These articles reminded me of my first ever encounter with the world of sound art. It was about 8 years ago and I was driving in my car listening to NPR when they mentioned they were introducing a sound artist (sadly i don't remember his name). He focused on the sounds of rain and would lay out various types of material in his backyard and collect the sounds the rain would make. They played a long clip of his sounds and it was so memorizing. It was musical but it did have a different quality also from music. I feel while music and sound art are closely linked, sound art I believe has the ability to be more flexible, as it doesn't need to necessarily be tied down to a genre or class.
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When I'm attempting to create a sound piece a large part of the process is from the chaos that exists from pure sound and figuring out how to create even a small amount of order. The unknowable and uncontrollable aspect of the sound an object is doing much of the speaking
Inversely, when I create a musical piece, I start from order. I consider the instrument, tempo, time signature, key, scale, etc. as the means of expression. However this doesn't mean both are completely distinct. I often find myself drifting between the two as both are sources for inspiration where similar means bring us to a different end.
I will read more later.
"What is sound art?" is a question I was curious about myself. These readings all offered some insight, Mark Garry's article especially because I was unknowing about where music falls in. Sound-art versus music seems to be a question/dilemma inherent to my tastes because I want my sound pieces to have some musical qualities--such as rhythm, tempo, and melody. I like the idea that there is no difference between sound-art and music but I think I'm more sympathetic to the idea that they are two very separated entities, with many parallels. I guess I'm interested in the blurry spaces in between where sounds and music are combined. I have a strong background in music so its difficult to know where the lines are drawn between music and sound and, more importantly, how far to go musically in my own work here. I think the music falls into the broader catagory of sound and that sound does not have to be in anyway musical.
After reading these articles, I realized that in order for a sound art piece to really work it is necessary to have a strong visual to go along with it. For me it was hard to even listen to or watch some sound art piece where someone just randomly played on equipment, but now I see it more as a theater performance. I still believe that some randomness is hard for me to appreciate but I am getting there.
I feel that sound art, like any other term, exists more usefully as a way to generally refer to something, rather than a way to ultimately define something. Sound is something that exists in and of itself, and any attempt to use it for a particular effect or manner of communicating and idea can be considered sound art if the constructor of a piece feels as though that term applies to the work in question.
While the readings conveyed no clear distinction between sound art and music, the common ideas centered around sound art as a challenge to conventional ideas about music and art. The idea that sound art makes an intentional effort to appeal to visual and sensory palates came across as a suitable definition to me. One of the readings mentioned that the fact that sound art does not require musical background differentiates it from music in that anyone in tune with the sensory world can give it a try, but this is understating the training in audio editing techniques and sound equipment required of a sound artist.
Vitiello distinguished sound art from music in the way that it relates to space. I like the idea of a spatial element of sound. The space seems to transcend the physical world too. When an artist reveals the "sounds of silence," a new space is created. Lockwood describes the importance of the audience to be "absorbed" by sound. I am really fascinated by the concepts of sound and space and want to think more about it this semester...
All in all, the definition of sound art seems to be subjective and perhaps it is better this way. When we adhere to definitions we tend to put up boxes and new conventions that in some level limits creativity.