Kim H. Veltman

Content, Form and Expression in Electronic Media

Musica Scienza 2000, Rome: Centro Ricerche Musicali, 2000, pp. 1-9 (in press).

1. Introduction
2. Content and Form
3. New Editing Software
4. Defensive Measures in Recording
5. Need for Integration of Generic Software and Unique Recording
6. Possible New Markets
7. Conclusions

1. Introduction

The creative arts entail an interesting paradox. While they are based on laws and rules which are generically applicable and thus universal, their ultimate expression is personal, unique and particular. In music, for instance, with respect to both composition and performance, there are clear laws of harmony such that one can state clearly that some notes are right and others are wrong. But while most persons may play the notes correctly, only one in a thousand will perform them in a way that is truly memorable. This phenomenon applies to all the arts.

Technologists have addressed this twofold nature of creativity with two separate and very different approaches. On the one hand, following a long tradition of theoretical literature concerning the arts, they have created software, which fixes objective dimensions in terms of generic solutions. On the other hand they have sought to record the unique aspects of performance in artistic and musical creativity. In music, this has led, on the one hand, to a music software industry and, on the other hand, to a recording industry (in analog vinyl records or videos, and more recently in digital CD-ROMs and DVDs, i.e. Digital Video Discs). In theatre, this has led to both audio recordings of great actors, videos and in rare cases films of their performances.

Seen from a global viewpoint several trends are discernible. First, there is an important development to separate form and content. Partly as a result thereof, there is a second trend towards ever more complex software to address generic routines of editing. Here the Internet is stimulating sales. Third, in the case of recorded examples of spoken words, songs and music, the advent of Internet technologies has led in some cases to decreased sales; is seen as a threat by many traditional music producers, distributers and broadcasters and is hence leading to a series of defensive measures. Fourth, there is as yet almost no integration between the generic software solutions and recordings of unique performances. This is a desideratum and introduces new possibilities.

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