Monday, October 29, 2012

LongyLab and thoughts on classical sound

On Sunday, I attended the Longy Laboratory concert at the Lily Pad at 3pm. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay for the entirety of the concert (such is a busy music student's life), but I did get to hear four fantastic pieces: "Meditations", by Jeremy Van Buskirk; and "Decay and Decadence", "Roger Come!", and "I Burn in the Sun" by Paul Sayed. Each of these was an electronic piece.

It certainly got me thinking about the parameters of new and electronic music; it's not something I listen to often, though I throughly enjoyed Sunday. At this concert, I heard undulating electronic sounds and altered bits of noise, all performed live, while watching what seemed to be a mutated projection of stars on the wall ("Meditations"); I heard experimental piano sounds from a set of speakers controlled by a midi controller, followed seamlessly by more electronic sounds ("Decay and Decadence" and "Roger Come!"); I heard a steady beat and edited voices projected in rhythm over it and a humorous Chopin etude interjection ("I Burn in the Sun"). It was all very entertaining and fascinating to me, but by the time I left I realized that I didn't have much of a frame of reference for this type of music. As you can see above, I struggle with simply trying to describe what I heard!

Experimental music like this seems to fall into the realm of classical music, and electronic music certainly does as well--however, I've noticed that people tend to think of it as almost painfully new and avant-garde, though it isn't quite so new a concept any longer. We've grown accustomed to electronic sounds in popular music; have our classical ears not caught up with us?

What makes music classical, anyway?

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