Einbond, Aaron (2012) (Un)original(ity). In: Summer Composition Institute, Harvard Music Department, 25th - 26th August 2012, Cambridge, MA, USA.

"Clearly this is setting the stage for a literary revolution. Or is it? From the looks of it, most writing proceeds as if the Internet had never happened."
— Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing

In an age where improvisers, sound-installation artists, programmers, hackers, smartphone users, video- game players, flash-mobs, and kindergarteners can produce compellingly-creative sound worlds, often electronically generated, why bother to define oneself as a composer at all? How have 21st-century technologies required us to redefine terms like “original,” “musical,” and “expressive,” even further than the collage, détournement, cut-up, re-contextualization, and sampling of the 20th century? While works in other fields, from Christian Marclay’s The Clock to Ai Weiwei’s internet activism to countless pop-musical mash-ups, have embraced the enormous computational possibilities of digital information, why have concert music composers lagged behind?

Preparation: Each discussant is requested to bring two sound examples, no more than ten minutes combined. One of the examples should be a “non-musical” sound, and the other an “un-original” copy, transcription, borrowing, or allusion which may or may not be “musical.” The discussant may appropriate both examples from any source, including his or her own workshop, and should address how technology is implicated in the process.

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