[-empyre-] Hearing and Listening / reading-listening space

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Mon Jun 23 07:24:51 EST 2014

dear all, dear Paul Dolden

still behind, but only a few days, naturally
I started to listen a bit, after Paul sent us a link to his work ('Below the Walls of Jericho')
and was captivated by his 'Seuil de silences', and the density and complexity of the music
and what it evoked...

.. exquisitely beautiful!

thanks for mentioning the link yo your work.

Johannes Birringer

Wednesday, 18th: Sound Art, Technology and Innovation
Sent:Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:43 PM

[Paul schreibt]

Well I will start today, since I have not participated yet. (I am responsible for question #2, about opera using recorded signals. N.B. "my question" was more a joke i sent out to alot of friends with some  sarcastic comment about concert hall practice and its contemporary  relevance.)

If you look at the many comments for the New York Times article, people are scandalized that an opera company would think of using samples to replace the orchestra to keep costs down. One thinks immediately of Foucault's discussion of authenticity in the arts. But I do not want to go in that direction please. As much as I would like to discuss that the depth of Wagners' timbres are not possible with the Vienna Symphonic library in which all instruments were recorded with the same small diaphragm microphones, which creates bad phasing when huge densities of instruments are used. I will repress the gear geek in me and proceed.

The story, of the opera,† came out while reading last week's highly theoretical discussions, which were amazing, but left me still thinking that we as cultural workers have created almost no shift in how people think about the art of sound reproduction and music consumption. 

For your average person recordings are their experience of music. They consume recordings in their car, home and office. If they are walking down the street and are not wearing ear buds, they are confronted with street musicians, most of whom are jamming to a pre-recorded tape!

By contrast when we try to interest the public in just listening whether in the art gallery or concert hall with nothing to see, people think they are being "ripped off." And yet our use of technology is far more interesting and subtle than the new Celion Dion album. (n.b. and please: "nothing to see"-I am thinking of more than† electroacoustic music and its diffusion ideas!-even though i live in Quebec!)

Where do we go from here, in making the audio format, (which may or may not involve some type of live performance) to be more understood and appreciated for your average person?

Or to put the question in even simpler terms, and make it personal....(indulge me for a moment, the people who know me at this forum know my dry wit):

Why can i always interest and amaze your average person with my guitar wanking, than the extreme detailed work i have to do to mix and project 400 tracks of sound?


For bio, music excerpts, recordings, reviews etc go to:


To see a video of a chamber orchestra work go to:


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