The Genesis of [sonic art]:
As a professor of guitar and music technology at Duquesne University, I teach a course entitled “The History of Electronic Music” which encompasses a wide span of music history ranging from unusual early electrical instruments to the present day marvels of digital music making. My students study and listen to recordings of esoteric electronic works such as tape compositions, music concrete, electro-acoustic pieces and purely electronic examples, with a focus on gurus of electronic composition Karlhienz Stockhausen, John Cage, Louis and Be Be Barron as well as modern works by Philip Glass, Terry Riley and David Borden.
During one semester our discussions culminated at a point where they felt a more accurate portrayal was needed for these works rather than simply “music” or “electronic music.” The class felt it was important to coin a term that would transcend the traditional definition they applied to music and respectfully sought my thoughts on using the term “sonic art” to describe these new and unfamiliar compositions and recordings.I thought “sonic art” was an excellent pairing of words to describe a mixture of electronic and studio techniques developed throughout the past and present century with art. So, as a nod to my class, great electronic musicians and inventors of electronic instrument whether past, present or future, I dedicate [sonic art].
Just Jazz Guitar
Chair of Duquesne University’s guitar department, Bill Purse, has released an album of varied musical textures with his release of [sonic art]. Bill Purse is a fine guitarist, composer, orchestrator and studio technician. All four of these aspects of his artistry are woven together in this album. Some of Pittsburgh’s finest musicians are also featured here, most notably, saxophonist Mike Tomaro and trumpeter Sean Jones who sounds grand on “Have You Met Mr. Jones?” a funky reworking of the Rogers and Hart classic song. Fellow Duquesne faculty guitarists Mark Koch and Kenny Karsh add their great playing to a number of the selections. The most personal and reflective composition is “OHS” which Purse wrote following his own open-heart surgery.
Reviewed by Dr. Joe Barth
” A true artist is able to capture the essence of our most celebrated human experiences, the things that bring us joy and fill our lives with beauty that is much greater than ourselves. Bill Purse is that artist and allows us to experience the beauty of our human experience through sound. Bill, thank you for allowing your soul to be a canvas for sound, portraying the beauty of our human experience!”
Sean Jones (Jazz Trumpeter)
” A wonderfully blending of creative writing, musicianship and technology”
Joe Negri (Jazz Guitarist)
Shearer Energy: (PDF score)
Wally’s Waltz by Johnny Smith (arranged by Bill Purse):
Merry-Go-Round from “Kennywood’s Open”: