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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathAudio

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Three central concepts molded the manner in which mechanical musical instruments were handled. The first one can be found in the oldest automatic musical instruments: the aeols harp and wind chimes, whose strings or chimes are caused to accidentally vibrate by the movement of the air, creating a kind of natural, ‹organic› music. Diederich Nikolaus Winkel's «componium,» constructed in 1821, which could derive more than fourteen quintillion variations from an incoming theme, was a machine that developed this idea.[65] The second central concept of mechanical music machines is the aesthetic representation of higher laws. The carillons in astronomical clocks (for example in the Strasbourg Cathedral, circa 1354) represented divine principles and their connection with science, for instance the idea of the harmony of the spheres.[66] The third central concept implies that human beings can be perfected by a mechanism able to reproduce their abilities or even surpass them. Jacques Vaucanson's flute-playing satyr from 1738 embodied this striving for exact reproduction and greater control.


These three central concepts can also be found in audio art. The first one—the extraction of ‹scores› from processes alien to art—is present in score synthesis and is widespread in audio art. It accepts not only nature and mathematics, but also technical and communicative processes as sources of design rules. We encounter the second central concept, the representation of higher laws, amongst other things in the intermedia connections between the arts. However, these are seldom unbrokenly directed towards metaphysical ideas, but rather more towards phenomena of perception.

The central issue of audio art is the third concept: gaining control and the technically determined feasibility of what was previously unachievable. The storage, transmission and synthesis of sound as well as intermedia transformation and virtualization are amongst these new possibilities, and as the examples show they are consistently at the core of the musical examination of technical media. As the examples likewise document, artistic value does not solely unfold through an increase in control, extended playability or

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