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Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer: Experimental music beyond sonification

  • Volker Straebel (a1) and Wilm Thoben (a1) (a2)
Abstract

Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer (1965), often referred to as the ‘brain wave piece’, has become a key work of experimental music. Its setup, in which the brain waves of a solo performer are made to excite percussion instruments, has given the work a central place in the discourse on artistic sonification. However, only a small number of the authors making reference to the work seem to have studied the score, and even fewer have given thought to the score's implications for performance practice and aesthetic reflection. This paper pays detailed attention to these yet overlooked aspects, drawing on accounts of early performances as well as the authors’ participation in a 2012 performance led by the composer. We also trace the history of live-electronic equipment used for Music for Solo Performer and discuss the work's reception in sonification research.

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Corresponding author
E-mails: volker.straebel@tu-berlin.de; me@wilmthoben.com
References
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