Ars Electronica 1992
Festival-Program 1992
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Festival 1979-2007


FOR ANN (rising) 1969, Tape Composition

'James Tenney James Tenney

In March 1969, I made what turned out to be my last piece of electronic (or computer-generated) music – FOR ANN (rising). I suppose this piece represents some sort of reaction away from the complexities of most of my earlier work – as it was perhaps a reaction to the complexities of life in New York in the 1960's. I like to think that it was not a negation, however, but a kind of turning inward, through which I first began to feel the possibility of old dichotomies dissolving - continuity vs. discontinuity, determinacy vs. indeterminacy, etc. -becoming indistinguishable at a point reached when it is carried to an extreme. In life, it seems to me now, nothing is truly determinate but the past, and indeterminacy is simply another word for "future". In music, however, it is possible to create a situation in which the indeterminate character of the future is suspended for a while, thereby suspending also anticipation, surprise, and thus drama, leaving nothing to be concerned with but the present. In FOR ANN (rising), as in the later KOANS and a few other pieces, this PRESENT involves microvariations in the sounds themselves, made more perceptible by the pieces' determinate forms, but it also involves the listeners' internal subjective processes in a way that is less obscured by drama-here the music is IN YOU.