Michael Beil: Material Shift

I have been reading Michael Beil’s article ‘Material Shift‘, which can be found in Musical Material Today edited by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Frank Cox, and Wolfram Schurig. The following is by no means an exhaustive review of Beil’s text, but a collection of points which resonate with my current research.  I highly recommend reading the whole book, details of which can be found here. The article is interesting in that it presents a particular perspective on defining ‘material’ in musical composition (something which is not straightforward in general). According to Beil, it is the meaning of ‘material’ which takes precedence over the actual ‘material’ (which is defined as ‘building … Continue reading Michael Beil: Material Shift

‘Social History and Music History’

I have been reading Trevor Herbert’s chapter ‘Social History and Music History’, which can be found in The Cultural Study of Music. It has been encouraging thoughts about the notion of ‘History’ and how to define it. This can be done in relation to a number of methodologies. Nevertheless, as Herbert’s chapter demonstrates, the conglomerate of these methodologies does not produce a definitive classification of what ‘History’ is. However, I think this is a good thing. It suggests that ‘History’ is potentially a dynamic social organism in itself. Herbert’s chapter explains that the development of an overall body of historical methodology … Continue reading ‘Social History and Music History’

Foucault, Michel, ‘A Preface to Transgression’, in Bataille: A Critical Reader, ed. by Fred Botting and Scott Wilson (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), pp. 24-40

Although not about music, Foucault’s ‘A Preface to Transgression’ is discussed in musicology and has inspired compositions such as James Dillon’s Blitzschlag. [1] On first engagement, frequent rhetorical questions, and sentences with multiple clauses add an ambiguous quality to the overall message, but this is waylaid on each re-read when the questions begin to facilitate engagement with each concept. As such, Foucault teaches his point rather than dictates it. Through examples of Bataille’s work, and reference to the thoughts of other philosophers, for example Kant and Nietzsche, Foucault explains how transgression is neither negative nor positive, and because transgression is the act of … Continue reading Foucault, Michel, ‘A Preface to Transgression’, in Bataille: A Critical Reader, ed. by Fred Botting and Scott Wilson (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), pp. 24-40

Camilleri, Lelio, ‘Shaping Sounds, Shaping Spaces’, Popular Music, 29.2 (2010), 199-211

A relatively new article referenced in pop and rock music literature, Camilleri portrays how ‘sonic space’ can only be fully explored through the techniques of acousmatic music. With diagrams and references of popular music, this article provides an understandable explanation of ‘sonic space’ being a multidimensional world comprising the interaction of, what Camilleri terms, ‘localised space’, spectral space’, and ‘ morphological space’. The distinction between time-dependent and time-independent ‘sonic space’, a pertinent perspective within the scope of this bibliography’s topic, is made when Camilleri explains that ‘localised space’ focuses on a sound’s situation and movement; ‘spectral space’ focuses on timbre, … Continue reading Camilleri, Lelio, ‘Shaping Sounds, Shaping Spaces’, Popular Music, 29.2 (2010), 199-211

Stockhausen, Karlheinz, ‘Music in Space’, Die Reihe, 5 (1961), 67-82

Despite being a widely referenced article in the field of spatialised and electronic music, [1] Stockhausen’s contribution to Die Reihe has received mixed reactions: the language being described as needlessly complex, Stockhausen has been accused of not understanding his topic as well as he portrays. [2] Contrastingly, a more positive review suggests that Stockhausen’s contribution to Die Reihe is the most sophisticated out of the journal’s seemingly random content. [3] ‘Music in Space’ is generally understandable and only ventures into ambiguity with the inclusion of diagrams that, on first glance, require more explaining. Although deep focus and several reads lessen this initially apparent complexity, some background knowledge in acoustics … Continue reading Stockhausen, Karlheinz, ‘Music in Space’, Die Reihe, 5 (1961), 67-82