Over the last 10 centuries, ever since the nuem found in Gregorian chants, composers have constantly refined the way they notate music. One thinks of the unequivocal scores of the late 19th century, where an equation was reached between music as it had been created and music as it was performed.
All the while, popular music remained mostly unnotated, but it most certainly influenced what we used to call serious music. In the 20th century, these two trends crystallised in a strange form. First there was a yearning for evermore precision in notation from a large number of composers who wanted to leave no room to the interpreter’s initiative (the composer retaining control like a demiurge). This issue of exact interpretation came to an end with the invention of musique conrete and electronic music (where the composer is necessarily his own interpreter). In parallel, other composers – and in some cases the same ones – have imagined open works (Pousseur, Stockhausen, Cage…) in which the interpreter has control over the order of certain sequences. The complexity of the sound materials – integrating chance, electronics, or specific devices – gave birth to new forms of scores, themselves occasionally opened to interpretation. When music became tape music, it excluded interpretation altogether – it was played back following specific instructions. There may be something mortal (as in finished) in this observation: that is all it is. When the need to re-interpret became impossible to satisfy, we began to look for a way to change the unchangable. The remix was created to perform variations of the music text. When the object of modification is the sound material itself, the process results in new work, with all possible degrees of variation – the scale goes from 1 to 100 – from a light modification to a full-scale re-creation, by way of a middle point where the source is left recognisable and is combined to the mark of the remixer. That’s the most common form.
If one can constantly create new works from older works, then one can assert that there is no base work and that all branches are to be put on the same level.
So we can see that the idea od accuracy in interpretation, one of the biggest issues in previous centuries, was abandoned to a large extent once technology allowed us to work directly on the sound text.
Guy Marc Hinant
Guy-Marc Hinant is an author, editor, and Belgian filmmaker born in Charleroi. He directs the independent label Sub Rosa specializing in electronic music and avant-garde which he is the creator. He is edited An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music series. He has written several narrative fragments and notes on the aesthetic to the issues of the time, various international journals such as Leonardo Music Journal (SF), Luna-Park (Paris) and for the Magazine Lapin (the Association, Paris). Dominique Goblet comic author companion, he appears in his albums under the name “GM”.
At the beginning of the 1980s, he was a member of the Pseudo Code with Alain Neffe of Bene Gesserit and Xavier Stenmans group. In 2000, he founded OME with Dominique Lohlé, together they make a series of documentaries on the art of listening and noise.