Saturday, August 24, 2019

Assumption "A": Rhythmical Performance Suggests Continuity and Discontinuity

It is assumed here that a rhythmical performance will suggest continuity and discontinuity at one and the same time; a non-rhythmical performance will suppress either the continuous or the discontinuous aspect of the compositional structure. How can we know whether a delivery instance displays at this point continuity or discontinuity or both? 

We might say that we know that a delivery instance (delivery = notational gender) is continuous or discontinuous or both by listening, just as we see that the book is read by looking, or as we tell that the tea is sweet by tasting it. 

By listening to two delivery instances of this verse instance, we may prefer one to the other according to whether it does or does not suggest continuity and discontinuity at the same time. We can also establish the aural correlates that make these suggestions. 

The present approach assumes that continuity and discontinuity can be suggested at one and the same time by using conflicting musical cues, thus committing "organized violence" against performance processing. This cannot be done by merely looking at the notational output, only by listening to the sound output. 

As composers, we must provide ample empirical evidence that flesh-and-blood performers do, indeed, attempt precisely these solutions. We are also compelled to provide precise empirical evidence that those vocal devices do have, indeed, the predicted effect (though this requires further, and more rigorous, experimentation ).

Friday, August 23, 2019

Compositional Obstructionist Theories of Otto Werner (1927-2008)

Compositional Obstructionist Theories of Otto Werner (1927-2008), Professor of Music at Colorado State University.

Werner shared a profound theoretical manifesto only to his students (and never to external practitioners) based on Sebastiano Timpanaro and Jeremy Benthem's Panopticon writings. I studied with him for two years.
His outstanding gifts of textual criticism took the form of adversaria and punctual annotations that eventually yielded over a thousand pages of meticulous dissection of musical passages.
Werner cites a “plurally fraught metaphysical universe,” and a refusal of an authoritative “panoptic vision” of the world, spoiled both his own attempts at composition and the efforts of music critics looking for a tidy interpretive framework through which to engage and explain him. But as students of Werner, we echo his intent of a loose definition of young composers, the so-called “speculative realists.”
From Professor Werner... "the Panopticon is not merely, as Foucault thought, “a vicious, ingenious cage” (Werner misquoted this), in which subjects collaborate in their own subjection, but much more—constructing the Panopticon produces not only a prison, but also a god within it. The Panopticon is a machine which on assembly is already inhabited by a ghost."
Werner's Redactionist approach to composition and performance was revolutionary and an absolute inspiration to a small, intimate group of composers.

Here is my response to my teacher/mentor...a purely Wernerian work employing all of his compositional coordinates.
This work of mine, "Organization Interpenetrate" for Obstructionist Solo Organ (Duration 1:43:34"), has been reviewed as "vexatious, galling, maddening, impossible, antagonistic, mundane, irritating, plagued, pestiferous :: subversive, insurrectionist, profound, political, extremist, 'provocateurian', hilarious, brilliant and untouched."
"Organization Interpenetrate" for Obstructionist Solo Organ on Soundcloud.