Master of Creative Arts - Research
Faculty of Creative Arts
Spence, John, The absentee performer: the impact of replay on electronic music, Master of Creative Arts - Research thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2010. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3416
In the first half of the 20th century electronic musical instruments were conceived as instruments that would be played by virtuoso performers. Yet these instruments had little impact on the development of music at the time. Many of them either resembled conventional control interfaces such as electronic keyboards or were free tone control interfaces such as the theremin, which had no precedent in conventional organology. Paradoxically it was the technology that was developed for archiving and reproducing music that had a more significant influence on the way electronic music was composed and performed.
Various types of recorded playback technology such as the turntable, magnetic tape and the digital hard disk became a format whereby composers could generate and sequence music using electronic processing and editing technology. Composers used the sound studio as a laboratory to explore the new frontier of captured sound as well as utilising playback as a means of performance including collaborations with live performers.
However it was the emergence of digital sequencing that made it possible for composers to explore interaction between live performers and electronics to the extent that the live performer could influence the playback system.
This thesis examines the art of replay in the context of works by composers of electronic music and documents the development of an interactive computer and live performer ensemble that uses digital sequencing and replay on a file-sharing network. The accompanying folio of works illustrates some of the creative possibilities.