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Music without musicians ... but with scientists, technicians and computer companies

Parolini, Giuditta

In the early days of music technologies the collaboration between musicians, scientists, technicians and equipment producers was very close. How did this collaboration develop? Why did scientific, business, and musical agendas converge towards a common goal? Was there a mutual exchange of skills and expertise? To answer these questions this article will consider a case study in early computer music. It will examine the career of the Italian cellist and composer Pietro Grossi (1917–2002), who explored computer music with the support of mainframe manufacturers, industrial R&D, and scientific institutions. During the 1970s, Grossi became an eager programmer and achieved a first-hand experience of computer music, writing several software packages. Grossi was interested in avant-garde music as an opportunity to make ‘music without musicians’. He aimed at a music composed and performed by machines, and eventually, he achieved this result with his music software. However, to accomplish it, Grossi could not be a lonely pioneer; he had to become a member, albeit an atypical one, of the Italian computing community of the time. Grossi’s story, thus, can tell us much about the collaborative efforts stimulated by the use of early computer technologies in sound research, and how these efforts developed at the intersection of science, art and industry.
Published in: Organised sound, 10.1017/s135577181700019x, Cambridge University Press
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.