What is experimental music today? This book offers an up to date survey of this field for anyone with an interest, from seasoned practitioners to curious readers. This book takes the stance that experimental music is not a limited historical event, but is a proliferation of approaches to sound that reveals much about present-day experience. An experimental work is not identifiable by its sound alone, but by the nature of the questions it poses and its openness to the sounding event. Experimentation is a way of working. It pushes past that which is known to discover what lies beyond it, finding new knowledge, forms, and relationships, or accepting a state of uncertainty. For each of these composers and sound artists, craft is developed and transformed in response to the questions they bring to their work. Scientific, perceptual, or social phenomena become catalysts in the operation of the work. These practices are not presented according to a chronology, a set of techniques, or social groupings. Instead, they are organized according to the content areas that are their subjects, including resonance, harmony, objects, shapes, perception, language, interaction, sites, and histories. Musical materials may be subject, among other treatments, to systemization, observation, examination, magnification, fragmentation, translation, or destabilization. These restless and exploratory modes of engagement have continued to develop over recent decades, expanding the scope of both musical practice and listening
We have needed a reformulation of what experimental music now means, i.e., what has become since Michael Nyman took stock of it in 1974and this book beautifully fulfills that requirement. Jennie Gottschalk takes a fresh and independent look at experimental music of the last forty years, finding both points of continuation from the previous era and many novel and heartening developments. It is also an adventure story with surprising twists and a panoramic cast of characters, like a novel in which works and ideas are the central figures, seemingly with a collective life of their own. --Michael Pisaro, Composer and Faculty Member, Composition and Experimental Sound Practices, California Institute of the Arts, USA
Reading Experimental Music Since 1970 it is impossible not to be dazzled first by the range and imagination of experimental music and sound art that is being made today, and second by the way in which Jennie Gottschalk has described and catalogued so much of it, so lucidly. Impeccably and authoritatively researched, by a writer who is both a practitioner and an astute observer, it deserves to be the go-to reference for years to come. --Tim Rutherford-Johnson, author of 'Music After The Fall: Modern Composition and Culture Since 1989', UK
This book is a unique achievement. Without catering to current fashions or well-worn academic assumptions, it transcends the limits of both journalism and traditional musicology to be both comprehensive and insightful. Reading it has helped me to ask new questions about a history that I thought I knew quite well. --David Dunn, Assistant Professor of Music, University of California Santa Cruz, USA
Jennie Gottschalk (born 1978 in Stanford, CA) is a composer based in Boston. She holds a bachelor's degree in composition from The Boston Conservatory (2001), and a masters degree and doctorate from Northwestern University (2008). Teachers have included Larry Bell, Yakov Gubanov, Jay Alan Yim, Augusta Read Thomas, and Aaron Cassidy. Recent performances in Los Angeles (Dog Star Orchestra) and Chicago (Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble). Her dissertation and current work explore connections between American pragmatist thought and experimental music. Current projects include a string quartet, a childrens book, an experimental music blog (soundexpanse.com), and a residency at the Conway School of Landscape Design. For additional resources related to this book, please visit the authors website at soundexpanse.com.