Realizing Electronic Dreams: A Composer's Notes And Themes functions as a guided tour through the compositional thought processes and the physical settings of the six new CDs that make up Part Three of the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project. Detailed program notes for every track open windows to the forces that generated the music. The book also provides program notes for two additional CDs of music made public for the first time, Volumes 1 and 2 of music for The Electronic Arts Of Sound And Light (1983), a book considered by academics and professionals as a classic in the field.

Associated with the program notes for each of the eight CDs are essays that thematically set the conceptual stage for the music on that particular CD.
Also included in the book is a section of special historical interest titled "Being Johnny MusicMeme", a section that features posters, programs, photos, reviews, articles, and interviews from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s connected with Pellegrino's work.

Pellegrino is a composer, performer, visual artist, researcher, and author of numerous articles and several groundbreaking books—An Electronic Studio Manual (1969), the first published book on the modern electronic music synthesizer, The Electronic Arts Of Sound And Light (1983), the first published book on integrated electronic technology in the arts, and Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies (2009), the first published book on the integration of algorithmic composition and visual music.

This book and the other parts of the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project are based on his research, composition, and performance experiences, both solo and in collaboration with numerous performance artists, in over 1,000 public presentations at art and science museums, cultural centers, and universities since the late 1960s in North America, Europe, and South America.

The complete package for the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project comes in four parts—Part One: The Book, Part Two: The DVDs, Part Three: The CDs (plus Part Three B: Realizing Electronic Dreams), and, coming soon, Part Four: Leading American Experimentalists of the late 20th/early 21st Centuries.

Sections of the book: a link to the Table of Contents, 2 excerpts, and another link to "Being Johnny MusicMeme".

Table of Contents

Excerpt from essay, Preface:


This book [Realizing Electronic Dreams: A Composer's Notes And Themes]is a companion to the first book of the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project. Whereas the first book lays out the background and philosophical positions as well as provides insight into the material found on Part Two: The DVDs, this book has a similar function in regard to the six CDs included in Part Three: The CDs. Plus this book includes Composer’s Notes on the CDs entitled Volume 1 and Volume 2 of The Electronic Arts Of Sound And Light: Music For The Book. My earlier book, The Electronic Arts Of Sound And Light (1983), had numerous graphic illustrations in the body of the book, but it did not include musical illustrations because I thought the presentation medium at that time was too clumsy. Belatedly the CDs entitled Volumes 1 and 2 provide some of those musical illustrations.

The music studies on each of the eight CDs are organized as concerts which is partly why the expression “composer’s notes” is used rather than liner notes. Although most modern composers tend to write their own program notes, the bulk of program notes for concerts are written by musicologists or wannabes with an historical and academic spin that focuses on the times and formal issues rather than the thought processes that give birth to the pieces. Musicologists have no way of knowing or even guessing what gives birth to a piece because they tend to be technical types rather than creative types. The principal driver for the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project is the notion that interested parties will benefit most from an unfiltered first hand account of what sort of thinking leads to the production of experimental sonic and visual music.

What follows is the complete preface I wrote for the first book. It applies equally to what you will find in this book plus it’s an essay on an attitude toward music-making that pays serious dividends to anyone who might want to explore the world of music experiment...

Excerpt from essay, Emergent Music:


Emergent Music

Emergent music is based on one of the key evolutionary imperatives, the creative principle that, through the process of procreation, leads to the generation of occasional variations rather than always exact replications. In lieu of the mechanics of natural selection, the composer, the person responsible for emergent music and visual music, must play the roles of decision maker and guide—deciding which forms that emerge from compositional algorithms or systems are sufficiently significant, and then judiciously guiding those algorithms or systems that best tend toward self-organization to generate the most desirable forms.

Engaging in the process of creating emergent music has value beyond the music itself. It's a method for breaking free of the chains of memories that represent the web of all your neural programs put into place long before the culture released you and before you decided that you wanted to be free of its chains. We are who we are because of our memories and all the associations connected to those memories. The trick for any artist wanting to sample what it means to be original is to break free of those memories and associations. Designing compositional algorithms or systems for creating emergent music is one path to that freedom.

The process requires working a fine floating line between functioning as a creative artist or being a slave to the syndrome linked to being a victim of comfort and security. In most cases relying on memory leads to the comfort and security of predictability because memory will lead you to do what's easiest, what's already been done in the past. Long-term memory forms through repetition, shock, or inspiration. It takes considerable effort to make new memories, and, beyond childhood, the older one gets, the more difficult it is to do so. Furthermore, cultural programming is so insistent and so effective today that even our youngsters are set in their ways earlier and earlier in life. We live in a global economy that's designed to get you to trade your life for some trinkets, bonbons, Madison Avenue dreams, and perpetuation; and for the most part, that economic mindset also rules the arts. As a counterweight to the aforesaid, any process that creates a sense of freedom, however fleeting, is worthy of consideration; exploring compositional algorithms for creating emergent music is a leading candidate in the creative arts.

Typically, in the initial stages, the output of compositional algorithms is difficult to predict. Thus the composer of emergent music is required intuitively to make aesthetic judgments about the expressive value of the initial output and whether, with sculpting, it has the potential to inspire the sort of depth and breadth of feeling that will move human beings. When working with emergent music it’s not uncommon to get the sense that you don’t really own it. But rather that it’s just yours to pass along for others to consider. And that’s why I refer to my work in this book, and on the CDs and DVDs, as studies for the benefit my own edification and hopefully that of others...

Being Johnny Music Meme

To access program notes, sound samples, and additional excerpts from the essays of Realizing Electronic Dreams: A Composer's Notes And Themes use the following links to each of the 8 individual CDs.

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

Information on Part 2: The DVDs.

Click here to buy this CD or other parts of Pellegrino's projects.


©1996-2010 Ron Pellegrino and Electronic Arts Productions. All rights reserved.