Williams Mix (1951–1953) is a 4'15" electronic composition by John Cage for eight simultaneously played independent quarter-inch magnetic tapes. The first octophonic music,the piece was created by Cage with the assistance of Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, and David Tudor, using many tape sound sources and a paper score he created for the construction. "Presignifying the development of algorithmic composition, granular synthesis and sound diffusion," it was the third of five pieces completed in the Project for Music for Magnetic Tape (1951–1954), funded by dedicatee architect Paul Williams.
The material, recorded by Louis and Bebe Barron, was organized in six categories: city, country, electronic, manually produced, wind, and "small" sounds; "subjected...to I Ching manipulations, producing constant jumps from one sound to another or buzzing, scrambled textures of up to sixteen simultaneous layers."The 193-page score, "a full-size drawing of the tape fragments, which served as a 'score' for the splicing," is described by Cage as similar to "a dressmaker's pattern – it literally shows where the tape shall be cut, and you lay the tape on the score itself." Thus, like a recipe, the piece may be recreated using different tapes and the score.
The work was premiered at the 25th Year Retrospective Concert Of The Music Of John Cage on May 15, 1958, and was recorded by Columbia Records producer George Avakian and issued by him on a three-LP set with a booklet including extensive notes and illustrations of scores.
Larry Austin later created a computer program, the "Williams (re)Mix(er)", based on an analysis of ""Williams Mix"", which could "yield ever-new Williams Mix scores." With this software, Austin created Williams (re)Mix[ed] (1997–2000), an octophonic variation of Williams Mix using different sound sources.
In 2012, Tom Erbe became the first person to recreate "Williams Mix" from the original score, entering each tape edit from the 193 page score into the computer, and creating performance software carefully following Cage's notes.Erbe's debut performance of "Williams Mix" was on Cage's 100th birthday, September 5, 2012, at Fresh Sound in San Diego. Erbe also created a version of "Williams Mix" for clipping.'s 2014 album CLPPNG , using clipping. samples to re-record the work according to the original instructions.
Computer music is the application of computing technology in music composition, to help human composers create new music or to have computers independently create music, such as with algorithmic composition programs. It includes the theory and application of new and existing computer software technologies and basic aspects of music, such as sound synthesis, digital signal processing, sound design, sonic diffusion, acoustics, electrical engineering and psychoacoustics. The field of computer music can trace its roots back to the origins of electronic music, and the first experiments and innovations with electronic instruments at the turn of the 20th century.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments or circuitry-based music technology. A distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments have mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, electric piano and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer and computer can produce electronic sounds.
An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronic circuitry. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an electrical, electronic or digital audio signal that ultimately is plugged into a power amplifier which drives a loudspeaker, creating the sound heard by the performer and listener.
Musique concrète is a type of music composition that utilizes recorded sounds as raw material. Sounds are often modified through the application of audio effects and tape manipulation techniques, and may be assembled into a form of montage. It can feature sounds derived from recordings of musical instruments, the human voice, and the natural environment as well as those created using synthesizers and computer-based digital signal processing. Compositions in this idiom are not restricted to the normal musical rules of melody, harmony, rhythm, metre, and so on. It exploits acousmatic listening, meaning sound identities can often be intentionally obscured or appear unconnected to their source cause.
Noise music is a genre of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.
In music, tape loops are loops of magnetic tape used to create repetitive, rhythmic musical patterns or dense layers of sound when played on a tape recorder. Originating in the 1940s with the work of Pierre Schaeffer, they were used among contemporary composers of 1950s and 1960s, such as Éliane Radigue, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, who used them to create phase patterns, rhythms, textures, and timbres. Popular music authors of 1960s and 1970s, particularly in psychedelic, progressive and ambient genres, used tape loops to accompany their music with innovative sound effects. In the 1980s, analog audio and tape loops with it gave way to digital audio and application of computers to generate and process sound.
James Tenney was an American composer and music theorist. He made significant early musical contributions to plunderphonics, sound synthesis, algorithmic composition, process music, spectral music, microtonal music, and tuning systems including extended just intonation. His theoretical writings variously concern musical form, texture, timbre, consonance and dissonance, and harmonic perception.
Pauline Oliveros was an American composer, accordionist and a central figure in the development of post-war experimental and electronic music.
Larry Don Austin was an American composer noted for his electronic and computer music works. He was a co-founder and editor of the avant-garde music periodical Source: Music of the Avant Garde. Austin gained additional international recognition when he realized a completion of Charles Ives's Universe Symphony. Austin served as the president of the International Computer Music Association (ICMA) from 1990 to 1994 and served on the board of directors of the ICMA from 1984 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1998.
Electroacoustic music is a genre of Western art music in which composers use technology to manipulate the timbres of acoustic sounds, sometimes by using audio signal processing, such as reverb or harmonizing, on acoustical instruments. It originated around the middle of the 20th century, following the incorporation of electric sound production into compositional practice. The initial developments in electroacoustic music composition to fixed media during the 20th century are associated with the activities of the Groupe de recherches musicales at the ORTF in Paris, the home of musique concrète, the Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, where the focus was on the composition of elektronische Musik, and the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York City, where tape music, electronic music, and computer music were all explored. Practical electronic music instruments began to appear in the early 1900s.
Hugh Le Caine was a Canadian physicist, composer, and instrument builder.
Indeterminacy is a composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter's free choice. John Cage, a pioneer of indeterminacy, defined it as "the ability of a piece to be performed in substantially different ways".
Source: Music of the Avant-Garde – also known and hereafter referred to as Source Magazine – was an independent, not-for-profit musical and artistic magazine published between 1967 and 1973 by teachers and students of the University of California, Davis, California. It emerged from the flourishing Californian musical experimentalism of the late 1950s-early 1960s, at UC-Davis and Mills College. The 11 issues document new music practices of the period like indeterminacy, performance, graphic scores, electronic music and intermedia arts.
Live electronic music is a form of music that can include traditional electronic sound-generating devices, modified electric musical instruments, hacked sound generating technologies, and computers. Initially the practice developed in reaction to sound-based composition for fixed media such as musique concrète, electronic music and early computer music. Musical improvisation often plays a large role in the performance of this music. The timbres of various sounds may be transformed extensively using devices such as amplifiers, filters, ring modulators and other forms of circuitry. Real-time generation and manipulation of audio using live coding is now commonplace.
HPSCHD, is a composition for harpsichord and computer-generated sounds by American avant-garde composers John Cage (1912–1992) and Lejaren Hiller (1924–1994). It was written between 1967 and 1969 and was premiered on May 16, 1969, at the Experimental Music Studios at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco for eight-track tape is a musical composition created in 1980 by Jonathan Harvey, with the assistance of Stanley Haynes and Xavier Rodet, commissioned by the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The two sounds contrasted are the tenor bell at Winchester Cathedral, England and the voice of the composer's son Dominic, at the time a chorister there, both recorded by John Whiting. The text is taken from that written on the bell: Horas Avolantes Numero, Mortuos Plango: Vivos ad Preces Voco. Music V was used to analyze and transform the sounds.
Octophonic sound is a form of audio reproduction that presents eight discrete audio channels using eight speakers. For playback, the speakers may be positioned in a circle around the listeners or in any other configuration.
Bebe Barron and Louis Barron were two American pioneers in the field of electronic music. They are credited with writing the first electronic music for magnetic tape, and the first entirely electronic film score for the MGM movie Forbidden Planet (1956).
In music production, the recording studio is often treated as a musical instrument when it plays a significant role in the composition of music. Sometimes called "playing the studio", the approach is typically embodied by artists or producers who favor the creative use of studio technology in completing musical recordings, as opposed to simply capturing live performances in studio. Techniques include the incorporation of non-musical sounds, overdubbing, tape edits, sound synthesis, audio signal processing, and combining segmented performances (takes) into a unified whole.
Sound diffusion is a performance practice in the field of acousmatic music. According to composer and theorist Denis Smalley, it describes the "projection and the spreading of sound in an acoustic space for a group of listeners" during a concert. These concerts can be seen as acoustic recitals without performers, where sound is exclusively generated by loudspeakers. In many cases, the sound diffusion is performed by the composer themselves, whose task it is to integrate and interpret the music within the concert space.