Wednesday, September 09, 2015

links from here and there

Politico piece from last month "How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election". That sample of about 4,500 voters means it has a study that doesn't instantly get vitiated by the sampling bias, at least.

Noah Berlatsky writes at the New Republic about how ...

Berlatsky riffs on how for some authors the angle is Kermit was faithless and two-timing Miss Piggy.  He suggests that this might be in good fun and all but the single most salient element of the Kermit/Miss Piggy relationship was her beating him up, e.g. domestic violence. Berlatsky's writing is more serious than playful overall and he proposes, basically, that now is the time that the Muppets can be improved by Kermit's physical abuse at the hands of Miss Piggy is no longer a punchline.

Sherman Alexie's gotten himself into an interesting controversy about authorship and authenticity issues lately.  Looks like a white guy passed himself off as an Asian American poet whose submitted poem was published in a volume Alexie edited.  For a run-down on what happened, including Sherman Alexie's own blog post on the matter ...

Over at New Music Box Kenneth Kirschner mentions plans to start writing about a new approach to indeterminacy in music exploiting digital technology

" ... With digital music, it’s possible to build complexity, chance, and intelligence into the recording itself, to create a music that is ever-changing and open-ended, indefinite in duration and indeterminate in composition—to create an indeterminate recording. A listener can press play on a piece of recorded music that will be different on every listen, that can be heard for as long or as short a time as they wish, and that will continually grow and evolve for as long as they choose to listen."

Of course anyone who has looked at figured bass knows there was a whole lot left to the imagination as to how something would be realized.  Cadenzas in pre-Romantic music were not written out and in the Classic era composers like Haydn and Mozart played dice games to compose music for amusement. While it may be popular for some people in the 21st century to imagine that things have somehow been fixed by things like scores and recordings that's part of the story.  Sure, if you're going to the trouble of engraving, printing and publishing music or issuing a vinyl record you want to make sure you've got something you're willing to live with but that's just a part of any era's musical history.

Actually, the music of indeterminacy 2.0 could eventually be thoroughly at home in the video game where a player's input and decisions could directly contribute decisions that impact the sonority or trajectory of a musical texture. 

For folks who aren't into Morton Feldman, John Cage and the New York school of composers from the mid-20th century Kirschner's music is ... probably not going to be quite your taste.

Also potentially not to your taste ... Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited turned 50 years old this year.

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