Performer vs Electronics: Performing Music For Instrument and Electronics


Session Title:

  • Media and Contemporary Practices of Sound Art

Presentation Title:

  • Performer vs Electronics: Performing Music For Instrument and Electronics




  • More and more today performers are asked to perform compositions for instrument plus electronics. Are they ready to do so? A great deal of knowledge is required by a performer which at first looks like alien to what a performer is supposed to know. What a performer should know to accomplish such a project? How far a performer can go and how much a composer can ask for? How much a concert hall can offer? The focus of this research is on works for one instrument and electronics. They are not considered cases where the performer collaborates with the composer and researches in an institutional environment, or cases where ensembles or orchestras hire or have a person responsible for the electronic part.

    At the beginning of this research a large number of professional new music performers completed a questioner about their knowledge on computers, music technology, sound engineering , about the relative equipments they own like computer, keyboard, speakers, microphone and finally about their interest and will to program such a kind of works. Then, the paper investigates the challenges face a performer when he/she has to collaborate with a composer during the composition process, practice at home alone, and perform at concert hall. The analysis of the survey concludes to a mixture of high marks and the same time incapability to play a work with electronics. The second part of the paper takes as a case study my work ‘Hit the Beat’ for snaredrum and electronics (live and fixed). It explains shortly the way the piece uses the electronics and in more detail the way the score and the performance instructions provide enough information to a performer in order to practice and play the piece alone. As a result this analysis could work as guide for composer to illustrate and explain fully and simply the electronic part and the way the two can collaborate effectively. Finally, a number of ideas will be proposed to be considered in the music school curriculums in order to prepare future musicians to play properly and with no frustration works with instruments and electronics.

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