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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The world of the acoustic instrument has changed profoundly in the wake of the onslaught of electronic sound and media. A very important development was to combine the acoustic instrument with prerecorded sound on a fixed medium. While the emphasis in this article is on the contemporary digital world, it also discusses its analog prehistory. This article discusses how the instrumentalist responds—literally and musically—to this disembodied “other” (even when it is a mirror image). Whether as extension to the human performer's mind and body or as an independent performer in its own right, the computer is helping develop new forms of music-making, but the future is never predictable. Live coding, circuit bending, and dirty electronics have all challenged the prevailing orthodoxy of “steady improvement in technical performance.” Human creativity works well with limits—a limit is not necessarily a limitation. What form self-imposed limits take will be the question.

Keywords: electronic sound, media, acoustic instrument, instrumentalist, music-making

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