Music A Pioneer Of Electronic Music And Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Music Type: Essay Paper: #94039984 Related Topics: World Music, Classical Music, Minimalism, Anthem
Excerpt from Essay :


A pioneer of electronic music and the godfather of ambient, Brian Eno has always recognized the importance of the studio as a compositional tool. In 1979, Eno delivered a lecture entitled, "The Studio as Compositional Tool" at the New Music America Festival in New York City. Since then, Eno has written about the subject of the role of the studio in musical composition as well as recording. For Eno, the studio is not necessarily a static entity. Eno reportedly set to sell his studio in 2005, because he was "fed up" with it because, in his words, "all this equipment is sitting around looking at me and expecting me to use it," (Eno, cited by Tingen, 2005). The statement may seem ironic, given Eno's celebration of the studio as a compositional tool. However, taken in context of Eno's career and his being influenced by minimalist composition, Eno's assertion that the studio was impeding his creativity seems appropriate. According to Eno, "complexity arises out of simplicity," (cited by Tingen, 2005). Even a laptop can provide a full studio for a composer. A studio need not be a large, dedicated room with fancy gadgets, amps, and five guitars. The studio does not have to have a specific form, with specific tools and instruments. Each studio will be characterized by the unique needs of the musician, composer, or sound engineer. Tingen (2005) describes Eno's "bright and airy workspace," as being peppered with boom boxes hanging from the ceiling. Anything goes.

The studio is a compositional tool because sound engineering is integral to the inputs and outputs of music. As integral to inputs, the nature of the studio determines how the artist will work. The elements contained in the studio determine what, if any, acoustic instruments are used and what kinds of sounds will be recorded from them. Each studio will have strengths and limitations: even if those are purely ergonomic. However, many studios will boast tools that the composer has...


For example, there might be a software system that the composer is unfamiliar with. Or, a rock musician who plays the drums might balk at the sight of a drum machine. A digital-only studio will encourage an approach to composition that recognizes the potential and the limitations of the software.

Some studios combine the best of both worlds: acoustic and digital. Eno is familiar with the wide range of compositional inputs because his career has been characterized by experimentation and open-mindedness. Unlike many snobby rock musicians, Eno does not think that electronic music is not "real." Unlike electornic musicians, Eno knows that some sounds cannot be created digitally. When recording music from instruments, the "performance" aspect becomes part of the composition; meaning that there are live, temporary human elements present that add depth, nuance, and texture to the final piece. Even little errors become dimensions of the sound. Whereas using electronic or computer devices in a studio, sounds can be created, perfected, and honed (Tingen, 2005).

The studio is a compositional tool because the components inside the studio will determine how the artist will work. For example, if there is a drum machine, the composer might learn how to create loops that fit the musical framework. Studio tools determine what the end product will sound like even before the music is recorded. Even the look and feel of the studio might have a bearing on how the composer renders the inner music of the soul and records it to be shared.

Output is crucial to the studio experience, too, of course. As Eno (2004, "The Studio as Compositional Tool") puts it, "the first thing about recording is that it makes repeatable what was otherwise transient and ephemeral," (p. 127). Prior to the advent of musical recordings, it was not possible to listen at will, again and again to the same performance. Once something is played, that performance is gone forever. Jimi Hendrix might never repeat the national anthem at Woodstock in quite the same way. Recording "takes music out of the time dimension and puts it in the space dimension," according to Eno (2004, "The Studio as Compositional Tool"). This ability to transcend time is why Eno…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bass, D. (1979). ProSession: The studio as a compositional tool. Retrieved online:

Dayal, G. (2009). Brian Eno's Another Green World. Continuum.

Eno, B. (1996). A Year with Swollen Appendices. Faber & Faber.

Eno, B. (2004). Ambient Music. Chapter 17 in Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. By C. Cox and D. Warner. Continuum.

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