In Di Scipio's Audible Ecosystemics series (2002–2005), the concept of emergence is central, meaning the unforeseen arising of higher level properties of a system from lower level processes. In the interactions between the system parts, however, sometimes lack of control creates emergency situations: to cope with the latter, Di Scipio includes self-regulating protection mechanisms in the compositional processes he designs.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper offers a survey of my musical collaboration (2010–2013) with Italian composer Agostino Di Scipio on Modes of Interference n.2 (2006), for audio feedback system with saxophone and live-electronics, and builds on my PhD research on participative musical performance on mixed music for saxophones. Di Scipio composes a network of interactions: he does not compose the sounding structure itself of the piece, but rather a set of possibilities for a performer to experiment in sound. All the elements of the piece (such as the live-electronics equipment, the saxophone, and the environment) are mutually connected and influence each other. They constitute a dynamical system, as implemented by the composer. The saxophone is not expected only to produce a variety of noise materials, but also to act both as a control device and as a filter inside an audio feedback loop. This systemic approach requires from the player a new attitude towards the instrument, as well as new manners of listening to and reacting to the sound events emerging in the performance.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the possibility of analysing (in the musical sense of the word) Agostino Di Scipio's ‘audible ecosystems’. The first part is focused on the notion of the audible ecosystem and its theoretical counterpart, the idea of emergent sound structures. With this last idea, higher levels of a musical work (for instance, the macroform itself) appear as an emergence from lower levels. As for the notion of the audible ecosystem—analyzed here through the live electronics solos named Audible Ecosystemics—this is achieved through interaction between the performer, the electronics and the environment. In its second part, the paper tries to define an analytic image of the resultant sounds of the audible ecosystems. To do so, we use the concept of imprint (empreinte in French) as it is analyzed by Georges Didi-Huberman. Then, we go back to musical analysis and argue that a musical analysis of Agostino Di Scipio's audible ecosystems involves an analysis of the relationships between what we have listened to, what we can only imagine and the compositional techniques themselves. Before concluding, the article shows an example of this way of analyzing by taking a sample at random from the piece Audible Ecosystemics 3b.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper bears on Agostino Di Scipio's work from the years 1987–2000. Early computer-generated pieces like Punti di tempo (1987) and Estensioni (1988) seem to reflect a kind of double artistic individuality. In the first piece, the musical structure is fragmented and the sound micro-structure is split in random particles. In the second (the only piece Di Scipio made with digital additive synthesis methods) both sound and the overall musical structure are worked out in a deeply deterministic way. This dualism returns frequently in Di Scipio's early career: the qualitative exploration of infinitesimal sonic units with related concepts of ‘granular’ sound, and a formalized approach to the musical macrostructure (algorithmic composition) seem to complement each other. In the winter of 1994–1995, Di Scipio started working with real-time signal processing and live electronics. He started investigating space-related phenomena, and to address himself to composing the instruments (i.e. designing the overall performance infrastructure) as a task different from composing for existing instruments, whether these are usual musical instruments or computational tools. In the new orientation, a more comprehensive view of the ‘performance ecosystem’ turned out to be crucial, and it led to important later developments (the Audible Ecosystemics series of live-electronics works). The present paper investigates these early stages in Di Scipio's career. It builds on a variety of sources and archival documents, and emphasizes that the composer's early efforts did not follow a linear path but rather raised issues and implications spreading out fanwise from one specific conceptual knot: the one concerning ‘emergence’ (‘sonological’ and ‘formal’ emergence).
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: By exploring Di Scipio's Audible Ecosystemics through the optic of a succession of practical student projects we see that the processes and forces involved in the making can in turn be viewed as an ecosystem. Some key aspects of this revolve around the ways in which technical and social matters interweave in practice—such as negotiating transitions between coding and practising—and how musical identities and design choices can interact. I draw from this the thought that the dynamics of the negotiation between the technical and social are a key aspect of electronic musical craft, but that this topic remains sparsely accounted for in our discourse. I suggest that devising better means of articulating about such negotiations—and about practice more generally—is a way in which practice-led research in this area can contribute usefully to the wider endeavour of musical research.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2014; 33(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Environments for computer-aided composition (CAC), allowing generation and transformation of symbolic musical data, are usually counterposed to real-time environments or sequencers. The counterposition is deeply methodological: in traditional CAC environments interface changes have no effect until a certain ‘refresh’ operation is performed whereas real-time environments immediately react to user input. We shall show in this article that this distinction is by no means natural and that interactivity is an essential performative aspect of the musical discovery process. The reunification of the performative and speculative aspects is obtained via a Max library named bach: automatic composer’s helper, which is a set of tools for symbolic processing and graphical music representation, designed to take advantage of Max's facilities for sound processing, real-time interaction and graphical programming.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Relative consonance of groups of compound tones is calculated using a model that is based on the physiological theory of tone consonance developed by H. Helmholtz. The calculated consonance, represented as ‘dissonance landscapes’, is at the centre of a proposed computational method for arranging tones in harmonious relationships. Examples of applying the method using an experimental software for computer-assisted microtonal composition are presented.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(5).
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    ABSTRACT: While Morton Feldman acknowledged his Jewish faith as an important part of his identity, his religion has received relatively little attention as a source of his artistic sensibilities. The influence of Judaism can be seen clearly in many of Feldman's works from 1963, including the series Vertical Thoughts and Rabbi Akiba. Sketches held at the Paul Sacher Foundation connect these pieces through the use of a common text originating in the Talmud. The idiosyncratic obscuring of the text in these pieces points to an intentional esotericism, while features of the instrumental writing in these works parallel the treatment of text and methods of questioning discussed by scholars of Jewish mysticism and Talmudic exegesis. The obsessive recasting of minute differences suggests a search for nuances of meaning and produces a timeless and meditative atmosphere, often mentioned in Feldman criticism, but rarely connected to Judaism explicitly.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(6).
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    ABSTRACT: For many years now I have been working with the idea that violins were once trees. From naïve early electroacoustic experiments designed to find ‘naturalistic’ sounds in extended violin techniques, through a series of free improvisation projects, I have finally arrived at what I think of as the beginnings of a critical ecological practice with violins out in the natural environment. Dragging violins along paths, floating them in rivers, allowing rain to fall on them, and recording the results with small microphones hidden inside the bodies, I work in a participative way with the affordances of the environment, the instrument, and my own personal skills and memories. Conventional ‘soundscape’ compositions and theories of acoustic ecology can, I argue, be seen to be neither particularly acoustic, nor particularly ecosystemic. Much environmental sound art ends up being simply representation, albeit in a sonic form. Against this, I argue for participation, a refusal to hide the presence of the artist, and a resisting against the idea of merely imposing an artistic and/or aesthetic vision onto the surface of an ecosystem. The text is supported by audio and video clips which appear as supplementary material accessible online via the article's Supplementary tab on the Taylor & Francis website (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gcmr).
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32.
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    ABSTRACT: Morton Feldman was always on the lookout for non-musical art works that he could use to stimulate his compositional process. Later in his career the iconic Modernist writer Samuel Beckett become such a model. This paper explores the hunch that Feldman's narrative process in the long works of his final period resembles the strategies used by Beckett in his famous mid-century novels. The essay specifically makes a comparison between Beckett's novel Molloy (1947) and Feldman's Triadic Memories (1981). Classic Beckett characteristics such as aimlessness, uncertainty, disintegration, and paralysis are shown to operate as well in Triadic Memories. The analysis graphs the main musical motifs onto a time chart to illustrate how they appear, disappear, and then reappear in ways that prevent predictability.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(6).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This text is a thorough examination of the different approaches to the string quartet in Italy after World War II. Starting from the perspective of the single pieces, the article discusses the features of each author in a more general way. Philosophical and stylistic aspect are considered, with the aim to make clear the main features of the compositional thought.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(4).
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    ABSTRACT: In Helmut Lachenmann's Serynade (1998, revised 2000), the solo piano is explored as a pianistic resource from which to build a new instrument and new experiential relationships to it. Drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of embodiment, I show that implicit to building instruments are encounters with wider aesthetic and historical questions—particularly of the relationships between the body and technology as they mutually mediate one another. As such, Lachenmann's exploration of pianistic technologies inherently engages with the handed-down embodied relationships that exist between player and instrument—pedagogy—both finding themselves modified and reconfigured in the moment of performance. Instrument and instrumentalist are rebuilt in relation to one another.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(5).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The author critiques the conventional understanding of live electronic music through empirical research on his own DJ practice and investigates others working in the field. In reviewing the opinions of theorists and practitioners in both the live electronic music genre and DJ-ing he argues against the body/machine dialectic that has determined much of the thinking in the former. The author forms a notion of the DJ as a real-time composer working beyond traditional binary distinctions who brings the human body and machine into a mutual relationship. Through practice-led research he charts an investigation beginning in physical human gesture and culminating in digital machine repetition. He concludes that mechanical and digital repetition do not obscure human agency in the production of live works and that this concern is imaginary. The text is supported by audio examples which appear as supplementary material accessible online via the article's Supplementary tab on the Taylor & Francis website (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gcmr).
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 2003, I presented to Ircam a proposal for a long-term research project on the subject of computer-assisted orchestration. The results of this research project lead to the prototype softwares, ‘Orchidee’ and now, ‘Ato-ms’, both used by numerous composers. With these systems, composers can specify a target sound and replicate it with a given, predetermined orchestra. The target sound, defined as a set of audio and symbolic features, can be constructed either by analysing a pre-recorded sound, or through a compositional process. The orchestration procedure uses large pre-analysed instrumental sound databases to offer composers a set of sound combinations. This procedure relies on a set of features that describe different aspects of the sound. Almost 10 years after the start of this project, it is time to look back at what was accomplished from the musical stand point, and to open some new perspectives on the subject, like the introduction of target descriptors for orchestral qualities, and orchestral layers.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Open instrumentation is a common feature of many indeterminate compositions, whether they use stave, graphic, or verbal notation. This article examines the strategies used in some of my recent work for obtaining and using materials and objects as instrumental resources, focusing on maximizing variety within carefully prescribed boundaries. In surfaces (2010–2011), the score provides instructions for specific actions, but leaves open the choice of materials to which they are applied, suggesting broad categories within which the sonic properties may be explored. The operations gradually transform and degrade the materials, emphasizing their impact on the nature of the specific realization. In things whole and not whole (2011), each orchestra member sources noise sounds using either a standard orchestral instrument or found materials. The resulting range of diverse—but clearly specified—sound types is a product of distributed choice. In imperfections on the surface are occasionally apparent (2009), the 10 performers each use the same means of eliciting sounds from surfaces; each performer must source five surfaces that are different to those of the other ensemble members. These exemplars are discussed, focusing on how carefully constrained individual decision-making when selecting sound resources by those realizing a score might be considered as a possible mechanism for generating sonic variety.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(5).
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    ABSTRACT: This text offers the insight of a player steeped in the performance of contemporary music for string quartet, with a special focus on his collaborations with Michael Finnissy and the shifting notion of chamber music over the past three centuries.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(4).
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    ABSTRACT: This article deals with the concept of instrumental gesture, specifically the gestures of bowed string instruments. These reflections are an extension of my compositional and research work at Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music (IRCAM). The idea of gesture will be explored from many angles, from the simple gesture of a performer bowing a violin to produce a sound, to the notion of compositional gesture in writing for a string quartet. I will invoke certain areas of our recent work: first the creation of gestural models based on different playing techniques, followed by the construction of a ‘gesture follower’, and finally a discussion of the different applications of the notion of instrumental gesture in my string quartet StreicherKreis. Since the main virtue of instrumental gesture outside of its natural function is, for me, that which reveals the performer's interpretation, I will explain how I endeavour to highlight these interpretive dimensions, so that the performers’ gestures themselves trigger and guide electroacoustic transformations.
    Contemporary Music Review 01/2013; 32(1).

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