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Out of stock

David Tudor, You Nakai

Reminded by the Instruments. David Tudor's Music (Book)

Label: Oxford University Press

Format: Book

Genre: Sound Art

Out of stock

** 768 Pages | Over 300 illustrations  ** David Tudor is remembered today in two guises: as an extraordinary pianist of post-war avant-garde music who worked closely with composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen and as a founding figure of live-electronic music. His early realization of indeterminate graphic scores and his later performances using homemade modular instruments both inspired a whole generation of musicians. But his reticence, his unorthodox approaches, and the diversity of his creative output — which began with the organ and ended with visual art — have kept Tudor a puzzle.

Illustrated with more than 300 images of diagrams, schematics, and photographs of Tudor's instruments, Reminded by the Instruments sets out to solve the puzzle of David Tudor by applying Tudor's own methods for approaching the materials of others to the vast archive of materials that he himself left behind. You Nakai deftly patches together instruments, electronic circuits, sketches, diagrams, recordings, letters, receipts, customs declaration forms, and testimonies like modular pieces of a giant puzzle to reveal the long-hidden nature of Tudor's creative process. Rejecting the established narrative of Tudor as a performer-turned-composer, this book presents a lively portrait of an artist whose activity always merged both of these roles. In reading Tudor's electronic devices as musicological 'texts' and examining his idiosyncratic use of electronic circuits, Nakai undermines discourses on sound and illuminates our understanding of the instruments behind the sounds in post-war experimental music.


"It is not unusual to have scholarly books written about the output of one composer, but it is rare to find one of such length written with such passion and with such complete and extensive information ... . One is presented with a creative thinker who is not just a pianist/organist, not just a composer, but also an electronics genius and an experimenter with sounds that had not previously been used in the context of classical music ... this book will convince the reader that Tudor's life was rich indeed." -- D. L. Patterson, CHOICE

"Nakai comes across in this book as earnest, humble, and eager to learn. His attention to detail is unflagging. In several lengthy passages, he meticulously goes through Tudor's old clippings from hobbyist magazines and matches them to electronic instruments that Tudor constructed." -- Geeta Dayal, Experimental Music

"There is no doubt this will be the authoritative text on David Tudor than any future publication on the subject will be held up against. It performs a great service in humanising his legacy, and by extension, that of the other great avant artists of the 20th century." -- Leah Kardos, The Wire

"A groundbreaking book that not only provides unique insight into the work of one of America's most influential if enigmatic electronic pioneers, but shifts the very paradigm of musical analysis in the aftermath of the transistor." -- Nicolas Collins, Professor, Department of Sound, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

"You Nakai's book is a remarkable achievement that illuminates the breadth and depth of David Tudor's life and work as a composer-performer. Based on extensive analytical research and interviews with Tudor's surviving creative associates, it charts his evolution from organist and virtuoso pianist to his innovative live-electronic music, ending with his final explorations of sound and space. Engagingly written and eminently readable, this extraordinary study offers fresh insights into Tudor's reclusive personal life and elusive creative complexities." -- Gordon Mumma, composer, Professor Emeritus, University of California

Cat. number: 9780190686765
Year: 2010