Books on (Experimental) Composition

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ajh
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Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by ajh » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:27 am

Is there any material on composing music from a non-traditional perspective? Would it be better to read material on experimental music to develop an idea on how artists compose?

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Post by tuj » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:01 am

Get anything you can on Xenakis or Cage as a start.

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oisin
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Post by oisin » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:09 pm

derek bailey - "improvisation"

very non-conventional - dealing more with colors / time / etc. . mostly from a "free improv" approach - but maybe helpful.

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madmiked
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Post by madmiked » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:45 pm

It's basic, but I really like Terence Dwyer's "Composing with Tape Recorders: Musique Concrete for Beginners"... hard copies are rare and expensive, but the whole thing is available via PDF...

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dan_k
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Post by dan_k » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:16 pm

Above are all great suggestions. Derek Bailey "Improvisation" put a lot of the things I'd recognized succinctly into words. Like having someone describe their impressions of somewhere you've been before.

Here's a few more:

David Kean's "Tape Music Composition"
although it's going to be another hard one to find.

Daphne Oram "An Individual Note of Music, Sound and Electronics"

Pierre Schaeffer "In Search of a Concrete Music"

Alvin Lucier "Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music"

Trevor Wishart "Audible Design" and "On Sonic Art"

Michael Nyman "Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond"

David W. Bernstein "The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the Avant-Garde"

Eric Tamm "Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound"

Douglas Kahn end Gregory Whitehead "Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio and the Avant-Garde"

The usual synth suspects of: Allen Strange "Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques and Controls"

Devarahi "The Complete Guide to Synthesizers"

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Post by confusional » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:34 pm

dan_k wrote: Alvin Lucier "Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music"
This is the one. Required reading. So good! :hail:

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madmiked
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Post by madmiked » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:39 pm

dan_k wrote: David Kean's "Tape Music Composition"
although it's going to be another hard one to find.
I have a copy of this available if anyone is looking...

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Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by felixer » Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:24 am

ajh wrote:composing music from a non-traditional perspective
not sure what tradition you are coming from :hihi: i mean, the whole cage/lucier thing has become a tradition over the past 50 years as well ... as soon as a book appears it's obvious that there is a past/tradition to write about.

stockhausen wrote a whole bunch of books. esp parts 2 and 4 are interesting. if you are into fully organized stuff coming from a european tradition but taking it to the n-th degree.

the really new stuff appears on soundcloud etc. usually easy to get in touch with the maker and get a dialog going about his/her techniques/views.

for me it has been usefull to read just about any book/text about 'modern music'. each one (even if you don't agree or it's badly written) has given me some hunch/clue. and there isn't one that says it all.

but experimenting on your own (in positively blissful ignorance) will let you come up with original things too. don't be afraid to do exactly what you think should be done. 'ideas from others' can quickly develop into a limitation/prison.
plus there are many moments where cecil taylor, xenakis, stockhausen and cage can sound very much alike. even though they use extremely different methods ...

ps those books can be expensive. any library in the neighbourhood? often you can order things they don't have on the shelves. ask!
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Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by tomorrowstops » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:35 am

felixer wrote:experimenting on your own (in positively blissful ignorance)
Some of my best work has been created because of this concept. But, the further my music studies go, the less it seems I can get back to this place!

What a paradox it feels like sometimes.

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rec.Koner
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Post by rec.Koner » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:07 am

Sorry for sayin, but make sure checking this discussion
viewtopic.php?t=73381
wow.. we're sky high.. that shark we just jumped over is tiny.. we're so high right now (c) found on gearslutz

my page

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Post by tomorrowstops » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:22 am

rec.Koner wrote:Sorry for sayin, but make sure checking this discussion
viewtopic.php?t=73381
Wow, excellent thread!

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felixer
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Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by felixer » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:54 pm

double post :bang:
Last edited by felixer on Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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felixer
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Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by felixer » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:57 pm

tomorrowstops wrote:
felixer wrote:experimenting on your own (in positively blissful ignorance)
Some of my best work has been created because of this concept. But, the further my music studies go, the less it seems I can get back to this place!

What a paradox it feels like sometimes.
it's like sex: you can loose your virginity only once. after that the only road open is practicing to get better&better at it. but that very first moment will never ever come again ...
but there are mental exercises that will allow you to 'clear your mind' and start afresh. in fact learning is easy compared to 'letting go'.

you will produce original stuff in 'blissful ignorance' but there will be a limit to how far you can take it because of a lack of technique. so at some point you will need to take 'the next step'. which is basically starting all over again ... and indeed you may wind up at a different place.

btw 'blissfull ignorance' is hard to come by these days as we all bombarded with sound/images/text. so what you think may be a really fresh/original thought may just as well be something you actually picked up somewhere. i'm with rupert sheldrake who postulates that there is a 'morphogenetic field' surrounding us where ideas are floating about and everybody picks up something from this pool. jung has a similar thing and calls it the 'collective subconcience'. proof of this is that every once in a while a new thing emerges from different directions and it seems like a number of people independently had the same idea: i wasn't 'their idea' to begin with. so 'being creative' doesn't neccesarily mean 'developing an idea' but more 'being receptive to the moment'. at that point you need as much technique as possible to be able to do justice to whatever comes 'flying by'.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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Post by leeski » Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:51 pm

maybe check out Yoko Ono
she way out
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Post by leeski » Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:53 pm

madmiked wrote:
dan_k wrote: David Kean's "Tape Music Composition"
although it's going to be another hard one to find.
I have a copy of this available if anyone is looking...
You can't sell here till you reach 100 posts
«:::A:::» «:::W:::» «:::E:::» «:::S:::» «:::O:::» «:::M:::» «:::E:::»

jc

Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by jc » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:37 pm

felixer wrote: stockhausen wrote a whole bunch of books. esp parts 2 and 4 are interesting. if you are into fully organized stuff coming from a european tradition but taking it to the n-th degree.
I know very little about all of this but I'm interested in reading something by Stockhausen first. How much of a theory background would you need? Could you recommend a title by him that would be a good introduction? It would have to be in English too.

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Re: Books on (Experimental) Composition

Post by felixer » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:20 pm

his official 'texte' are in german only http://www.stockhausen.org/texte.html. here's a bunch of other books, some in english http://www.stockhausen-verlag.com/ the one by jonathan cott looks like a good introduction but maybe a bit old. richard toop did an english book with more recent lectures. there are also dvd's with lectures. might be good to see the man in action as he explains/analyses his own work.
http://www.karlheinzstockhausen.org/ is the new website. that doesn't work on my old os/cpu :bang: but i guess an up-to-date internetmachine should do it ...

his concept, in short, is to start with as series of proportions and derive all aspects (melody/pitches, rhythms/form, sounds, down the colours on stage) from it. in his operacycle light he uses three such series for the three main characters. and any tool a composer/musician can get from trash-percussion to ircams 4X over an 8speaker setup. so that's quite a lot of everything :mrgreen: might be better to start off with pieces like mantra or inori that are based on the same idea but a bit easier to grasp.
what you need to know to get the most out of it is the basics of counterpoint, harmony and 12tone/serial music. a broad knowledge of all music helps too: from bach to gamalan, messian to gagaku.

then there are the groupimprovisations of 'from the seven days'/'for times to come' that don't follow any strict musical scheme but are inspired by texts.
and 'process music' like plus-minus, spiral, kurzwellen that work in a different way then the 'formel' compositions.

so it depends a bit according to what stockhausen pieces/period you like best ...




jc wrote:
felixer wrote: stockhausen wrote a whole bunch of books. esp parts 2 and 4 are interesting. if you are into fully organized stuff coming from a european tradition but taking it to the n-th degree.
I know very little about all of this but I'm interested in reading something by Stockhausen first. How much of a theory background would you need? Could you recommend a title by him that would be a good introduction? It would have to be in English too.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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Post by jheronymo » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:26 pm

dan_k wrote:Trevor Wishart "On Sonic Art"
:tu: great book, highly recommend reading

(esp. for anyone feeling discombobulated since discovering non-traditional music :help: )

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Post by tarissuoc » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:36 pm

dan_k wrote:Alvin Lucier "Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music"
Holly wiggling shit!! Thanks so much for pointing this one out :yay:
Wasn't aware of it at all and it's available online :omg:

Lucier has another book called "Reflections", mainly about his works but also about pastas...
It's been released by Musiktexte (english/german version) and i totally recommend it of course.

Danke dan_k

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Post by Slabwax » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:53 am

This is a good book on graphic scores . "Notations 21" by Theresa Sauer

It seem to be out of print now and very pricy. I'm glad I ordered mine when it was $40.00

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Post by aaooaa » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:26 am

tarissuoc wrote:
dan_k wrote:Alvin Lucier "Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music"
Holly wiggling shit!! Thanks so much for pointing this one out :yay:
Wasn't aware of it at all and it's available online :omg:
Is that an epub by chance? Do you have a link?

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Post by General_Dimi » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:24 pm

Just noticed one book that I haven't seen mentioned: "Composing Interactive Music" by Todd Winkler

In a way it's a primer on Max before it was Max/MSP and really gets your head ready for the idea of programming music by programming your own music program....if that makes any sense. Having control over decisions, options, et cetera. I usually just skim through the book to kind of open up my brain a little bit when I feel like ideas are lacking regardless of whether I'm using Max (which I haven't touched since version 4) or just sketching nonsense.

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Post by woodbank » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:02 pm

Sorry image is rather large but this documents early electronic music along with some great pictorial examples including a stockhausen event in a cave setting


Image

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Post by hyena » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:53 am

Iannis Xenakis - Formalized Music
(musiques formelles)

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Post by jheronymo » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:25 pm

Microsound by Curtis Roads is also very interesting and pertinent to modern aesthetics. Came up pretty frequently when I was studying electroacoustic composition

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