Musix Essay

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Music in the Chords of Eternity © 1996 Alistair M. Riddell Department of Music La Trobe University Bundoora Victoria Australia Abstract Over the past decade contemporary music has increasingly employed the sounds of the world as an alternative or adjunct to the extant repertoire of musical sounds. What this means for music is an expansion into a relatively new language domain; one with familiar associations, but distant from the notion of music. The underlying mode of this compositional process concerns the exploitation of meaning in the sounds of contemporary life, and its use is already wide spread throughout numerous contemporary styles and genres. The catalyst for this musical direction is technology. Without its diversity and dynamic growth such a direction in music would not be possible. The most challenging examples can be found where music technology is at its most experimental. The influence of technology is, however, by no means clear. Thus, compositions which use or re-interpret the sounds of the world are not necessarily in the process of defining a new aesthetic or style, rather they are continuing the cultural dynamic of later twentieth century music. Keywords: Real-World Sound, Noise, Recording, Signal Processing, Music Technology. ...and listen to the sounds of the day as though they were chords of eternity.1 When I encountered the above quotation beneath the title of Adorno's essay portrait of Walter Benjamin, I was struck by the perspective given to that which, on initial reflection, appears nothing more than mundane and persistent. But here, in this wisp of text, lies an intriguing suggestion; to listen, assimilate, connect and sense a temporal continuity through-what is commonly understood as noise-the sounds of the day. Certainly, it is but a fragmentary and vague enticement to make an auditory summation of a moment then think of it

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