DESCRIPTION: In the event I will use a Theremin to give a truly analogue source, this source will then be digitised as continuos control data in MIDI. This data will then be sent to eight receiver machines via the Ethernet network. As these eight machines receive the data they will convert the data back to sound via Absynth, a soft synthesiser. Others in the space will be free to alter the sound on the receiver machines to generate a varied sound scape in the space. To encourage heterodyning, the Ethernet network will be allowed to lag the signal over time so that the performance will be randomly off time building on the soundscape.
What interests me is that at the head of this performance, I will be performing three roles simultaneously: that of the composer, the performer and one of the conductor, gesturing at the aerials of the Theremin in front of my cyber orchestra pit. Roland Barthes in 'Musica Practica' talks of the change in the way we define the musician.
'To find practical music in the West, one has now to look to another public, another repertoire, another instrument (the young generation, vocal music, the guitar). Concurrently, passive, receptive music, sound music, is become the music (that of concert, festival, record, radio): playing has ceased to exist; musical activity is no longer manual, muscular, kneadingly physical'; but merely liquid, effusive, 'lubrificating', to take up a word from Balzac. So too has the performer changed.'
(Barthes, R Image Music Text 1977: 149-150)
Barthes has focused on the change from classically trained musician as being a performer performing written music as the composer probably intended. In contrast he compares this with more modern styles of musical performance. What Barthes does not explain is that the modern musician is more likely to be more than just a musician. A contemporary guitarist for example, would not only play his/her instrument but also might be a composer, creative with the likes of sound, tone and colour. Barthes also has overlooked that the musician may also tack on the roll of a conductor. This takes the traditional view of the 'one man band' to a new medium even if the source of this is an instrument that started its influence in the 1920's.