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ACOUSTICS


Swara hi ishwar hay.
(Sound is god)
-Hindu proverb

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MUSIC & ELECTRICITY


"Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the twentieth century."

-Pete Seeger


"I grew up on electrified music. My earliest desire to be a musician came from seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show (I’d never seen grown ups have fun before). In my mind I don’t distinguish amplified sound from acoustic sound as such. The difference between one sound and another is just that. At one time I made the electric/acoustic distinction and considered it meaningful (I played saxophone then and had been moved by Roland Kirk saying he could still make music when the lights went out). One morning, half-asleep, I heard Concerto for Cootie playing through a door and down the hall and for several seconds I thought it was Jimi Hendrix. After that the dichotomy became less meaningful to me.

My interest lies in physically generated sounds (i.e., those made by instruments or by the human body) –amplified or not. Had I grown up on Grandmaster Flash or My Life in the Bush of Ghosts instead of the Beatles and Hendrix, I might be more intrested in the synthesis of sounds than the physical generation of them. This seems more realistic to me. But . . .

Anyway, in my little world, electricity is used to amplify natural sound but not to create it. To myself I seem now to be distinguishing between where a sound comes from (physical act) rather than how it manifests. What I want from amplification is a certain amount of transparency, passivity, whatever you want to call it. This is arbitrary, it’s just what floats my particular boat. As I once made a distinction between acoustic and electric, I now seem to be making a distinction between generated and synthesized. Perhaps, having grown up in an analog world (and having lived in Luddite circumstances for several periods of time) I don’t feel the connection to the process of sound making without direct physical activity. In the long run I don’t doubt that this dichotomy is as meaningless as the prior one (at least to listeners). Sound is sound."
-Alex Ferris


If electronic musicians sought to understand what music is instead of trying to produce it, we would make tremendous progress toward solving the problem which music sets the science of men.
- Claude Levi-Strauss

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