Here are three versions of a piece called Pendulum Music by experimental composer Steve Reich:
I’ve been thinking about what the differences between experimental music and sound art are, specifically how the final products are different and what their conceptions of the possibility of sound are. Looking at the presentations of Pendulum Music when performed by the Dartmouth Contemporary Music Lab, the Liminal art group, and the Ciclo de Musica Contemporanea, just reminded me how important the visual presentation of a piece is (which is something that is taught from the beginning of sculpture classes here at Guilford). In this sense, I think that the advantage of a sound art approach over experimental musical composition is a more holistic vision of a work that takes into account both sonic and visual considerations; in the end, I believe, producing a more effective and dynamic piece.
I also think that one of the limitations of an experimental musical composition approach is the very idea of “music” and seeing anything that falls outside of the bounds of Western musical tradition as “experimental.” To me, this sets up a binary of tradition vs experimentation that poses experimental music as an aberration from as opposed to a development in music.