The right to make creative progress

Why musicians should be allowed to move on – and why we should, too Concert pianist Dejan Lazic caused a stir recently, by requesting that the Washington Post remove an unflattering review of one of his performances from their website. Some commenters confined themselves to expressing wry amusement at the tender egos of performers. Other voices […] […]

A Martian take on dance

A funny thing happened at 10:45 last night. A roomful of humans started to move. They didn’t move to anywhere, or move away from anything. They began to move in a strange, stylized way. They didn’t seem to be trying to reach for anything, or to achieve anything, or to perform any perceivable task at all. […] […]

Explaining brains: a cautionary fable

If you didn’t know anything about him, you’d have no reason to think he was anything other than cautious. He moves around the house quietly, careful not to disturb me as I work. He keeps to himself, for the most part. He spends much of his time in his favourite battered armchair, snoozing, snoring lightly. When […] […]

‘Musical innovation': why new music is not like a new vacuum cleaner

Musicians are sometimes described – in the media, and by themselves – as ‘innovative’. Musical innovators are progressing their genre, it is sometimes said. Expanding its horizons, making it better. They are ‘advancing their art’. This kind of talk makes me uneasy. Advancing the art – to where? From where? Our talk about music has, at […] […]

Aesthetics and philosophy of perception: happy ever after?

The discipline of aesthetics has been conducted in something of a vacuum over the last hundred years or so. Philosophers of perception have had little input, or interest, in the discipline. Aesthetics was, they felt, too concerned with formal features of artworks to have much to say about perception. And philosophers of perception were too […] […]

Music and philosophy: together at last?

What does music mean? What does it signify? Is musical meaning ineffable? What is music, anyway? These questions, and more, have been topping the agenda at the RMA Music and Philosophy study group conference in King’s College, London this weekend. Using every available conceptual tool at our disposal, we have been valiantly chipping away at the […] […]

Musicians and programmers: handbags at dawn?

“But how do we get musicians more involved with systems like this?” asked an audience-member at Sam Aaron’s talk on Overtone in Cambridge recently. Sam had discussed several ongoing issues surrounding computer music, including the search for sufficiently-abstract programming languages for sound synthesis as well as concerns surrounding digital interface design. “After all, this kind […] […]

The Laptop Orchestra

“You see,” says the sceptic, stroking his beard, “one of the big problems I have with electronic music has to do with its insularity. Not that that’s the only problem I have with it, of course!” He guffaws, compromising the integrity of the buttons on his tweed blazer. “The music – if we are to […] […]