Home > Bibliography > Bibliography (English) > Organised Sound (1996-) > Vol. 12, No. 1. 2007 > Theses on liveness

Croft, John

Theses on liveness


Tuesday 15 May 2007, by Rob Weale

In the domain of music for performers and electronic sounds (whether fixed or live) there are various paradigms of interaction: the performer(s) may be situated in an electroacoustic ‘environment’; there may be a primarily responsorial or ‘proliferating’ relationship; or the relationship may be closer to the traditional one between soloist and accompaniment. These paradigms preserve a relatively unproblematic dichotomy between performer, whose sound is inextricably linked to a sense of action, presence and spontaneity, and fixed or treated sound, which is more or less de-coupled from this presence. Once one tries to create a continuous, intimate relation between the two, so that one is dealing with an extension of the instrument rather than an emulated ‘other’ or environmental context, one is confronted with a fundamental difference between a sounding body whose physical properties transparently determine its sonic possibilities, and the loudspeaker, which can produce practically any sound at all. This paper interrogates this dichotomy between the fallible-corporeal and the fixed-disembodied, activating questions both about the social fact of live performance and about the compositional practices which give rise to a sense of extended instrumentality.

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