The Research and Development Project


The goal of the proposed project is to research and develop several of David Tudor's compositions in order to bring them to a performance level.

Electronic components and circuitry, observed as individuals and unique rather than as servo-mechanisms, more and more reveal their personalities, directly related to the particular musician involved with them. The deeper this process of observation, the more the components seem to require and suggest their own musical ideas, arriving at that point of discovery, always incredible, where music is revealed from "inside", rather than from "outside".

David Tudor (1976)

These words of David's describe how he approached the creative process involved in making electronic music. I feel that in order to justly revive his music, a similar approach should be taken. Now, more than ever, it is important to take the necessary steps in an effort to keep David Tudor's music alive within the platform it was composed for - the live performance. Before doing so, however, time needs to be spend developing a repertoire. In this stage of development, Tudor's scores need to be studied, his electronic instruments tested and rebuilt when necessary, and finally, the music needs to be rehearsed to open up the "process of observation". Only after sufficient time is spent with the music as it is observed from the "inside", will it be ready for public performance.

Given the opportunity, this would be the first time a composition of Tudor's would be developed without his direct participation. Because of the enormous amount of work involved in such an undertaking, the proposed project will be focused on reviving the following works: Pulsers, Dialects and Toneburst.

Currently, I have seven of Tudor's electronic compositions in my repertoire: Soundings: Ocean Diary, Neural Network Plus, Neural Synthesis, Untitled 75/94, Phonemes, Rainforest, 5 Stone Wind. All of these pieces were learned and developed with the direct assistance from David Tudor. -John D.S. Adams


The project depends heavily on access to the documentation, electronic components, and circuit diagrams currently stored in New York City. Please note that a more permanent home is currently being sought for this archival material.

The research and development process will take place on three levels:

(1) Analysis of scores and work notes:
All existing notations (scores, flow diagrams, sketches, etc.) will be gathered, studied and used to generate a concise database of information for each of the pieces listed above. Presently, all of the raw material exists, but in a state of disarray. The information collected from this process will be critical to the structure of the piece.

(2) Identification and testing of electronic components:
The specific electronics Tudor used in performance determined the distinct pallete of sounds in each piece. It will be very important to make connections between the scores and the appropriate equipment. In Tudor's older works, many of the critical components were custom built. These components will require a fair amount of study so that they can either be rebuilt or carefully replaced by newer and more readily available devices.

(3) Putting it all together:
The final and most important stage will be to patch the specific equipment together for each piece and begin the process of experimention. The means by which the interconnected electronic components interact with each other, is crucial. It is at this final stage that the revived version for performance will be built to re-create the unique aesthetic that David Tudor had formulated in his performances.

All of this information will eventually become a part of the 'Tudor Archive' and accessible to anyone who is interested. Plans are underway to perform these pieces as a platform for others to learn and develop an understanding of David Tudor's methodology.

The project will take place over a 3 week period: 2 weeks in New York City where all of the archival materials are currently housed; 1 week in Toronto for further experimentation and fine tuning. In New York City, there is an important network of people (friends, colleagues, collaborators) who could be of assistance in the research process.


Reviving this complex music takes a certain kind of commitment; one that involves a strong dedication to David Tudor and his music. By making a concentrated effort to uncover information that David wasn't able to pass on to us himself, we will be moving towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of a great body of work. Only with this knowledge can we hope to pass on the joy of this music to others.

Our commitment, however, is not enough. We need support in order to carry out this exciting and difficult task. We are asking those who were involved with David and have a love for his music to be an active part of this project. Your financial assistance in this important first step, will bring us closer to realizing David Tudor's wish: to have his music live on.

For more information or to receive more information please contact: John D.S. Adams (
or D'Arcy Philip Gray (


This page was last updated on August 13, 2004. For more information contact: John D.S. Adams @ (
or D'Arcy Philip Gray @ Server space generously provided by Electronic Music Foundation