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The sound of becoming: moving towards a virtual music

Justin Yang
janvier 2012

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.56698/filigrane.437



In 1985 Jacques Attali proposed a new modality for music. He suggests that there be “not a new music, but a new way of making music... a radically new form of the insertion of music into communication” (Attali 134). What Attali foretold has become a firm reality in contemporary musical practice. One has only to look at any current musical activity to encounter work that relies heavily on real-time interaction and dynamic generation and/or modification of materials. But why is this ontologically different ‘mode of essentially interactive and transformative existence’ (Ziarek 195), this ‘new way of making music’, so attractive to contemporary artists? What is motivating artists to abandon a production model in favor of a model of real-time interactive exploration? I will argue that at the foundation of this new artistic ontology lies Deleuze’s concept of the virtual. It is a recognition of the virtual power of music, that music making can be an act of invention, a process where one can discover something never before experienced.


Texte intégral   


1A young John Coltrane is on tour with the Miles Davis Quintet. Coltrane is playing like a man possessed. His solos are getting longer, denser, and more “out”. Some report solos reaching the hour-long mark, unheard of in the 1950s. By most accounts, Davis was very hard on his players and the young Coltrane was no exception. I can imagine Davis’ fury building up with each of Coltrane’s unbelievably long solos. By most accounts, Coltrane had the greatest respect for Davis. Even late in his career, when he was well established, Coltrane never failed to acknowledge how valuable his early years with Davis were. It seems unlikely that these solos were meant as a challenge or fight for hegemony on the part of Coltrane. In a famous story, the band is in a recording session and the producer calls a break. Miles, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, they all stop playing. Coltrane however does not. It seems as if he cannot. The notes just keep coming out. Miles, at the boiling point, bursts out: “Why does Trane have to blow so goddamn hard and play so many goddamn notes?” Coltrane comes to Davis, confused, troubled, genuinely seeking out some help, and asks with his soft-spoken baritone, “I don’t know what to do. I just put it in my mouth and I keep playing and I don’t know how to stop.” Miles, incredulous, rasps, “What do you mean you don’t know how to stop? Just take the horn out of your mouth”1.

2Many writers have sited this story as a fable to extol the virtues of sparse playing and Davis’ gift for economy, using a little to say a lot. For me, this story’s most valuable message lies in the contrast between Davis and Coltrane. What is quite striking is how incredulous each artist is towards the other. Neither musician can understand the other’s position. There is a great musical, aesthetic, even ethical divide. Davis is truly baffled by Coltrane. He is frustrated to his wits end because as far as he is concerned there is no issue. When you need to stop, you just stop playing. It is quite simple. Coltrane is also truly perplexed. His is a genuine dilemma. It is nearly impossible for him to stop and he cannot understand why no one else is struggling with this same problem.

3I would contend that this fable, highlighting two distinct aesthetic approaches to music making, illustrates one of the great musical revolutions of our time. Many celebrate Schoenberg/Coleman and the use of atonality as a turning point in musical evolution. Others point to John Cage and Albert Ayler, through Lachenmann to the Groupe de l’Itinéraire, as another revolution, that of timbre replacing melody, rhythm and harmony. The artistry of John Coltrane embodies another revolution, one less frequently discussed, and arguably more significant in the light of contemporary practice. The ideological clash between Davis and Coltrane illustrates a passing of the guard, a move from an expression-reproduction model of music making, to a model that emphasizes navigation and exploration. While improvised, Davis’ solos were still premeditated. He conceived of the solo in terms of a beginning, middle, and end. He thought a great deal about taking existing models and expanding them and refreshing them, but he always built upon a preexisting set of concepts and materials. Coltrane was pursuing a different agenda with a completely different set of assumptions. He went into a solo seeking to abandon what had come before. The solo for Coltrane was a context for exploration. His audience was watching the process of exploration; they were witnessing Coltrane in the act of trying to discover something no one else had experienced. Of course Davis could not understand Coltrane’s dilemma, you stop the way you always stopped, the way you had planned. Of course Coltrane could not understand why Davis was not troubled the way he was; when you begin an exploration, you cannot stop, there will always be more to discover.

4In 1985 Jacques Attali proposed a new modality for music. He suggests that there be “not a new music, but a new way of making music… a radically new form of the insertion of music into communication”2. Quoting Barthes, Attali seeks “to put music into operation, to draw it toward an unknown praxis”3. Krzysztof Ziarek, in a rewriting of Benjamin’s seminal essay, examines the work of art in the age of its electronic mutability. He suggests that the contemporary work of art is in its essence a virtual entity.

“The work of art in the age of globalization appears to be characterized crucially in terms of being interactive, open to multiple and unexpected modifications, and defined in its electronic and virtual existence by an intrinsic mutability. Such artwork is not just reproducible in different circumstances but mutates and evolves, while remaining the ‘same’. It literalizes this transformative ability: it is no longer the matter of changing contexts or capacity for multiple interpretations, but of a different ontological structure of the artwork: in short, of a different mode of essentially interactive and transformative existence”4.

5What Attali foresaw and Ziarek describes is a firm reality in contemporary musical practice. One has only to look at any current musical activity to encounter work that relies heavily on real-time interaction and dynamic generation and/or modification of materials. While Attali and Ziarek provide insightful analysis on the nature and repercussions of this new modality, they do not explore the root causes of this change. Why did Coltrane break from the expression-reproduction model, and why did he gravitate towards a model of exploration? Why is this ontologically different “mode of essentially interactive and transformative existence”, this “new way of making music”, so attractive to contemporary artists? What is motivating artists since John Coltrane, to abandon a production model in favor of a model of real-time interactive exploration? This article seeks to address these questions and examine the fundamental ideas behind this musical revolution.

6I will argue that at the foundation of this new artistic ontology lies Deleuze’s concept of the virtual. It is the recognition on the part of Coltrane and other likeminded artists of the virtual power of music, that music can be a platform for exploration and discovery. The revolution lies in asserting “not a new music, but a new way of making music”5, on creating a virtual music that is actualized in performance. A demanding concept, Claire Colebrook provides a succinct summary of the virtual:

“Life for Deleuze is a virtual power, the power to become: not towards some already given end or on the basis of what already (actually) is. Virtual difference has the power to become in unforeseen ways, always more than this actual world, and not limited by its already present forms”6.

7In performances where there is no input, where materials are created and manipulated in real-time, in situations where decisions are distributed throughout a dynamic network of independent operators, the virtual is in play. These works are no longer objects but environments, ecosystems. They are defined by a “virtual existence” and an “intrinsic mutability”. Performance then becomes the point of actualization. They are actualizations of a virtual reality.

8The model used by Miles Davis focused on an already given end and was based on what already was. Coltrane’s model focused on exploring and becoming. In his practice, Coltrane sought to transcend what already exists and reveal something surprising and unforeseen. Todd May comments on the virtual in Coltrane:

“Coltrane practiced up to eight hours a day. He sought out different forms of music, different types of musical scales, different musicians to talk to. The end of this practice and this seeking was not to master the music but to be able, at the moment of playing, to allow the virtual of music to actualize itself through his saxophone”7.

9The virtual is a concept that Deleuze discusses throughout his career and a key component of his metaphysical project, transcendental empiricism. Deleuze draws the concept of the virtual out of his close reading of Bergson, and while it is beyond the scope of this article to present an exhaustive exposition of this discourse, I will seek to flesh out some of the principle ideas surrounding the virtual and in particular aspects that impact contemporary musical practice. Deleuze offers an initial definition of the virtual by relating it to Proust’s states of experience: “In every respect, the virtual echoes the formulation which Proust gave to his states of experience: ‘real without being actual, ideal without being abstract’”8.

10Let us examine the first part of Proust’s definition “real without being actual”. The virtual’s reality or “realness” is an important distinction in Deleuze. He establishes the realness of the virtual in contrasting it with the possible which is not real. Constantin Boundas provides this clear analysis:

“A virtual X is something which, without being or resembling X, has nonetheless the efficiency (the virtus) of producing X. In opposition to the virtual, the possible has no reality, whereas the virtual, without being actual, is real. The possible must be realized, and the process of its realization is subject to two essential rules, resemblance and limitation. The real is supposed to be in the image of the possible that it realizes. The possible resembles and represents the real. As for the limitation which affects the relation between the possible and the real, it is as if the real were what survives the abortion of the many possibles. When, on the other hand, we come to the rules of the actualization of the virtual, we find them to be rules of difference and divergence: the actual does not resemble or represent the virtual that it embodies. The characteristic of the virtual is to exist in such a way that, for it, to be actualized is to be differenciated”9.

11Elaborating the Davis/Coltrane example, Miles Davis is dealing with a set of possibilities, those loosely defined by the Jazz tradition. When he encounters a chord change a number of different scales are possible, but once he chooses one, for example the whole-tone scale, all others cease to be real, or retroactively were never real in the first place. Deleuze observes how “the possible looks suspiciously retrospective or retroactive; it is suspected of being constructed after the fact, in resemblance to the real which it is supposed to precede”10. Coltrane is not dealing with a set of possibilities, but rather a virtual entity, the virtual of improvisation, or as Todd May asserts, the virtual of music. Improvisation or music has the virtue of being completely real, but not actual. It is only through a process of actualization or differentiation that the virtual becomes actual, but its actualization does not resemble. A Coltrane solo is an actualization of the virtual of improvisation, but the two entities do not resemble each other.

12Deleuze puts forward the concept of Idea in elaborating on the second part of Proust’s definition of the virtual: “ideal without being abstract”. Deleuze contends that the Idea is : “A system of multiple, non-localisable connections between differential elements which is incarnated in real relations and actual terms”11.

13The Idea is the basis of the virtual entity, there is no materiality, it does not define a set or category of realities, things that already exist, but it proposes a problem, a challenge for discovering that which does not exist, and therefore has a generative or creative power. Boundas elaborates:

“Ideas are constitutive of problems – not of knowledge – in the sense that they give understanding and its objects both a direction and a system. […] Deleuze believes that the ability of a problem to be solved must be made to depend on the form that the problem takes. Instead of a haphazard quest for the solution of problems, one must rather determine the conditions under which problems are solvable, and progressively specify ‘fields of solvability’”12.

14In the Davis/Coltrane comparison, Davis’ whole-tone scale is a differentiated reality. You can answer the question “what is the whole-tone scale?” Coltrane, however, approaches the solo as a series of problems and a field of proposed solutions. For example: What will happen if I try to play more notes then there is room for (a technique that attracted the appellation “sheets of sound”)? We may be able to imagine some possibilities, but they are not defined or enumerated in the problem. Coltrane’s solutions are propositions in a field of inquiry. Furthermore, the Idea or problem respects and operates within our unique individuality, yielding novel, personal and inimitable propositions to the problem. A whole-tone scale has certain properties, regardless of who plays it, whereas Coltrane’s sheets of sound is a unique solution to the inquiry: Can I play more notes then there is physically room for? Another’s solution for this problem would be completely different, but an actualization of the same virtual, both propositions, while being distinct from the problem, are seen as inherently suggested by the problem. Getting to the heart of the virtual, it has no materiality, while being completely real; it does not define any pre-determined conditions or structures, and does not resemble its actualization. In the Davis, his mode of improvisation has, a priori, a set of defined and material possibilities, the history of playing over chord changes from Louis Armstrong through Charlie Parker, a system of tonality and scales, etc. So when Davis chooses to play a phrase, one is immediately able to perceive its origin in the set of possibilities and is able to imagine the alternatives that were not chosen. In Coltrane, this is not so, he proposes problems such as: what happens if I tried to play more notes than there is room for, or what happens when I destabilize the relationship between soloist and rhythm section? These problems do not suggest the particular form or nature of the solutions nor are the unrealized choices apparent in the final actualization. Yet the problem of playing more notes than there is room for is a real, though non-material entity.

15Finally, it will be helpful to remark on the process by which a virtual entity becomes actual. This occurs through the temporal-based process of differentiation. Again Boundas:

“Differenciation does not happen between one actual term and another actual term in a homogeneously unilinear series, but rather between a virtual term and the heterogeneous terms which actualize it along the lines of flight of several ramified series. Differentiation does not determine the process of actualization; it generates problems, raises questions and seeks out solutions”13.

16Differentiation takes place within a Bergsonian concept of time which functions as a qualitative, heterogeneous flow he calls Duration. Differentiation and duration are challenging concepts that elude in-depth explication here, but let it be sufficient to remark that differentiation is an evolutionary process: “It will even be inappropriate to say that duration is; it always becomes. It is, therefore always incomplete, heterogeneous and a continuous emergence of novelty”14.

17To summarize my comments on the virtual, I combine statements from an anonymous Wikipedia author and Daniel Smith and John Protevi’s entry on Deleuze in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

“Experience exceeds our concepts by presenting novelty, and this raw experience of difference actualizes an idea, unfettered by our prior categories, forcing us to invent new ways of thinking (wikipedia). The Deleuzean virtual is thus not the condition of possibility of any rational experience, but the condition of genesis of real experience”15.

18These concepts illuminate Coltrane’s dilemma—to stop is impossible, his is a virtual practice: always becoming, never complete, a continuous emergence of novelty.

Michael Alcorn’s Leave no Trace: The virtual of performance

19Actualization of the virtual is performative. As Rob Shields describes:

“The Virtual itself is a multiplicity which can be actualized in different ways. If it is known by its effects, then it is known through a specific instantiation, not as a whole. It thus retains its creative character as an ontological category pertinent to discussions of change, becoming, genesis, development, emergence, autopoesis, the genetic power of codes as well as of codings themselves”16.

20These categories of change, becoming, genesis, development, emergence, codes and codings are embodied in Michael Alcorn’s String Quartet, Leave no Trace, where pre-constructed notated materials, samples, and live electronics are triggered, molded, and manipulated in a live collaboration between composer and ensemble. In Leave no Trace, the composer/score-performer initiates various materials using a graphics tablet, the notations and instructions for the string quartet appear in real-time on one of four laptops. By inserting the composer into the performance process using real-time technologies, Alcorn has transformed the String Quartet from a vehicle of the possible to a vehicle of the virtual. While the materials are predetermined and the quartet is able to rehearse the materials and develop a familiarity and facility with them, in performance these elements become props, gestures in a theatre of performance, elements in a drama. Deleuze, in his elaborations on the virtual, alludes to these “dramatic” elements:

“We accumulate indexes and signs from moment to moment, following a path that never ends, […] pure spatio-temporal dynamisms (that) have the power to dramatize concepts, because first they actualize, incarnate Ideas17.

21Alcorn recognizes the significance of this “dramatization” of the creative process. He acknowledges his role as “performer” and his work as performative by placing the composer on stage with the ensemble:

“I like to be on stage because I like to feel people breathing. I felt it does change my behavior in the piece for actually being on stage with the performers and for me it is very much of a breathing physical presence and I think sitting in the audience and doing that, its not the same thing. Being on stage is part of the performance and I think if you are making music, which you are, being on stage with the tablet is critical”18.

22Part of the compositional, or ontological fabric of Leave no Trace are all of the trappings of performance: breath, body language, comportment, even posture. These, of course, are key components in any performance of chamber music, however, in traditionally composed works, such as a Beethoven string quartet, these non-musical elements are functional, used for cueing or for synchronization, in Alcorn, these elements become creative, serving generative functions, elemental in determining what the piece will become, operating only in this particular mode of real-time creation.

“I was incredibly struck the first time we performed the piece in public just how exciting it felt to be part of the performance, simply because you realize that without doing something or without solving particular musical problems nothing was going to happen, there would be an embarrassing silence on stage. […]
It was usually: ‘let’s begin it in a sporadic, violent sort of way’ or ‘let’s begin it in a slow way’ and that’s usually all I’ve decided. And then after that it’s like: ‘now what do you do?’ and ‘how do you make a piece out of this?’ And the durations of it have varied wildly, anything from nine or ten minutes up to sixteen, seventeen minutes and I’ve never really understood what’s gone on to make that so. I think a lot depends on how the players are playing on the day as to whether this could be extended or developed or whether its just a lost cause”19.

23Alcorn intuits that being part of the ensemble instantiates a feedback dynamic where the energy, mood and disposition of the players effects what choices the composer/performer makes, which in turn directly influence what the ensemble will play and indirectly inform their sensibilities. Leave no Trace is creatively dramatic: engendering music while acting through a drama.

“I could sense whether they were buying into something or not musically. I don’t know if you can understand that? There’s an intensity in how they play something that maybe is lost when you’re sitting in the audience but if you’re sitting besides somebody and you realize that they move forward in their seats slightly, all of a sudden its like ‘we’re going to really go for this’. So there’s a body language thing that comes across very strongly from them. You then think that they’re obviously game to really go for a really big crescendo here or something which I think if you’re sitting right beside somebody you notice these nuances and gestures. I think that’s critical so you would respond to their non-verbal, non-musical feed back as well”20.

24Leave no Trace, then, highlights the dramatic and performative aspects of the virtual. Michael Alcorn takes the string quartet performance, what was once a mode of production, realizing a fixed set of possibilities, and transforms it into a virtual entity, one which proposes certain musical problems to be addressed and actualized in a drama, both a Kantian one discussed by Deleuze where certain “dynamisms have the power to dramatize concepts” and a human one where tension, communication, opposition and collusion form the basis of a creative process.

Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome: The virtual of navigation

25The process of actualization of the virtual is performative, and as seen in Alcorn’s Leave no Trace, it can take place in a process of dramatization. In the work of Anthony Braxton, in particular with his recent Sonic Genome Project, the scope and scale of performance is greatly expanded, and in this enlarged context, performance begins to take on different attributes. It is transformed from a process of dramatization to one of navigation, through space, through time and on an expanded scale, where the creative process is a journey, and the virtual is actualized in a way specifically tied to the navigational choices made by individual operators throughout the work, the act of creative evolution embodied in what Braxton calls “the mystery of navigation through form”.

26Braxton’s Sonic Genome Project (SGP) was recently performed during the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. The SGP was an eight-hour event incorporating over fifty musicians. It was held in Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, which had several rooms and various exhibits (including a locomotive), all available to be used as performance platforms. Braxton arranged twelve core leaders and assigned each of these leaders an ensemble. Ensembles, individual musicians and spectators would then move throughout the space creating the work. James Fei, a composer, improviser and frequent Braxton collaborator, who participated in the most recent SGP performance describes it in these terms:

“The Sonic Genome is a logical extension of Braxton’s work up to the present moment, which has been based on a model of scalable material, performance practice and organizing principles. The Sonic Genome then, is a sort of meta work where any composition from Braxton’s extensive oeuvre can be utilized, performed in solo, small groups, or orchestral settings amidst a dense array of other activities”21.

27In the SGP, Braxton has created a multiverse actualized through each individual’s physical location throughout the performance space. Whether spectator or musician, each person, has a unique experience, which while still embodying the whole, remains distinct from the experiences of others. This aspect of the SGP is reflective of Deleuze’s concept that “Ideas are multiplicities: every idea is a multiplicity or a variety”22, underlining an important concept in Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, that of univocity. Another challenging concept, the primary implication of univocity here is that reality or being is multiple, or a multiplicity of becomings. If there is only one, univocal plane of existence, then being in its nature must be multiple. Also, if there is only one plane of being, then being is by nature evolutionary, it is not moving towards some other, some predetermined end, but it remains in a constant state of becoming itself. Braxton’s SGP emphasizes these two aspects of univocity: at any given moment of the work it exists as a single, actualized real, which is a multiplicity, a collection of each persons unique experience of the whole. Additionally, it is in a constant state of flux, of actualization, of becoming. Significantly, in the SGP, actualization is a function of navigation both physical and musical. Steve Lehman, a composer, improviser and collaborator with Braxton in the SGP comments on this unique navigational experience:

“If you went from one corner to another in a different room, you would literally be in a different musical space and it’s so rare that I’m consciously and actively in a situation like that. There was no shortage of moments where in this corner there’s two saxophonists and an electric guitar player and they are free improvising, and if I walk twenty feet this way there’s a vibraphonist and a violin player playing a very meticulously notated piece of music and I could get in on that if I wanted to or just watch or add to it”23.

28Lehman, in recounting his experiences in performing the SGP, emphasizes the novel aspects of navigation, alluding to the process of becoming as characterized by surprise and the unexpected:

“There were definitely moments where you would unexpectedly start playing music with someone and have it transform into something else when someone walks by from another space”24.

29Thus in Braxton’s SGP we find, through the extended time and spatial scale of the work, an artistic manifestation approaching Deleuze’s pure spatio-temporal dynamisms: a single, real, creative entity, that evolves in accordance with the navigation of its operators through time and space.

Justin Yang’s Webwork I: The virtual of infrastructure

30Justin Yang’s Webwork I embodies attributes reflective of the virtual, and observed in the previous two examples, that of the performative and navigational nature of actualization. Webwork I differs from these examples in that it presents no preconceived materials. For Yang the virtual is literally virtual: Deleuze’s virtual is actualized through the “essentially interactive and transformative existence”25 of digital media. The mechanism for actualization is then a rich infrastructure, a series of multilayered data-friendly interconnections, that present opportunities within a network of points of actualization.


Justin Yang : Webwork I

31In its most basic form, Webwork I exists as a collection of software executed throughout a computer network. This software facilitates the transmission of high-quality audio and video across physically dislocated performance sites, and enables the use of real-time notation in the form of computer animated graphics. The basic notational metaphor is that of an analog clock or a radar. There are light wands or dials which move around a circle and intersect simple graphic objects all of which are triggered in real time, potentially in a distributed, multi-nodal fashion. Musicians play when their assigned wand intersects an object. Wands are assigned across sites, with one musician from each site following the red wand, and a different musician from each site following the blue wand, etc. There are opportunities for intergroup correspondence when different wands intersect. What Yang presents here is essentially a communication system or a data management system which is optimized towards interactive performance. He provides a framework that emphasizes interaction and data transformation as the means of actualization. Through the simple radar device, performers can see what everyone else is doing or is going to do and it is all these potential moments of interaction that form the piece. Additionally, video, audio and graphics all exist as data and all have the potential of transforming from one to the other, or can be employed as control data, influencing the behavior of any or all of these manifestations. In this way, data feedback and resonance are put forth as primary grounds of actualization. Finally, the infrastructure itself exhibits behavior and characteristics. It is in many senses a “performing” entity. Musicians perceive latency, disembodiment, extension, and these become performance elements. The virtual then is manifested as infrastructure, a series of multilayered data-rich connections that present opportunities for developing Ideas.


32In conclusion, I would like to examine some of the implications of this revolutionary musical practice. What does it mean to be a composer, performer, music technologist and listener in light of an artistic ontology defined by its virtuality? Composers will need to examine how to lay out networks, infrastructure, and communication links in order to create a rich virtual environment. Performers must develop skills and strategies that relate to navigation and exploration and a performance practice that develops the creative potential of performance. Listeners will need to adapt to a new mode of participation where their presence and actions effect and influence outcomes. Brian Eno proposes an engaging metaphor:

“Generative music is like trying to create a seed, as opposed to classical composition which is like trying to engineer a tree. I think one of the changes of our consciousness of how things come into being, of how things are made and how they work is the change from an engineering paradigm, which is to say a design paradigm, to a biological paradigm, which is an evolutionary one. In lots and lots of areas now, people say, How do you create the conditions at the bottom to allow the growth of the things you want to happen? So a lot of the generative music thing is much more like gardening. When you make a garden, of course you choose some degree of control over what the thing will be like, but you never know precisely. That’s the wonderful thing about gardening. It responds to conditions during its growth and it changes and it’s different every year”26.

33Regarding music as a virtual entity the role of the artist then resembles that of the gardener, continuously nurturing the richest environment, maintaining the optimal conditions for growth and becoming. It is a dynamic process as Eno acknowledges: “it responds to conditions during its growth and it changes”. Anthony Braxton presciently embraces the multiplicity of reality and welcomes surprise and the unexpected as attributes of the evolutionary nature of the virtual:

“This project has not been approached as a final anything that closes off any parameter for the friendly experiencer. Nor have I sought to advance any one poetic disposition as the only correct position for me or anyone else for that matter. I have never thought in terms of utopian states or experiences that somehow signal the arrival of ‘one destination’ or one resultant (or ending). The system of experience I am advancing is an ongoing proposition (effort) in continuous motion”27.

34We thus warmly embrace Coltrane’s dilemma—the impossibility of stopping—and fix ourselves resolutely within the sound of becoming.


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David Toop, “The Generation Game”, The Wire, n°297, 2001.

“Gilles Deleuze”, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_Deleuze.

Krzysztof Ziarek, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Electronic Mutability”, in Andrew Benjamin (ed.), Walter Benjamin and Art, New York, Continuum, 2005.


1  Gene Seymour, “Jazz Titans: Anniversary Collections For Miles, Trane and Billie”, 2001, available at http://www.seeingblack.com/x122101/jazztitans.shtml.

2  Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, translated by Brian Massumi, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1985, p. 134.

3 Ibid., p. 135.

4  Krzysztof Ziarek, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Electronic Mutability”, in Andrew Benjamin (ed.), Walter Benjamin and Art, New York, Continuum, 2005, p. 195.

5  Jacques Attali, op. cit., p. 134.

6  Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (Routledge Critical Thinkers), London, Routledge, 2002, p. 96.

7  Todd May, Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 157.

8  Gilles Deleuze, Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974), New York, Semiotext(e), 2003, p. 101.

9  Constantin V. Boundas, “Deleuze-Bergson: an Ontology of the Virtual”, in Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze: A Critical Reader, Cambridge, Blackwell Publishers Inc, 1996, p. 86.

10  Gilles Deleuze, op. cit., p. 101.

11  Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, New York, Continuum, 2004, p. 183.

12  Constantin V. Boundas, op. cit., p. 88.

13 Idem (Boundas in this passage is distinguishing Differenciation with Differentiation. For our purposes both terms can be used synonymously (as Boundas himself does elsewhere employing different/ciation).

14 Ibid., pp. 92-93.

15  John Protevi & Daniel Smith, “Gilles Deleuze”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Online), 2008, available at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/deleuze/.

16  Rob Shields, “Virtualities”, Theory Culture Society, 23: 284, 2006, p. 284.

17  Gilles Deleuze, Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974), op. cit., pp. 98-99.

18  Michael Alcorn, “Interview with the author on 16 December 2010”, Belfast.

19 Idem.

20 Idem.

21  James Fei, “Questionnaire on Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome Project”, Personal communication (email), 11 January 2011.

22  Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, op. cit., p. 182.

23  Steve Lehman, “Interview with the author on 30 November 2010”, Belfast.

24 Idem.

25  Krzysztof Ziarek, op. cit., p. 195.

26  David Toop, “The Generation Game”, The Wire, n°297, 2001.

27  Anthony Braxton, “The Ghost Trance Music”, in Six Compositions (GTM) 2001 (CD booklet), San Francisco, Rastascan Records, 2000.


Justin Yang, «The sound of becoming: moving towards a virtual music», Filigrane. Musique, esthétique, sciences, société. [En ligne], Numéros de la revue, Deleuze et la musique, mis à  jour le : 20/01/2012, URL : https://revues.mshparisnord.fr:443/filigrane/index.php?id=437.


Quelques mots à propos de :  Justin Yang

Justin Yang est compositeur, improvisateur, musicien technologue, et théoricien. Son éducation formelle a commencé à l’Université de Pennsylvanie où il a étudié les motets de Lassus tout en étudiant la composition avec George Crumb. À Wesleyan University, il a reçu une maîtrise sous la tutelle d’Alvin Lucier et Anthony Braxton, et il eut l’occasion de collaborer avec les deux compositeurs. Il a reçu son doctorat de l’Université Stanford où il a étudié la composition avec Brian Ferneyhough, et développé des technologies avec Chris Chafe, le directeur du Centre de recherche informatique de la musique et acoustique (CCRMA). Actuellement, Yang finit un doctorat en arts sonores à la Sonic Arts Centre de recherche à Belfast (Irlande du Nord).