Monday, October 31, 2011

Cutting the Conductor

When considering an audio track such as Louis and Bebe Barron's Battle with the Invisible Monster, from the soundtrack of Forbidden Planet, one thing is very obvious: the sounds were not made by a band. No orchestra of strings and wind instruments could make such noises, so they are obviously electronic in nature. When a composer no longer needs a band to make music, they can completely cut out the need for a conductor. As talked about in Audio Culture, the removal of the role of the conductor opened up many new possibilities for musicians. No longer was there a problem with the language of writing music that one conductor might see differently than the composer. Before, there was the problem of "the composer [writing] a piece of music in a language that might not be adequate to his ideas" (109). They had no actual control over the way the piece played - it might not sound much like what they had in mind.

Battle with the Invisible Monster is an example of something the artist had control over. They specifically picked each sound for a reason, and there is no loss of ideas for lack of language to adequately describe how to make a "bloop" of a noise. As we all know from earlier exercises, trying to describe one of these noises with language is nearly impossible. Each person will think of a different sound when they see just the word. The same can be considered for music notes on a sheet. When a composer has to write in this form, the exact sound they are thinking of cannot be translated into just a few notes. If they want it to be very specific, they could only hope that the conductor was thinking along the same lines as they were, and even then, it might not be right. A song like Grave Dub by Boxcutter is in a similar situation. The bloops and bleeps in it cannot really b described by a language. They are best heard the way the composer originally intended for them to be. Since composers were given the ability to make their own music through studios and tapes, this became possible.

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