Library music between “art” and “craft”
Júlia Durand, CESEM - NOVA University of Lisbon
Abstract: Library music has grown significantly since its transition to a digital medium, with an unprecedented number of musicians turning to it either as a full-time occupation or as a side activity. While it is predominantly described (and disparaged) in terms that highlight its industrial aspects (such as a prolific composition based on tried-and-tested formulas), I propose that examining library music exclusively through this perspective does not allow us to fully grasp the nuances of how composers engage with this musical practice, often making sense of it not only as an “industry”, but also as a “craft”.
Drawing from qualitative interviews with composers and other library professionals conducted over a period of four years, I inquire into how these agents view library music as a craft and a site of apprenticeship where they may “safely” (anonymously) hone skills that will be useful in other, more prestigious projects (such as bespoke scoring for media). In particular, composers who write both for libraries and for other musical contexts tend to establish a rigid distinction between the two, rooted on a duality between “art” and “craft”. I will explore how composers shape their activity around this distinction, presenting their library music as a “craft work” separate from “artistic” pursuits. This is manifested, for example, in their use of pseudonyms, their discussions with peers (where standards of competence and usefulness prevail over ideals of “originality” or “self-expression”), and in the approaches and strategies they adopt for their library work.
Bio: Júlia Durand is a musicology researcher at the NOVA University of Lisbon. She is a member of the Center of Sociology and Musical Aesthetics (CESEM) and takes part in the activities of its Group for Studies in Sociology of Music (SociMus) and Music and Cyberculture (CysMus). In addition to several papers on music and audiovisuals presented at international conferences such as Music and the Moving Image, her research has been published in edited volumes and in the journals Music, Sound and the Moving Image and Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia. Her PhD focuses on the production and use of library music in online videos.
Understanding the Art of Sound
Andrew Knight-Hill, University of Greenwich
Abstract: This is about how sounds communicate, how they make us feel, how they tell stories. Revealed through conversations with world leading creative professionals working in the UK, US and Europe, it unveils hidden spheres of creativity, exploring the artistic practices which underpin some of the world’s leading Film Sound and Electroacoustic Music.
Bringing together an eclectic mix of practitioners, our goal is to reveal new perspectives on sound practice, to demystify processes and offer up new perspectives that de-center technological and descriptive (declarative and didactic) approaches to knowledge, instead embracing new possibilities for celebrating creative practice in sound, acknowledging the artistry and creative practice that already exists in the field, while providing new accessible insights that might contribute to opening out routes of access into sound practice and increase the diversity of creative practitioners.
The parallel worlds of Film Sound and Electroacoustic Music share a common medium (sound), and many of the same tools and processes (digital audio workstations, plugins, microphones etc.). But there has been a chasm of communication between these sister fields. With support from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via a Leadership Fellowship grant our project has sought to bridge this divide, to bring these two worlds together in dialogue, seeking to compare and contrast approaches, insights and inspirations, to reveal where the two fields might speak to one another in mutually beneficial ways.
Bio: Andrew Knight-Hill is a composer of electroacoustic music, specialising in studio composed works both acousmatic (purely sound based) and audio-visual. His works have been performed extensively across the UK, in Europe and the US. Including performances at Fyklingen, Stockholm; GRM, Paris; ZKM, Karlsruhe; New York Public Library, New York; London Contemporary Music Festival, London; San Francisco Tape Music Festival, San Francisco; Cinesonika, Vancouver; Festival Punto de Encuentro, Valencia; and many more.
He is director of the Loudspeaker Orchestra and the SOUND/IMAGE Research Centre at the University of Greenwich, he is currently an AHRC Leadership Fellow with his project Audiovisual Space: Recontextualising Sound Image Media.
A Study of Temporality in Japanese Film phenomenological reflections on the in-betweenness of sound
Sascia Pellegrini, School of the Arts of Singapore
Abstract: This presentation investigates the absence, presence, and in-betweenness of sound and music in selected movies of the post-war Japanese film industry. Japanese film presents a distinct aesthetic, more often than not reverting to sparseness and parsimony in the treatment of sound and music: a modality in stark contrast to the operative use of such mediums in western films of the same historical period.
I therefore examine a distinct notion of in-betweenness resonating with the concept of ‘Ma’ (間) a word that stands for pause, gap, or emptiness in the Japanese philosophical tradition: ‘Ma’ transcends the definition of space and time intervals, collapsing any dichotomies and differentiations of space-time relations.
Drawing connections between selected works of film directors Yasujirō Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, and Kiyomi Kuroda, all of whom have a particular relationship to the concept of ‘Ma’ (間), I maintain that the absence of sound is permeated with Husserlian’s retention and protention: a presence just passed, or yet to be. ‘Ma’ (間), the notion of in-betweenness, Deleuzian rhizome, disperses the rigid post-cartesian dichotomy of absence-presence in sound and music.
By examining the specific relation of Japanese film to music, this presentation holds that the dialogue between moving images and sound is never absent: rather that sound in Japanese film, even when unheard, is prepared, or amplified by its ostensible muteness; by the temporal protraction of still and silent moments. A presence of sound and music in-between, that requires an act of reconnaissance, a pause for contemplation.
Bio: Sascia was trained in percussion, piano, and composition at the Italian Conservatory G. Puccini (IT) and at IRCAM (FR). Sascia’s expertise is in intermedia, and interdisciplinary arts, with a strong background in music composition and dance choreography: he has conducted courses in Academies and Universities in Hong Kong, China, and Singapore. His contributions and articles have been featured in symposiums, conferences, magazines and journals from the US, Lithuania, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea. In recent years Sascia has developed a close collaboration with the composer Ben Boretz and the singer Yungchen Llamo. He has performed in Italy, France, Germany, China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong, where he collaborated with major dance companies. Sascia is a Composition and Integrated Arts Teacher at The School of the Arts of Singapore and Editor for the Open Space Magazine (NY). He is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Dundee, Scotland.