James Tenney Remembered 1934-2006

I just learned this morning that my CalArts Professor, James Tenney, passed away in August of this year.

I remember the first day of class with him. James mentioned that when people asked what kind of music he wrote, he would sometimes respond with, “I write unpopular music.” I have since used that line many times myself.

One of my favorite works of his is For Ann (rising), a process music composition featuring an endless rising glissando. This glissando is similar to Jean-Claude Risset’s. In my opinion, Tenney’s is more musically interesting, and the illusion of the glissando is much more transparent.

James is also one of the performers in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte, which is featured on Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music.

James, you will be missed.

Whitney Music Box

Whitney Music Box

The Whitney Music Box is a wonderful example of Process Music. The audio generated is musical in nature, and the process itself is obvious thanks to the simplicity of the animation. Each of the 18 variations have their own distinct qualities, showing the versatility of the instrument and of the sound spaces it creates.

Whitney Music Box is based on John Whitney’s motion graphics, realized by Jim Bumgardner, aka KrazyDad.

From the description:

in three minutes, the largest dot will travel around the circle once, the next largest dot will travel around the circle twice, the next largest dot three times, and so on. the dots are arranged to trigger notes on a chromatic scale when they pass the line

Thanks to PAgent of PAgen’ts Progress for the link.