May 28, 2022 (12:30 EDT)
“Augenmusik as an Audience-Building Tool”
Presentation given by John Dante Prevedini
Augenmusik (eye music) is notated music which also serves as visual art. Historically a fringe compositional genre with roots dating back to the Middle Ages, Augenmusik now enjoys a surprising new life in the age of social media. With its natural ability to communicate content quickly and visually to music connoisseurs and general audiences alike, Augenmusik appears regularly on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and traditional music outlets like ClassicFM and Interlude. Augenmusik today is thus full of opportunities for composers to engage with the public in new ways and to reach new audiences, both socially and commercially. In this twenty-minute presentation, viewers will learn about the historical origins of Augenmusik, the different subtypes of the genre, and current research demonstrating why Augenmusik is an ideal way for composers to stay visible and accessible in the digital age.
John Dante Prevedini, DMA, MBA (b. 1987) is a contemporary classical composer, educator, and public speaker hailing from the United States and active around the world. Drawing upon a variety of fields of knowledge, his overall work aims to examine unconventional facets of everyday life through a multidisciplinary lens. His compositional output of over 200 works spans a variety of genres, including opera, chamber, solo piano, orchestral, choral, electronic, and experimental music. In addition, his stylistic influences include Western Classical music from all historical periods as well as popular genres and various folk traditions. His specific areas of research include Augenmusik (eye music), open-form compositions, seventeenth-century Western harmony, and the attentional dynamics of compositional forms on social media.
“The Archinovica: a new instrument for extended just intonation”
Presentation given by Timothy W. McDunn
Traditional approaches to just intonation involve a limited number of pitches tuned in relation to a single fundamental. This means the music will gravitate toward a single tonal center, making it difficult to modulate. This paper presents a new software instrument, called the archinovica, which addresses this common compositional challenge. The instrument operates via a generative, deterministic algorithm, which retunes a MIDI keyboard during live performance, based on what the musician plays. All pitches are tuned relative to other pitches just played, using composite intervals of the smallest number possible of just fifths and just major thirds. This results in intervals that are as “simple” or resonant as possible. The algorithm tends to produce just relations between the roots of successive chords. By enabling composers and performers to move freely through five-limit space, the instruments preserves just intonation while opening up limitless possibilities for modulation with shifting fundamentals. Harmonic modulation becomes a concrete acoustic phenomenon, rather than a mere theoretical abstraction; the intonation audibly drifts as the harmonic material develops. The aesthetic results are accessible to a diverse audience from a variety of musical backgrounds.
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Sabat, Marc, and Thomas Nicholson, eds. “The Extended Helmholtz-Ellis Ji Pitch Notation. Plain Sound Music Edition, 2020. https://marsbat.space/pdfs/notation.pdf.
Schweinitz, Wolfgang von. “The Classical Indian Just Intonation Tuning System” Plain Sound Music Edition, October 20,22, 2006. https://www.plainsound.org/pdfs/srutis.pdf.
“Creating Emotionally Resilient Composers”
Presentation given by Robert Anton Strobel
One significant crisis in higher learning is a lack of emotional resilience among students. Professors expect that if students are challenged, they will achieve more. Instead, students internalize their failures as part of who they are. Some teachers avoid criticism to the point of not doing their job. For any musician, toxic people are an unavoidable reality. Some composition students imagine that if they temporarily endure trauma until they graduate, they will get a job and all will be well. If struggles happen, these traumatized students will often stop producing, stop loving composing, and be resentful. On the other hand, if things go better for students in their career, this insecurity could turn into entitlement, an intense need for external validation, paranoia, burnout, and a fight-or-flight approach to teaching. Either of these outcomes are symptoms of a lack of emotional resilience. Training composition students to face toxic situations properly is essential because it is impossible to avoid. My paper concludes that students can change, but it takes an ambitious empathy to create an internal change. Students must learn to separate opinions from facts, or they may lose their ability to gain an original voice.
Robert Anton Strobel creates a lot of fun, interesting, and soul-satisfying music. Known for his advocacy within composition, he wants to write the music audiences want. He also wants to make other composers healthy, humorous, and happy. According to Navona Records,, Robert Anton Strobel’s music “…explores the human drama…in profoundly thought-out rhythmic and melodic structures.” The over 20 commissions he has received through time include a work for the Ladyslipper Ensemble, two commissions from the Barlow Endowment, a Mizzou New Music Initiative-funded work for some string players of the St. Louis Symphony, [TriO], among many others. He teaches composition at Front Range Community College. Follow him on Instagram and TikTok @strobelcomposer. “Baby, don’t forget my number.” – Milli Vanilli