Sunday, September 05, 2010

Well, that was short...

It took eight years to go from the Leif Inge's 9 Beet Stretch to the Justin Bieber stretch-out, and from there, I reckon that it's taken about two weeks to officially become a audio production cliché, which is probably a typical rate of idea consumption and exhaustion in the transition from art to commercial music. In the past week, I've received links to about a half-dozen new stretched pieces, all made, one assumes, in the wake of the Bieber.  Now, as an experimentalist, I have nothing against the use of clichés — there still being plenty (to paraphrase Schoenberg) of good music to be made from stretched out bubble gum — but the music can't stand alone on its slow motion.  Stretching is now just additional material, and a work of music using it will have to have other compelling qualities to sustain that material. 

10 comments:

jeff_harrington said...

I made my first stretch piece, Eroica Spettrale, in 1999, inspired by an example in the Csound community by Sean Costello. Not that it matters! It's the first 37 measures of the Eroica, stretched musically, not mechanically, that is the music is formed by the way the stretching changes.

Wendy Carlos' soundtrack to Clockwork Orange also utilized this technique and that's OLD!

Jeff Harrington
http://jeffharington.org

HarS said...

I fully agree on this with Daniel (using many more words, though :-), in "The strange case of the quite honorable Justin Bieber's temporal stretching (with pitch correction)".

As a compositional tool, the expansion of musical time has a very long history indeed. In my 2005 article on Leif Inge's 9 Beet Stretch I mentioned as an example the medieval composor Pérotin, who took "simple, well-known melod[ies] and stretch[ed them] out in time, so each syllable was hundreds of seconds long [...]"

Arguably, Stockhausen's work provides the most extreme examples of a composer's (in Karlheinz' case ultimately pretty much alchemical) obsession with the manipulation of time, from his 1957 article in Die Reihe 'Wie die Zeit vergeht' up to 'Luzifer's Traum (Klavierstück XIII)' and the whole of 'Licht', being 'nothing but' an expansion of its initial superformula.

Daniel Wolf said...

HarS --

I think that the Perotin and Stockhausen are species of something related to stretching, but different in a crucial aspect. Both are examples of prolongation/diminution (Schenker theory is another), in which a given figure is extended in time through the interpolation of different material. The electonic process, on the other hand, uses no additional material, just increasing the duration of the existing materials. As I mentioned in my earlier post on this topic, I think that the more relevant prior examples are in the work of La Monte Young and in Steve Reich's work leading to Four Organs.

Jeff,

Is your piece available online?

Daniel Wolf said...

Another relevant predecessor is Ernie Gehr's amazing film, Eureka (1974) in which each frame of an early film of Market Street in San Francisco is duplicated five to eight times.

HarS said...

Absolutely agree, Daniel.
Also here: would be nice to hear Jeff's piece.

Paul Beaudoin said...

I love the look of the redesigned website!

Daniel Wolf said...

Paul,

thanks. I'm still not sure about the look. It's a little slick for my tastes and the sans serif titling font is not my favorite (the limited number of widely used web fonts is a real problem!)

Paul Beaudoin said...

I like the contrast between the background and each entry - though I'll give you concession on the font - it isn't terribly pretty - but clear ...

jeff_harrington said...

Yeah, it's here - part of my Espace album:

http://harrington.lunarpages.com/mp3/espace/02-Eroica_Spettrale.mp3

There's the whole album fwiw:

http://harrington.lunarpages.com/mp3/espace/

jeff_harrington said...

Also, there was a guy, in the computer music community in the 80's I believe, who 'stretched' in the reverse direction the entire Ring Cycle so that it was one click. ;)