"Sound Art is here to stay?" Yeah , right.

John Kieffer has an interesting piece in the Guardian about “sound art”. It’s PR for the sound installations in Somerset House, and for the one about to open in Kew Gardens. “Sound Art is here to stay,” screams the title.

It’s mainly there because museum Health and Safety officers (and accountants) love it. It gets their vote every time compared to live music events.

But how durablee is it? This stuff tends to be ephemeral and take-it-or leave it, it exists in its place in its time.

But, Private Eye style, the assertion does enable me to re-write the history of Western music. Yes, here are the antecedents of Sound Art.

First comes the absolute pioneer Adrien Will Art (1490-1562) (clip above).

Then the great Moats Art (Salzburg 1756-Vienna 1791)

In the nineteenth century there was a lull, but it did bring the Art for Art’s sake movement, of wich the musical manifestations were the liaisons of Theophile Gautier with interchangeable singing and dancing sisters of the Grisi family.

Then in twentieth century you get the fabulous front line of Farmer Art (1928-1999) and Pepper Art (1925-82).

All of whom ARE here to stay for rather longer than Sound Art.

Interested in taking the argument further? Try a piece about John Cage and the presence/ absence of “purpose and meaning” in music. “If a tree falls in the woods, can you call it music?” from the Music Think Tank blog. And then think about how MUSIC caqn move you.

Categories: miscellaneous

2 replies »

  1. I tend to agree with this marvellous blog. Who cannot deny that Wilaert and Art Pepper exist in any time or space and are in another league altogether from much Sound Art, though i did see a most wonderful piece by Georges Bures Miller and Janet Cardiffhttp://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/inst/motet.html
    which made rather good use of Tallis!
    Yes….more church music and long live the great fine Arts Pepper,Farmer, Blake and Tatum!
    Mark Rowan-Hull (Art loving Arts Fellow)

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