More David Tudor Quotes

Sunday 22 June 2008

As long as there are people who realize that machines are not interesting and that behind any music there has to be a live person, I think that we might be able to overcome the omnipresence of synthesizers and keyboards. A lot of it is in the character of the listening: if the loudspeakers themselves are just pumping something canned or whether they are really talking to you, and that’s something that really only a musician listening to it can give you…. If you don’t have that, then you have to accept the fact that it’s like going to the cinema. Things won’t progress if electronic music remains on that level.

You have so many schools teaching electronics and they are teaching with expensive, complex equipment which people cannot possible afford to have at home. What are those students going to do when they come out? Nowadays students are coming to me from schools working with computer technology and they find that the computers they have at home are not large enough to do what they were able to do in school so that instead of furthering the musical situation, the people who were capable of doing it drop away.

A couple more quotes from that David Tudor interview I referred to last month, contrasting the “low road” and “high road” approaches to realising a composition. The interview is from 1988, so the situation has changed a little with regard to the second quote. Today, many universities are in the sad position of having worse technological facilities than what the students can afford at home.
There is, however, an institutional superstructure supporting the more “academic” musical activities, which is blandly assumed to underpin the students’ work; and almost no attempt is made to prepare students to work in conditions where this support does not exist. The students can either remain inside the academy for their entire career, or leave and find themselves hindered by being considered “outsiders” i.e. amateurs and cranks.