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Towards a Taxonomy of Latin American
Electroacoustic and Computer Music

ix 1999

The main objective of this text is to outline a classification for systematizing the study of the electroacoustic and computer music production by Latin Americans. It is known that there is very little written material about the history of electroacoustic and computer music in the Latin American region. Some people have been working systematically for that purpose, but there is still a big gap.

Composers have been grouped below according to aesthetical, musical, technological, geographical, and chronological considerations.

  1. Chile, so far the pioneer country: Juan Amenabar, Jose Vicente Asuar, Leon Schidlovsky, and Samuel Claro.
  2. Pioneer composers in other countries: Peru (a very important pioneer country): Jose Pinilla, Edgard Valcarcel, and Cesar Bolanos; Columbia: Jacqueline Nova; Argentina: Francisco Kropfl; Guatemala: Joaquin Orellana; Brazil: Jose Maria Neves: Uruguay: Hector Tosar; and Cuba: Juan Blanco.
  3. "Pure Latin American contemporary music": Coriun Aharonian, Graciela Paraskevaidis, Eduardo Bertola, Oscar Bazan, Jose Maria Neves, Conrado Silva, and Cergio Prudencio.
  4. Individual tendencies: Ariel Martinez, Dante Grela, Jose Ramon Maranzano, Jose Augusto Mannis, Rodolfo Caesar, and Jorge Antunes.
  5. Non-Latin American approaches: Mauricio Kagel, Hector Tosar, Mario Davidovsky
  6. The computer music group: Ricardo Dal Farra, Roberto Morales, Aluizio Arcela, Rodrigo Segnini-Sequera, Juan Reyes, Martin Fumarola, Eduardo Miranda, Manuel Rocha-Iturbide, Rajmil Fischman, and Anselmo Guerra.
  7. Non residents of Latin America: Horacio Vaggione, Ricardo Mandolini, Mario Davidovsky, Mauricio Kagel, Julio Estrada, Mesias Maiguashca, Javier Alvarez, Alejandro Vinao, Ezequiel Vinao, and Gabriel Brncic.

Some typical features of Latin American contemporary music were considered as a framework of reference: the sense of time, discursiveness and non-discursiveness, use of reiterative elements, austerity, violence and taste for "little things," employment of silence, presence of the "primitive," cultural identity, use of technology, and "rupture of the borders" (i.e., producing music beyond the conventional). These analytical axes follow the framework expressed by Uruguayan musicologist Coriun Aharonian in his research article "Breaking Through Borders - An Approach to Compositional Trends in Latin America."

Some of the conclusions come from my papers: "An Approach to a Latinamerican Computer Music" (presented past year at the ICMC in Hong Kong); "Change and Permanence in Latinamerican Electroacoustic and Computer Music" (my article about the basic discography of Latin American electroacoustic music, which appeared in Computer Music Journal 20:4); and some other articles published in Array and Contact! Certain composers and musicologists have made very valuable contributions: Coriun Aharonian,Graciela Paraskevaidis, Dante Grela, Ricardo Dal Farra, and Juan Amenabar.

I am aware that names might be missing, but this is a risk for anyone interested in electroacoustic and computer music by Latin Americans. All omissions are unintentional.

This text is based on the tutorial project presented to the Fourth Brazilian Symposium on Computer Music.

This material first appeared as a letter to the editor in Computer Music Journal 21(4), Winter 1997

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