Another Take on Renovating Dated Technology for Concert Performance


Richard Dudas


In a decade of collaborating closely with performers on con- certs of electro-instrumental music, not as a composer but as a technological co-performer of other composers’ works, it has been regularly necessary to update – and sometimes improve – the technology used. This need often stems from the rapid obsolescence of both the hardware and software that has been used throughout the years. Indeed, many compositions that were created as recently as a decade ago need to have their technical component re-evaluated before a performance: all too often hastily designed and poorly maintained software necessitates some degree of overhaul in order to be used reliably in rehearsal and concert. Although this is not a new topic in computer music, many of the initial writings about this re-design of obsolescent technology have concerned themselves with a “historical performance practice” approach. Many performers and composers, however, concur that it is necessary to rethink and improve pieces’ technological component in order to be able to re-interpret them afresh. Just as performers desire to make the music they perform come alive for their audience through the use of creative interpretive decisions within the confines of the musical style and limits prescribed by the score, so, too, should the technological performer endeavor to make the electronic and computer music repertoire sound its best, from both technical and musical standpoints, in order to entice and enchant today’s increasingly discerning, technology-savvy audiences.

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