Music without body: composition, computers and instrumental practice

Carlos Cerana

Laboratorio de Investigación y Producción Musical (LIPM)
Buenos Aires

Gabriel Persico

Conservatorio Nacional
Buenos Aires


This paper poses a theoretical discussion upon some aspects of computers' usage as a tool for musical composition, by analyzing its consequences to the education of composers, to the musical ideation process, and to the communication of musical work to the audience. Computer music brought --as one of its pessibilities-- the performing of music without a player. This gave the composer the responsibility of making performing decisions in the very act of composing. The authors question the possibility of an exclusively intellectual creation, generated without experiences that relate sound and body. Extremely, the actual possibility of developing a training in composition and of operating on complex musical structures, without having ever played an instrument. As a conclusion, the paper stresses the relevance of instrumental practice as a significant tool for structuring musical thought.