Monday, February 04, 2008

Blogging New Music

For new musics to have a real and useful presence online we must better convey the fact that we believe that our musics are both lively and deep and that they are well worth paying some attention. Our web presences have to be thicker with sounds, scores, useful information and opinions, we have to be more active, updating and introducing new material at a more rapid and regular pace, and we have go to take greater risks, with both our sounds and our statements. We have to bring more voices to the table and cultivate contrariness and controversy.

Composing is (usually) an individual sport, and most composing bloggers have, naturally, been soloists, sometimes in isolated blogs, other times imbedded into their webpages. That's my excuse (well, that and a little problem with getting along well with others). But this isn't the only way to blog and a group blog, like that at Sequenza 21, has some advantages. I like the fact that Sequenza 21 does not have a staff style, and the loose community that has grown around it is a real achievement. But I miss a sense of urgency there -- days go by with no new postings, and conveying urgency is an essential factor in conveying the vitality of our music. The Score, the New York Times' attempt at a blogging platform for four selected composers, came in March last year, with little fanfare (to be fair, being hidden behind paid admission didn't help) and went out again in April with less fanfare and no laments. I think that the fit of blogging to an institution like the Times was not quite right (the exception, proving the rule, would later be Erroll Morris's blog, Zoom, but even that seems to have ceased activity).

A group blog for new music should bring some advantages -- a variety of voices and interests, even if the authors share some general aesthetic ideas, introducing some discipline to insure regular posting (so that readers feel invited to turn up just as regularly), perhaps a bit more editorial control for typos and layout (not to mention verbal excess, a la Dr Wolf), and finally a bit of coaching within the group to encourage both controversy and cooperation -- that it would be a shame not to try it.

1 comment:

kraig grady said...

I think it is a good idea. But it would have to have a broad area of "composers" to work and be useful.
We might be idealist, still concerned with music as whole, something that grows collectively. Most Composers seem to limit their activities to just getting their works played.
Maybe the first issue needs to be address first. Are composers interested in the expansion of music as a whole?