What exactly is a composer?

The innovation of the Tape Recorder and  Synthesizer had a great impact on art and on composers. Today, technology has changed the way we make music. In the field of music, there are composers who exclusively work with electronics and machines and not necessarily with performers at all.  Their process of writing music down has shifted from using pen and paper to using machinery.  The ways today’s composers produce their work is radically different from how the past composers such as J.S. Bach or Beethoven worked.

Listen to this Soundfile: Clouds Forming Over Mount Baker by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, originally from Orcas Island and currently based in Los Angeles.  She uses a Prophet 5 (Links to an external site.) (an analog synthesizer) (Links to an external site.)  and Buchla music easel (Links to an external site.) ( an electronic musical instrument) to make the sounds in her piece.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSVrsu-Zdww

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Listen to this Soundfile:  Appalachian Grove I by Laurie Spiegel


After listening to the two soundfiles above, discuss whether electronic music fit with the old school composers model?  When we bring in these new tools which change the sound and the creative process does it change the art? Does it matter how the sound made, meaning with traditional instruments or electronics?  Is electronic music valued as much as traditional western music? In what way do you think each piece is faithful to traditional classical western music?


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