CD 5 - Playgrounds
Part 3: The CDs
Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies
Ronald A. Pellegrino

Please note that as of 10/25/10 this and the other 7 CD pages on my site will include one sound sample and its associated program note, all the track titles for the particular CD, and an excerpt from the essay associated with the CD desciption found in my latest book, Realizing Electronic Dreams: A Composer's Notes and Themes. The new book includes complete essays for each CD plus detailed program notes for every track on every CD as well as numerous related photographs and illustrations.

If you do not have a good quality satellite sound system connected to the audio output of your computer, as the composer I would prefer that you NOT download the sound samples associated with each of my tracks. My pieces are like my spirit children and I don't want them to be treated badly by inadequate transducers. It's already bad enough that the sound samples are compressed versions (a current internet requirement) of what you would hear from the CDs which are in themselves digitized (distorted) versions of the analog sounds as I heard them originally. To navigate those shoals I test and adjust all my sound samples on 7 different audio systems and 3 different computers in my personal studios and scores of both systems out in the world. In a nutshell, what I've found is that all built-in computer sound systems STINK and should never be used for music. If you are more than half-serious about music, connect at least a good audio system to your computer. The better the audio system, the richer and deeper your musical experience, and the closer to hearing the music as the composer did.

Furthermore, please remember that the sound samples are just samples--not highlights, not the pieces, just out of context highly compressed excerpts that hang together in ways that give a sense of what one might expect to hear from various tracks. It's important to get beyond confusing the samples for the pieces. If you are at all interested in the quality of music, listening to a CD via a good audio system gets your ears reasonably close to the original music. In any case, avoid settling for dumbed down audio. The difference between even a decent satellite audio system hanging on the end of a computer and what you would hear from good standalone audio system is like the difference between night and day. Often I hear from young people who've grown up with buds in the ears that they doubt they could hear the difference between mediocre and good audio. My response to them is that now is a good time to educate your ear so you can have a lifelong deeper appreciation of the power and beauty of sound to affect your soul. Much is lost when music is considered no more than a commodity to be squeezed into smaller and smaller storage spaces. Go for the systems that can handle bigger files; they tell better stories.

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CD 5 - Playgrounds

Excerpt from associated essay, Playgrounds

"...The only way to excel in the performance arts is to practice your play and to keep your practice playful. Meaningful practice requires playful repetition. Mindless and soulless repetition normally has a very short lifespan and, if that lifespan is extended by any form of force, the result is always mechanical execution bereft of heart and soul, a lamentable waste of a precious gift, the refined life force.

The artful way to focus and extend practice is to treat it as play. The quality of that play is directly correlated with one’s imagination as expressed by the invention of variations and embellishments that fertilize the objectives of practice in ways that bear the fruit of meaningful art. If one can’t learn to enjoy practice, one has no future in that medium.

How many different ways can you initiate a tone on a particular instrument? How do you organize those ways into initiation families? By physical attributes? Emotional attributes? Kinesthetic attributes? All these questions are examples of games that can be played differently according to different players and different instruments. These questions make up just one small subset of games that can be played as part of a process to discover one’s unique voice in the performance arts. Artful play is the method for discovering and articulating a unique point of view, that view being the most important contribution one can make to fellow beings now and in the future. That unique point of view is the artist’s contribution to the evolution of humanity.

The primary function of music composition is to design playgrounds that performance artists can use as solo creative vehicles or, gathering in greater numbers and in concerted celebration, can build sound castles that both remind us of our fundamental humanity as well as provide us with a sense of more elevated forms of humanity to which we might aspire…"


Track Titles for CD 5 - Playgrounds
plus program note and sound sample for Track 1

Track 1 - Pipe Dreams (1988). For the first 19 years of my musical life I played pipes of one sort or another starting with the clarinet at age nine, adding the alto sax in jr. high school, adding the flute in high school, and then finally in college exploring the smallest to largest instruments of all those families while gradually adding the serious study of all the instruments of the orchestra as a facet of my composition work. What you hear on this track is very close to the sort of pipe music I've been exploring all my life.

There were periods when I wasn't playing any pipes at all because I was preoccupied with some other music related games but, even then, when I was lost in reverie on one of my daily walks, I would find myself fingering pipe melodies that were floating through my head. As much as I love playing around with other instruments, pipes always felt like home. In Pipe Dreams I'm playing a pipe patch with a MIDI keyboard controller, so while sometimes I'm sculpting these sounds to be idiomatically pipe-like, there are other times when the sound world is clearly driven by what multiple fingers can command a keyboard to play. Sound sample.

Track 2 - Tour One from the Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours (2001)
Track 3 - Reservoir Boys (1975)
Track 4 - Experts And Aberrations (1968)
Track 5 - Cynthia's Roget (1981)
Track 6 - Mutatis Mutandis (1970)
Track 7 - Rigor Mortis Loony Tunes (1977)
Track 8 - Tour Two from the Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours (2001)
Track 9 - Shimmer (1973)
Track 10 - Phil's Float (1974)
Track 11 - Rigor Mortis Trance Dance (1977)

To view selected sections of Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies, Part One: The Book, click on one of the following:
Chapter 1, Emergent Music
Chapter 15, Visual Music Flavors

Information on Part 2: The DVDs.

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