AbstractWhen using new music technology to replicate existing musical styles and techniques, the problems are mainly technological; aesthetic problems being largely explored within the rubric of existing performance, orchestration and recording practices. As composers proceed on a continuum from the stylistically known to the unknown through the application of new technology, problems increasingly concern fusing new production techniques with new art. At the extreme, innovation in language and technique need balancing with language redundancy and traditional musicianship to ensure continuity of discourse. The proposition is illustrated in forms of neo-world music (van der Lee 1998) which are beginning to explore a global music aesthetic.
The abstract above outlines the paper’s topic and thesis. The primary concern is with the balancing of art and science in digital music authorship and production, and the spectrum of approaches taken. Neo-world music is understood here to be largely western, tonally based, and rhythmically focused. Works often use a wide range of decontextualised musical traits, at times assembled in an eclectic fashion. They may also include environmental sounds, ‘non-western’ instruments, and electronically constructed sounds. Aspects of popular and art music styles are then included such as film music and electroacoustic music.
Fashionable approaches to discussing world music in popular music scholarship mainly focus on reception. For example, debates of appropriation and hegemony with the use of first nation peoples’ musical material in global popular or art music styles (Stokes 1994), or discourse analysis and identity politics (Taylor 1997). This extends to the dialectics of music and audience in the construction of meaning (Frith 1996). The creative process tends to be neglected. In contrast, art music debate is often focused on the creative act, either through articulating the tenets of particular avant-garde schools within the academy (Smalley 1997), or a concentration on technical innovations, sometimes with tenuous links to artistic outcomes.
In light of the broad range of approaches to computer music composition now happening outside the academy, the area begs integrated consideration. The approach taken here is polemic and remains focused on the authorial act in the context of changing art and technology. Through starting from a populist slant on the issues and moving to the avant-garde, new insights into some fundamental continuing production, composition and musical communication problems are afforded. This