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Re: Definining Experimental Music
Title: Re: Definining Experimental
At 1:06 PM -0400 8/15/03, David Kirkdorffer wrote:
Oh help! I feel a semant-a-thon
in the making...
much of what is termed
"experimental" in music and other forms lacks a
stated goal or aim, and so really is not consciously experimenting
I think the quotation marks speak volumes. Many people use
the word "experimental" because they lack the knowledge or
the inclination to understand and describe something further.
"Experimental" is in such cases often used to mean
"difficult" or "inscrutable." I think this is just
Experimental music is whatever you
think is experimental for you
What the hell does that mean?
Michael Nyman's excellent book notwithstanding, I think the
term "experimental music" should be banished from most
civilized discourse, with the possible exception on cases in which it
actually means something. I'm inclined to reserve the term for
describing music in which the performance (or the in-studio creative
process) is and experiment (as described by David Kirkdorffer). I'd
call a lot of John Cage's work of the 1960-70s as experimental because
he was trying out a variety of generative methods in order to hear
musics that he wouldn't have thought of otherwise. However, once such
methodologies have become a composer's standard practice they
lose most of their experimental quality.
Edgard Varese famously said, "I do not write
experimental music. My experimenting is done before I make the music.
Afterwards it is the listener who must experiment."
Rather than "experimental music" I've begun to favor
the term "non-pop" (thanks to Dennis Bathory-Kitsz).
Here's a pertinent article:
Richard Zvonar, PhD