Rolf Langebartels
Internetproject Soundbag

update from January 4th, 2003
... Avoiding a description of Electronic Music is certainly not accidental and also it is not sufficient to ascribe this evident lack to the addiction of composers to mask as technicians. The difficulty is rather founded in the subject itself.
It is nearly impossible to characterize a noise in another way than by determining the object or event, that causes the noise, or by mentioning other similar noises, of which it reminds. Also words like "cracking" or "roaring", which have been expanded and faded to transferable general terms, stick to their relation with certain noise causing materials like wood or water, even though as a fleeting association only. On the one hand it is only possible to speak about noises by determining their origin, on the other hand it is just the recollection of daily events or objects producing the noises, what should be avoided in Electronic Music.
By associating listening Electronic Music will be distorted and will be deprived of its musical meaning. Because listening to a noise as music means: taking it for itself isolated from its environment instead of understanding it as a sign and signal of an event that is causing the noise or of that it is reminding. The noise is promoted, to say it as a formula, to an esthetical subject: to an object of perception that becomes absorbed in a phenomenon because of itself, unconcerned by its origin and function. Because of this the term of noise music - when the word "music" combined with "noise" should have any comprehensible sense - can have no other sense than that noises could be perceived in a similar way like tones: as acoustic phenomenons, that exist for themselves, standing out of daily life, in which noises are signs for events.
It is the esthetical perception, that changes the noise music into music, an esthetical perception, that certainly has to be able to establish relations to the characteristics of the object. Not any object is suitable to be transformed into a work of art by esthetical contemplation. ...
Carl Dahlhaus
Esthetical Problems of Electronic Music
aus Fritz Winckel (Hrsg.), Experimentelle Musik, Schriftenreihe der Akademie der Künste,
Band 7, Berlin 1970, S. 81-90
SOUNDBAG is an internet project by Rolf Langebartels. A collection of items relating to Sound Art and Audio Art. Contributions are welcome. Please send them to the email address below.
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