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The Processes of Experimental Music

To produce musical compositions directly from recorded sound, novel methods of sound manipulation have been evolved by three distinct groups of composers and engineers in the United States and in Europe. Constant experimentation has produced a few commonly used and a few specialized processes such as: sound prolongation and shortening, extensive spectrum transformation through artificial reverberation, tape-speed variation and multi-channel filters, and intricate tape splicing. Problems of distortion arise from sund manipulation, and from the repeated re-recording and mixing of many tracks of tape. Composers and engineers have a new ground for fruitful creative collaboration far beyond merely sharing their knowledge of the routine aspects of each other's art. Many problems must yet be solved through a long range program of research, but the growth of this new medium of expression seems assured, although subject to the usual dangers of cheap commercialization.

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JAES Volume 6 Issue 3 pp. 202-208; July 1958
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