Research Data Leeds Repository

Keynote 1: The Many Histories

Emmerson, Simon (2016) Keynote 1: The Many Histories. University of Leeds. [Dataset]

This item is part of the Alternative Histories of Electronic Music collection.

Dataset description

Definitions of genre generate an attendant canon – we need examples and we call these ‘paradigmatic’. There’s a simple reason – words are not adequate to describe musical experience. To demonstrate what we mean we can after all use the original – play the music. Concrète, Electroacoustic, Acousmatic, Computer, Tape, Live, Algorithmic, Free Improv, Glitch, Noise etc. - and their many off-shoots and hybrids … Each can (and does) generate its own canon. There follow questions of quality: is the canon necessarily ‘good music’ – it may be ‘good example of the genre’, showing clearly the characteristics to be demonstrated. But that’s not the same thing. Time is limited – especially in our ‘everything is available universe’ we need ‘help’ to find what we do not yet know. We delegate to somebody (or something?) we trust. Historically we have willingly and sometimes unwillingly delegated this to others who have an authority taken for granted: from defined curricular in schools, class and peer networks (and their agglomerations into ‘tribes’, ‘clubs’ etc.). We assume these ‘given’ histories have been progressively undermined. But be careful – have others emerged to replace them? We might think that histories thus become ‘objects’ for our choice. But how do we choose? Or can we create our own? Are we reliable? Do we leave the new searches to ‘chance’? Who are the gatekeepers? Of course these are questions for all aspects of knowledge in this new information world. There is much inaccurate history out there. If hierarchies of history have become more open to debate then we need some framework to discuss relative rather than absolute value. ‘Importance’ becomes a local negotiation. The many and various contributions to the development of synthesis might equally invoke the ‘mash up’ of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar amp or the experimental turntablism of Grandmaster Flash. Reliability is tenuous and a potential minefield: - There is the obvious point that there has been a strong set of normative cultural views – these seem to ask what is the ‘right’ history? - Then we have legitimation – a complex issue where one group (perhaps even an individual) validates or legitimates their practice through citing the high cultural capital of another – however distorted that history becomes. How has music made with technology fared so far in the creation of its multiple histories? This paper will try to address some of these questions with examples from the literature (or remark upon their absence) and from my own observations of the changing views and perspectives over the last 40 years.

Subjects: W000 - Creative arts & design > W300 - Music
W000 - Creative arts & design > W300 - Music > W310 - Musicianship/performance studies > W316 - Electronic/electro-acoustic music performance
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures > School of Music
Related resources:
Date deposited: 27 Jul 2017 19:14



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