Tuesday 18 March 2008

Paul Lansky: Being and Going

Composer and Princeton Music Prof. Paul Lanksy presents an useful distinction in this essay...(for George Perle`s 80th birthday)

Rather than distinguish between 'tonal' and 'atonal', or between 'diatonic' and 'dodecaphonic', I am going to look at music in terms of two concepts, which I will call implication and reference. These are not mutually exclusive and generally interact in different ways, creating threads of understanding and perception.


Incidentally , some years ago I was after a copy of his excellent piece 'Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Campion' but it was out of print.

I emailed Paul and asked if it was available, he replied saying there was some sort of legal issue with it (copyright or contract or something boring/annoying like that), so he sent me a copy for free! (In return I sent him a copy of my 2004 album 14 Tracks/Pieces about which he had some useful comments, more about that another time).


Unknown said...

What did Lansky say about your album?

E.L. said...

he said...(I hope he does not mind me copying the email here, I cant see why he would)


Hi Ed
I got your CD the other day and had a chance to listen to it today.
It's interesting, unusual and fun. I think your strengths lie in your
to construct and contrast interesting timbres and sounds. There are
stretches that are quite lovely. If I were your composition teacher
I'd recommend
a few things: first, I think you need to work more on the overall
shape of your
songs. In a number of places there seem to be awkward juxtapositions.
I realize
that there is a heavy improvisation component in what you are doing but
I think
that the succession of events sometimes has to be more purposeful.

Second, I'd recommend that you work on your pitches. While there are a
of beautiful stretches, there are many moments where I don't get a
feeling as
if there is a compelling reason for a g# rather than an g natural, for

I realize that my observations might seem to be pushing you back towards
more conventional musical thinking. But your music is floating in a
world between
Autechre and John Cage, and I think it would be useful to try to
sharpen the position
on the spectrum that you occupy. In other words, be more wacky, noisy
and crazy,
or be more logical, clean and coherent. Both are viable alternatives.
It's my feeling
that you should work on both.

hope this helps. You've got some really fine things going, and it's
always useful
to get feedback.

oh, yes, you should think a bit more about contrasts between tracks.



First of all im very grateful to him for taking the time to listen to it, and for having the balls to be honest. In general I agree, especially about the 'pitches' (and the form of the pieces to some extent).

Overall the album was wortwhile, it asked many questions (about how to make music without the usual elements and how you can concretely work with improvised materials).

The reason I have not released anything for so long is because I have been studying/experimenting, searching for a more secure and specific sound/method, almost the opposite of what I did before (which was very free and improvised, with some formal elements on some pieces, like interval cycles and 12tone rows etc).

The review that the Wire did of the album was good also, I agreed with that too (useful feedback).

E.L. said...

Oh btw, i`ll be making a proper post about the album soon, going through it track by track/piece by piece, the one I promised to do in the liner notes (now with 4 years perspective, some pieces are as old as 2001 infact)