Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Music with the real

How can music engage in dialogue with its everyday surroundings? And in which ways can reality be a musical material? These are some of the questions posed by the artistic research project Music with the Real.

The project was established at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and is partially funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme.

The project’s point of departure is how the idea of Klangrecherche – the last six decades’ search for new musical sounds – has caused an increasing fatigue in the field of contemporary music, particularly the last twenty years. This fatigue is partly due to an exaggerated attentiveness to musical material; pitch, rhythm and tone quality.

Compared to other art forms, art music has cosseted means and methods of creative activity that lack the openness and the plurality of expression existing in other arts, such as painting, dance, or modern theatre.

For instance: The last substantial innovations pertaining to instrumental music, is the French school of Spectralism and Helmut Lachenmann’s instrumental Musique concrète of the seventies and eighties. Other art forms have evolved considerably since then, and one might argue that art music has become isolated, aesthetically speaking.

Contemporary music of today takes a new interest in ordinary everyday life, in reality, and the new appearances of reality brought into being by technology. This is a new source of accessible musical material, and even more important, a new opening into “the real world” meaning that contemporary music has to relate much closer to reality outside concert halls and music studios.

The aim of the research group is to collect and present practices that brings our attention away from purely abstract sound design, and rather engages in dialogue with familiar surroundings, including references and prosaic features of pop culture and the culture of everyday life.

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