Tuesday, November 11, 2008

virtuosity


I was speaking with my teacher Clarence Barlow last week and he was telling me about how he used to work with punch cards to produce music. This is nothing remarkable in itself, many early electronic composers can attest to these barbaric beginnings of electronic music. What stuck out to me in our conversation was how he described the sound of a room full of people punching cards. He described the sound of this setting and how marvelous it is simply as a sound environment. I got to thinking about this sound, something I will never encounter in my life. It occurred to me that here you had a room of virtuosic card punchers who will never be assembled and practiced in this fashion again, as there is no need for this approach anymore. One could assemble a room full of people to simulate this, but they would lack the virtuosity that results from years of practice. So, another sound of the past goes undocumented and disappears quietly into the recesses of non existence.




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