While Leonore poundered over some beautifully original modern visual art, I was browsing the web in search of contemporary composing techniques. I don’t know about you, but much of modern music for me is either a dull revival of well-known practices or experiments that lead to headache and chronicly depressed ears. But the same is true for much of modern art it seems, although strikingly within the realms of established art-vending and art-educating institutions. As Leonore showed, there are searchers for new things, which don’t necessarily follow the goal of overkilling our taste with meaningless experiment. Independent artists.
An artist might become independent by means of his nature and also by his choice of learning ressources. Today you don’t have to buy the inseperable package of information and dogmatism, like in traditional conservatories and schools, but you can also try to find some usefull information yourself and make your own experiments, following your own taste.
If you should ever wish to write a piece of music for whatever reason, there is a whole lot of information on the internet that can get you started. The best source for general knowledge remains a book about harmonics, but then you can find sound, videos and text that make you understand the art of music faster and deeper, by employing all your senses, than most printed books and you have a wide repertoire of expressions, ranging from the beginnings to the very present at your disposition.
Let me give you some usefull links I found today – they focus on the basics of contemporary (western) classical music. For world and popular formats, the available content is even larger!
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5BFCE9F5763D1241 – A list of Videos about the classical orchestra, mostly focused on 20th century pieces – the author is a composer with wide interests from rock to movie scores.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6XF8XkWY4w&feature=relmfu – these two videos show violinist Leo Kitajima experiment on his fiddle, showing what possible sounds it can produce.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myXAUEuECqQ&feature=related – A short introduction on how to change the sound of a piano
http://www.moderncellotechniques.com/ – another site on cello
http://community.vsl.co.at/forums/p/9702/72426.aspx and lastly, in this forum post you have a list of some unorthodox reads and online resources concerning multiphonics, that is playing two or more notes simultaniously on wood and brass instruments. The VSL in general is an awesome mixing tool, unfortunately for a professional price.
Update: Check out also this article for a list of libraries for animal sounds and for you composers at the forefront of technology, I recently found out about biofeedback music like this project, with which you can use plants as midi controllers.