It was 12 October1989 on the Computer Music Festival (Brussels) that Clarence BARLOW appeared on "my" stage. When he started to "play" his "Variazone e un pianoforte meccanino" on the Yahama Disklavier, the piano played on itself while the pianist, from a distance to the piano-in-action, was only sitting in an old sofa. After a while he went at the piano and simulated the real play without touching the keys. Gradually he started to interact with the improvising piano conducted by the computer.
Two years later (1991) at the KlangArt Festival in Osnabrück (Germany), Clarence Barlow explaned us his revolutionary software AUTOBUSK(Pitch and Rhythm Generator). At that time, generating new compositions by the computer was a very innovative item.
Clarence Barlow (born Calcutta) switched several years between two towns: Amsterdam and Cologne. His name is related to the Institute of Sonology (Netherlands) and to the Contemporary Music Studio Gimik (Germany). He teached composition in The Hague and, after teaching composition for more as twenty years in The Hague, he swapped his computer music course in Cologne, for Porto (Portugal). Recently Clarence has removed to California where he teaches at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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A few years ago I observed that my compositional work of the last decades can be classed into four frequently overlapping groups:
I. Parametric Music
concerning the algorithmic control of music by means of various parameters, mainly tonality end metricism (this necessitated research into the world of numbers). Typically relevant compositions are ...until... ('72), Relationships ('74), Cogluotobüsisletmesi('78) and Variazioni e un pianoforte meccanico ('86)
II. Linguistic Music
which uses human speech as its source; several compositions could serve here as examples, from Textmusic ('71) and Im Januar am Nil('84) to Estudio Siete ('95).
III. Derivative Music
compositionally based on works by other composers: the piano trios 1981('81) and "Spright the Diner" by Nib Wryter ('86), based on music by Clementi, Schumann end Ravel, are representative
IV. Commentative Music
serving to draw constructive attention to certain conditions existing both inside end outside the world of music. Typical examples here are: Fantasia quasi una sonate ('73), Fruitti d'Amore ('88), Orchideae Ordinariae ('89) end Farting Quietly in Church ('94)
To go a bit into these examples,
Cogluotobüsisletmesi('78) is an extremely polyphonic piano piece with the most diverse a- / poly-tonal /-metric constellations,
Im Januar am Nil ('84) for chamber ensemble is characterized by organic melodic evolution and phonetic timbres,
Orchideae Ordinariae ('89) for large orchestra poses a critical confrontation with the "New(?) Music" of our time.
As technical spin-offs of these compositions, three of the main aesthetically personal yet generally applicable software packages developed are:
Autobusk probabilistically generating realtime pitched rhythms via MIDI, given as starting material scales in cents end metres in multiplicative layers (these are first rationalized into pitch ratios and pulse emphases). For more info see P-ART JOURNAL #20 (< click).
Mididesk processing note files or digital scores using a multitude of modules, ranging from typica1 sequencer tools to Markov analysis/synthesis and efficient N- tuplet quantization.
Simpler recording and immediately reshuffling a sound-wave in realtime by the MIDI-triggering of moments of marked profile.
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More information about Clarence Barlow:
In-depth interview with Clarence Barlow (Dutch only): http://www.logosfoundation.org/kursus/9560.html
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