Pauline Oliveros, pioneering avant-garde composer, RIP


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/26/pauline-oliveros-pioneering-a.html


#2

Thank you Pauline. For being wonderful, and yourself, and wonderfully yourself.

Not enough accordion in the avant-garde.


#3

Morton Subotnick, not Subtonick, unless that is a subtle musical joke.

Oliveros was remarkable, not least for her use of the accordion.


#4

Thank you David and Boing Boing for publishing an obituary to one of my favorite composers and a pillar of 20th Century music. Always a pioneer, Oliveros built many new communities and settlements in many new musical territories.

Oliveros innovated an incredibly wide range of techniques including tape music composition; oscillator synthases; sampling; voice-as-synthesizer scored composition; contact mic works (most notably, in my mind, her Apple Crate works); graphic scoring; instructional scoring; theater-as-music; rituals for group music making; extended instrument systems; deep listening …

To commemorate the life and death and music of Oliveros in my own small way, I have uploaded an undergraduate essay I wrote on her seminal piece Bye Bye Butterfly to the Internet Archive.

I think I got an A+ for it, but it’s very dry - it does have a good bibliography though! If you have any interest in electronic music, I highly recommend this history of the Tape Music Center:

Bernstein, David W, ed. The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the
avant-garde. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2008

(In the essay I was actually just using the very well received Oliveros work in a round-about-way to try and discredit theorist Leigh Landy’s “something to hold onto factors” which, to me, seemed to be tantamount to a prescribed recipe for electronic music composers to use to make their work more accessible e.g. “iii. No more than four sound types at once”. The horror!).


#5

I purchased an ipod nano for cheap on craigslist, and completely filled it with minimal ambient music, including several Oliveros pieces. It sits on a little player/dock, and often just plays subtly in the background. I always know when the Oliveros pieces are playing, because at first I will think it has stopped working.


#6

Argh, another great lost in 2016. It can’t end soon enough.


#7

I can’t believe I wasn’t familiar with Oliveros before her death. I’ve been listening to “Accordion and Voice” and it’s knocking me out.


#8

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