Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer: Experimental music beyond sonification

  title={Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer: Experimental music beyond sonification},
  author={Volker Straebel and Wilm Thoben},
  journal={Organised Sound},
  pages={17 - 29}
Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer (1965), often referred to as the ‘brain wave piece’, has become a key work of experimental music. Its setup, in which the brain waves of a solo performer are made to excite percussion instruments, has given the work a central place in the discourse on artistic sonification. However, only a small number of the authors making reference to the work seem to have studied the score, and even fewer have given thought to the score's implications for performance… 

Music for Various Groups of Performers (After Lucier): An Improvised Electroencephalographic Group Performance

The piece explores and investigates group and individual dynamics within a performance context considering the individual performers, their relationships with each other and the audience as well as their interaction with the technology.

The Alchemy of Chaos: A Sound Art Sonification of a Year of Tourette’s Episodes

This paper documents the development of a Touretteshero project called The Alchemy of Chaos, a sound art piece that translates a year of intensive ticcing episodes (or `ticcing fits') into a six minute sonification, which emphasises both the faithful representation of data and the aesthetic sound quality, drawing techniques and ideas from sound design for film.

Vrengt: A Shared Body-Machine Instrument for Music-Dance Performance

This paper describes the process of developing a shared instrument for music-dance performance, with a particular focus on exploring the boundaries between standstill vs motion, and silence vs sound, using sonification as a tool for systematically exploring the dancer's bodily expressions.

The Alpha Orient

The alpha brain wave sonification inaugurated by Alvin Lucier in Music for Solo Performer (1965) ushered in biofeedback as a new possibility for art and a racialized fantasy of the “Orient.” The

RAW: Exploring Control Structures for Muscle-based Interaction in Collective Improvisation

The ongoing process of developing RAW, a collaborative body–machine instrument that relies on ‘sculpting’ the sonification of raw EMG signals, is described, which aims to explore the musical aesthetics of naturally occurring bioelectric signals.

The Alpha Orient: Lisa Park and Yoko Ono

Abstract:The alpha brain wave sonification inaugurated by Alvin Lucier in Music for Solo Performer (1965) ushered in biofeedback as a new possibility for art and a racialized fantasy of the "Orient."

The Brain at Work: Cognitive Labor and the Posthuman Brain in Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer

Abstract:This essay examines cognitive labor and the posthuman brain in composer Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer (1965). Alongside a discussion of the historical relationships between

Musical Silhouette : resemblance , trace , occlusion , self-portraiture

The silhouette is recognized in philosophy and art as a peculiar means of identification and knowledge, not just through its creation of a visual double (a concept often aesthetically unpacked

Appropriating Biosensors as Embodied Control Structures in Interactive Music Systems

We present a scoping review of biosensors appropriation as control structures in interactive music systems (IMSs). Technical and artistic dimensions promoted by transdisciplinary approaches, ranging

Soft(ware) sculpture : spatial and temporal interventions in audio-visual media

Soft(ware) Sculpture’ is a re-articulation of the notion of sculpture developed in this thesis to reflect sculpture’s new relationship with software and the consequent emergence of new forms of




The sonification metaphor is not limited to electronic sound synthesis and computer music, but can be applied to instrumental music as well. The relation of sonification to program and experimental

Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music

Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music. By Alvin Lucier. Middletown, CT Wesleyan University Press, 2012. xiv + 218pp (hardcover). Illustrations, Index. ISBN 978-0-81957297-4. Price: $24.95 Those who

Live electronic music

Since the 1930s composers have been using this property of electronics to produce not just new sounds but fundamentally new approaches to organising the sonic world, enabling new and volatile connections.

Plymouth brain-computer music interfacing project: from EEG audio mixers to composition informed by cognitive neuroscience

  • E. Miranda
  • Computer Science
    Int. J. Arts Technol.
  • 2010
This paper reports the current level of development achieved by our research into brain-computer music interfacing (BCMI), which is aimed at special needs and Music Therapy, in addition to the

Aesthetic strategies in sonification

Important aspects determining how the authors listen to sonification are discussed in this paper: elicited sounds, repeated sounds, conceptual sounds, technologically mediated sounds, melodic sounds, familiar sounds, multimodal sounds and vocal sounds.

Sonification Abstraite/Sonification Concrète: An 'Aesthetic Perspective Space' for Classifying Auditory Displays in the Ars Musica Domain

It is posited that many sonifications have suffered from poor internal ecological validity which makes listening more difficult, thereby resulting in poorer data extraction and inference on the part of the listener.

Minding the (Transatlantic) Gap: An Internet-Enabled Acoustic Brain-Computer Music Interface

A first demonstration of a novel system for Internet-enabled manipulation of robotic acoustic instruments, with feedback, using a non-invasive EEG-based BCI and low-cost, commercially available robotics hardware is reported and examined.

Extended Musical Interface with the Human Nervous System: Assessment and Prospectus

The original version of the monograph “Extended Musical Interface with the Human Nervous System: Assessment and Prospectus” was written in 1989 and published in 1990. The author’s purpose in creating


A new definition for sonification and auditory display is introduced that emphasizes the necessary and sufficient conditions for organized sound to be called sonification, and suggests a taxonomy, and discusses the relation between visualization and sonification.

The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies

Contributors List of Figures Introduction: New Keys to the World of Sound - Trevor Pinch and Karin Bijsterveld SECTION I: REWORKING MACHINE SOUND: SHOP FLOOR & TEST SITES 1. The Garden in the