I don’t normally talk about these things – I am wary of discussing subjects outside of my field. I admire from a distance people who have the time and energy to campaign against the various injustices of our time, while still managing to live their lives. For me, I physically realise only about 30% of all the things I do in my mind in any given day, and then suddenly the alarm goes off and it repeats.
So I leave it to other people to do the extra work, to whom I am profusely grateful. This is a link to someone who has put together an article outlining some good points.
The way I see the whole “parents with careers” debate is this:
Someone says, “People have a choice, and should stand by their decisions”. Then someone else says, “What if it doesn’t have to be a choice?” …and this is where most of us are still stuck.
Pioneers and superhumans have passed beyond this point, and some of them are trying to drag the rest of us up the mountain, but until everyone agrees what constitutes a choice versus a societal imposition, the mountain will remain.
In the comments section of a recent Facebook post regarding the philisophising of whether people who create generative / algorithmic music can be called composers, a Brian Eno lecture was posted, which could be useful material for me. Apart from anything else, Eno has a good delivery, so I might learn a few presentational tips too.
There was also a link to another video, but this one is subscription only. However the page itself contains some hints at the content: “Playing with Time” – Eno and Wright
I had my Annual Review this week, which was a bit of a wake-up call, but not because I didn’t have enough to show, but more because the boundaries between a musicology degree and a composition degree were solidly outlined to me.
All the research and paper-writing cannot be used in the thesis, which must be compositions, with a supporting commentary. I suddenly wavered and considered switching to a musicology degree, but the panel chair did say something that encouraged me, which was that the papers, and the research I did talk about, sounded more like a post-doc entity.
David then said that I should figure out what I like doing best, and pick the best path to allow it. That made the decision an easy one – I like to make music in Pure Data, therefore, a composition degree is what I want to do. All the research and the context, can come afterwards, or even alongside, if there’s time (there won’t be).
I think the result of the general election (Conservative government – for posterity!) was a death warrant to arts funding, and therefore the research and publishing I was gearing towards will be the only way to secure grants and funding for future employment, but those things won’t get me a doctorate, which is what I must concentrate on right now.
Hopefully this is the sanction I needed to “allow” myself to actually engage with the fun part of the doctorate.
In my Pure Data lust, it is easy to forget that there are of course other tools out there for creating generative music.
I have recently been reminded of this: sc140 which blew my mind when I first heard it, and made me marvel at the power of SuperCollider. These tracks have all been written using only 140 characters of code!
Just putting this link here, as I keep losing it!
Also, another link, which will hopefully lead to an important chapter in the thesis:
There are several names that come up repeatedly in my field, which I should probably list at some point, but this post is about one I have just come across, and I admit, followed the lead because she is a woman, which doesn’t happen very often. Her name is Anna Jordanous, and is a lecturer at the University of Kent. She is on a panel for a conference we were thinking of submitting to, and, as it turns out, is friends with David on Facebook. I found a cool paper, which I will probably end up citing, and also this cool site which I should probably refer to now and then: http://valuingelectronicmusic.org/
Phew! Every now and again I have to update my various web presences, and it is always a nail-biting ride of “will it work?”
Firstly, my main page was still on my extremely old domain name, my maiden name. I had to shift everything onto a newer domain, slightly hampered by the fact that this was occupied by one of my current blogs. Moving an entire blog to a sub-directory ensued. Still, as priorities change, so must our online reflections. Where previously the main point of blogging was to keep family afar up-to-date with the progress of the kids, now it is more to record progress and ideas within my current research context.
In the end, this work took me just over half a day, which isn’t bad, as I have become a bit rusty with CSS. Hopefully I have tested all the links, and they still work, but I expect I will be horrified to discover a broken link to a barely-used page eventually.
I thought it prudent to document milestones, as from my experience with a personal blog, this is absolutely essential for documenting a journey: events that seemed unimportant when they occurred, suddenly become extremely relevant further along the way.
Today I got my first email accepting a paper into a conference. It is for the EVA conference which, conveniently, is taking place in London this summer. I am starting off with collaborative papers only, with a view to gradually making a submission on my own. This one is with David Plans and we will need to work together. This vindicates one of the reasons for my attempting a PhD – I actually get to spend time with David!
While on the issue of timelines, I should note that we have also taken our first step on the property ladder this week, buying our first ever home, just in case there wasn’t already enough to do…
I really should also document important revelations along the way, but in truth, I seem to have several of these per week, which means I would spend my entire time blogging. One that I will mention because it is so raw is that over the course of 4 years, our tastes can change dramatically, and the music we make in the early coastal waters of research might not be as pleasant to our ears once we are navigating the profound depths of the open academic ocean. This is important, because suddenly we are having to submit works we dislike within our portfolio – and then defend them from attack during the viva. All things to consider when, personally, I already can’t stand the music I finished last week! “Make and Move On!”
So it’s been a while since I last posted.
First of all, I got a couple of essential books for Christmas:
“From Pac-Man to Pop Music” by Karen Collins, (Ashgate, 2008) and
“Designing Sound” by Andy Farnell, (MIT Press, 2010).
These are already making for very interesting reading, and have both inspired, and vindicated some of my ideas.
Secondly, I have finally followed the route from Pure Data to xCode and have produced a very simple app, by following Peter Brinkmann’s book “Making musical apps.” O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2012. I needed a bit of help to get it working, as things have moved on quite a lot since publication, but we got there in the end.
Wishing you all the best for 2015!