Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Composers and Cultural Charity

One of my colleagues at the Hotel Cadillac, Professor of International Business Relations Dr. Wilhelm Emulatto, returned a few days ago after he and his wife adopted a Chinese baby. The Emulatto family’s charity has inspired me to think of ways in which composers have helped to cultivate a kinder, gentler society by mixing and matching cultures from around the globe.
Some composers have attempted to merge the intellectual superiority of Western Classical music with music from a third-world culture. David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus is a fine example. Others like Colin McPhee have used modern technology, such as TANDY Folk-Detectors and Quicktime 8mm cameras, to capture authentic field recordings of music associated with ancient Asian rituals and witch-burnings. And a third subsection of charitable ethnomusicologists, including the esteemed George Crumb, have been working to translate sounds made by all kinds of animals, from sophisticated dolphins to simple organisms such as plankton.
As many of you probably know, for years I have been attempting to outsource some of my TANDY-composing work to India. For example, there is a fellow there named Bruce who helps me translate some of my MIDI music into the European PAL format. I do not expect that my compositions would benefit from intermingling with undernourished foreign music, but I do support foreign cultures by paying foreigners for copying assistance and technological advisement. In the end, these foreigners might learn something, and that would be my charitable contribution to a truly global culture.
In the meantime, I hope to make a TANDY digital recording of some of the strange noises coming from Prof. Emulatto’s Chinese baby.


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