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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and refreshing investigation, 20 Dec 2005
This review is from: Microsound (Paperback)
Many approaches to computer-aided and generative music are written by computer scientists without experience crafting the artefact or are inundated with technical jargon assuming extensive pre-existing knowledge in the synthesis and computer music field or programming environments. Roads' book, on the other hand, serves as a thorough introduction to different scales of music composition especially the microsound level with sufficient gravitas to also be of interest to the established composer: though-provoking. I found it especially refreshing as a composer and technical scientist, that Curtis Reads speaks from experience, providing CD excerpts of music, of both aesthetic and technical devleopments in the field of microsound. To me, he encapsulates the intricate balance of artistic/aesthetic considerations and technical approaches that the composer must negotiate in this fascinating but still rather hermetic genre.
Roads' book extends from historic attitudes and approaches presented by Stockhausen, Xenakis, Varese and others, some the product of past technologies and many concepts which endure and benefit from the convenience of digital granular synthesis tools of today through to his own and other contemporary approaches substantiated by psychoacoustic research. The bibliography is especially thorough and helpful. I wish more audience-members could read and appreciate these new perspectives. This book is intended for a fairly specific audience, I think: student or serious composer integrating microsonic processes in electronic music. Despite its narrow field, I hope it does well because there far too few authoratative resources in this field in English.
My only gripe [not about the book itself] is a small one about the software referred to in the text, which I downloaded and trialled from the UCSB web site. It should be said that the author provides a warning that any such tools will soon be superceded but I was disappointed to find that the programs referred to in a book published in 2004 are already well out-of-date, requiring Mac OS9. Given the thoughtfulness, quality and usefulness of the rest of the book content, it would be superb if Roads and his collaborators develop new versions of their educational software.
If you are a composer, sound designer, student of synthesis or musician interested in broadening a traditional perspective into sub-note electronic composition, then this book is extremely helpful for you.
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Microsound by Curtis Roads (Paperback - 17 Sep 2004)
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