Computers and Music

It is a pleasure to be writing for Zeitschichten!  Ironically, when I was asked to contribute by Matthias, I specifically said, ‘Sure, as long as I can write about something other than Stockhausen!’  Oh, the irony.

One of the disadvantages of teaching music post-World War Two can be difficulties in bringing recordings to class.  If what interests me, as a musicologist, differs from what interests the composition faculty at my institution, there may not be recordings in our library.  Furthermore, online databases, such as Classical Music Library, have significantly fewer 20th-century recordings, probably due to copyright issues (I would assume).

This morning, then, I found myself in a familiar predicament.  I want to play Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge in my class tomorrow as an example of electronic music (and a very interesting piece).  The only copies we have in our library are records from the original issue, and the classroom in which I teach has no record player.  What to do?

Happily, I stumbled upon Medien Kunst Netz, a website in German and English dedicated to media art, a broad category encompassing any interaction between a medium and art.  One of the tenets of this website is that the materials should be available for free to allow anyone to study them.  There is a recording of Gesang der Jünglinge, the score, and a sound profile that one can watch while listening to the piece.  The website also contains several interesting essays about media art, ranging widely from visual art, music, television, perception, and many other topics.


3 comments for “”

  1. If I am counting correctly, this is the 100th post on this blog!


    Posted by Matthias Röder | December 3, 2008, 7:41 pm
  2. Great, Gesang der Jünglinge is indeed a wonderful work. It makes sense to use an online version in case you are in a rush. And if your sound system is not of very high quality, the mp3 online version may sound close to the result you would get with the uncompressed format. But given that the composer released the piece on CD, with a 180-page booklet with pictures, sketches, and analytical insight, I hope your library will be able to purchase it (from Stockhausen-Verlag, this is not mentioned in the web site).

    Posted by Jean-François Charles | December 4, 2008, 2:32 pm
  3. Jean-François, thank you for letting me know about this CD! I will certainly alert my library to get a copy of it.

    Posted by Zoë Lang | December 15, 2008, 5:36 am

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