Music is an alteration of time. Musical experiences are determined by two converging temporal axes: listening and remembering, present and past. In this reading group we will start with a text, an audition and a discussion with an artist, and look at paradigmatic cases in which music, understood as an art of time, brings together concepts such as perception, scale, collective memory and subjectivity. Based on the temporal models proposed by contemporary philosophy and science, we will then explore the new uses of time in the field of music.

The latest experimental music poses new questions and new ways of looking at how music plays with the time factor, whether because the new technological media allow it, because contemporary scientific knowledge stimulates it or because the socio-political context requires it. For this reason it is necessary to formulate a critical renewal, widening and revision of the traditional ways of approaching these questions in musicology and philosophy. In this reading group we will reopen the old classic debate that has always accompanied musical practice.

A relevant question on the new uses of time in experimental music is the relation between what is known as the work and its realisation in time. Against the model of traditional interpretation that clearly differentiates between the time of creation and the time of interpretation and listening, or the model of acousmatic music, where interpretation equals reproduction, new approaches have arisen where these two moments – interpretation and listening – are confused. Behind this disjunctive lies the problem of whether music can ever be realised in real time, or whether all forms of music are somehow recorded.

In the twentieth century, the implementation of sound reproduction redefined the musical experience by creating a document that captured the moment of interpretation while rendering it reproducible: a fundamental paradigmatic change that transformed the way of consuming and sharing the musical experience, as well as the concepts of authorship and originality, and the composition itself.

Based on the Kantian idea of time as a pure form of intuition, music becomes a transformation of time by means of any auditive stimulus. In this experience of the flux of time, duration is an essential aspect for both listener and interpreter. Equally, access to more and more sophisticated technology and software has introduced new possibilities in the scale and measurement of time. While composers such as Stockhausen and Berio pushed the limits of dexterity in the execution, musical tempo software allows for new tensions between intuitive and chronometric measurement, thus opening the way to a different concept of temporal scale.

Goodiepal "Time in Western Notation" (n.d.)


Mondays 27 May and 3, 10 and 17 June, 2013, 18.30 to 20.30 h

The discussion with the artists on skype (10 min) and the texts for this reading group are in English.

Participants are advised to read and listen to the recommended material before each session.

27 May
On the limits of execution

Discussion on skype with Tom Johnson (
Audio: György Ligeti, Continuum, 1968 and EVOL, ‘Continuum, expanded’, 2011
Text: Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, ‘Continuum, expanded’, 2013
3 June
Virtuosity and speculation

Screening of a video by Goodiepal recorded for the occasion.
Audio: Brian Ferneyhough, ‘Kurze Schatten 2’, 1989 and Curtis Roads, ‘Half-life, Part I: Sonal Atoms’, 1999
Text: Goodiepal or Gaeoudjiparl The Aarhus Warrior, ‘Radical Computer Music & Fantastik Mediemanipulation’

10 June
Extremes in duration

Discussion on skype with Dave Phillips (
Audio: Keiji Haino, ‘So, Black is Myself’, 1997 and Masonna, ‘Spectrum Ripper. Part XXV’, 1997
Text: Tetsuo Kogawa and Yasunao Tone, ‘Lines of Sight #7. Transcript of a conversation between Tetsuo Kogawa and Yasunao Tone’, 2008.

17 June
Memory and time

Discussion on skype with Chris Cutler (
Audio: Robert Ashley, ‘Pillars’, 2008
Text: Chris Cutler, ‘Quadern d’àudio #04. The road to plunderphonia’, 2011

Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Lluís Nacenta and Anna Ramos.

Roc Jiménez de Cisneros: In 1996 he founded the computer music project EVOL. Recent installations include: Continuum Expanded (London, 2011 / The Hague, 2012 / Los Angeles, 2013); Tetralemma + Tetrafluoroethane (Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, 2011); Rara Avis (CosmoCaixa, 2011); A very short proof... (with Mark Fell, BIACS, Seville Biennale 2008 / Istanbul Biennale 2010 / Vienna 2011 / ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2012–13); Hands in the air, reach for the laser (Diapason Gallery, New York, 2010). He has recently published the album Proper Headshrinker, Editions Mego.

Lluís Nacenta: Researcher on music and sound art. Studied piano at the Conservatori del Liceu and mathematics at the UPC. Professor in the Master's Degree in Sound Art at the UB and in Eina, School of Design and Art. He has been responsible for the experimental music cycle ArtsSònica (2011 and 2012), and he has curated sound installation projects at the Convent de Sant Agustí (2011) and Sónar (2012). He participates in projects of artistic production as a member of the music interpretation group Experimental Funktion and the collective Turismo.

Anna Ramos: Director of the online radio project Ràdio Web MACBA and co-director of the label ALKU, a multidisciplinary platform operating since 1997. Under this umbrella she develops projects, installations and cycles on computer music, generative audio, synthesis and related areas. Together with Roc Jiménez de Cisneros she has curated lecture cycles, concerts and installations for MACBA, Sónar, Espai Cultural Caja Madrid and CosmoCaixa, among others. Her work has been presented worldwide.

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I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat