Emmerson, Simon


Analysis and the Composition of Electro-Acoustic Music

PhD Thesis. London: City University.

Language(s): English


Analysis Discourse within Electroacoustic Music Abstract Syntax and Abstracted Syntax Aural Discourse and Mimetic Discourse Mimesis Electroacoustic Music Tape Music


In this thesis dissertation, the author examines fundamental questions that have been raised through the field of electroacoustic music concerning the stages of the musical process from creation to reception. Chapter 1 argues for a four stage conception (based on a critique and extension of Molino’s tripartite scheme): ‘poiesis’, “realisation score’, signal’, and ‘aesthesis’. The idea of historical ’paradigm’ (after Kuhn) is examined and the central argument of the thesis propounded, namely the work of art as ’hypothesis under test’. Possibilities for a new musical paradigm are also explored. Chapter 2 applies Mellor’s characterisation of model theory to music where composers have used ’non-musical models’ for structure or material. Chapter 3 examines the articulation of ’mass’ sounds in contemporary and electroacoustic music. Chapter 4 investigates ’mimesis’ in electroacoustic tape music, and defines ’abstract’ and ’abstract syntaxes’ of music. Chapter 5 criticises the ’convergence’ theory between the Paris and Cologne philosophies. Chapter 6 presents works by the author (abstract and analyses - tapes and scores constitute Volume 2) illustrating various uses of ‘model’ in the composition of live electroacoustic music. Appendices cover topics on the music of Stockhausen, and two technical investigations.

Table of contents:

Chapter 1: Analysis
Chapter 2: The use of models and analogues in the poiesis of music
Chapter 3: The articulation of Mass Sounds in electro-acoustic music
Chapter 4: Methods and means in electro-acoustic music
Chapter 5: Conflicts in historical perspective
Chapter 6: Abstracts and analyses of works by the author
Appendix 1: Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I
Appendix 2: Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie II
Appendix 3: Stockhausen’s Stimmung: Notes towards an analysis
Appendix 4: Stockhausen’s Form Schemes
Appendix 5: Ring Modulation and Structure
Appendix 6: Time to frequency domain transformation experiments

All references of the same author:


Emmerson, Simon (1976). Electronic Music in Education
Emmerson, Simon (1986). The Relation of Language to Materials
Emmerson, Simon (1989). Composing Strategies and Pedagogy
Emmerson, Simon (1991). Interview with Jonathan Harvey
Emmerson, Simon (1994a). ‘Local/Field': Towards a Typology of Live Electroacoustic Music
Emmerson, Simon (1994b). 'Live' versus 'Real-time'
Emmerson, Simon (1995a). Analysis of Live Electronic Music
Emmerson, Simon (1995b). Electroacoustic Music: Aesthetic Situation and Perspectives
Emmerson, Simon (1996). Sentences for Soprano and Electronics: Towards a Poetics of Live Electronic Music
Emmerson, Simon (1998a). Acoustic/Electroacoustic: The Relationship with Instruments
Emmerson, Simon (1998b). Aural Landscape: Musical Space
Emmerson, Simon (2000a). Crossing Cultural Boundaries Through Technology?
Emmerson, Simon (2000b). ‘Losing Touch?': The Human Performer and Electronics
Emmerson, Simon (2000c). Time Regained
Emmerson, Simon (2001a). New Spaces/New Places: a Sound House for the performance of electroacoustic music and sonic art
Emmerson, Simon (2001b). From Dance to Dance: Distance and Digits
Emmerson, Simon (2001c). Pentes: A Conversation with Denis Smalley
Emmerson, Simon (2001d). The Electroacoustic Harpsichord
Emmerson, Simon (2006). In what form can ‘live electronic music' live on?