Musicology of Electroacoustic Music [MEM]  >  Discourse within Electroacoustic Music  ]

Simultaneously with the widespread availability of digital tools in the early-mid 1980s, many signifying practices - visual arts, dance, electroacoustic music - which had for some time been characterised by self-reflexive ’abstract’ work began to show a more explicit interest in various forms of narrative. From an acknowledgement that a work can explicitly document its own making it is a relatively small step to incorporating anecdotal, or programmatic-illustrative elements, and, encouraged by the sampler’s propensity for quotation and cross-referencing between works, histories, cultures and genres, it is easy to see that narratives, particularly of the fractured or non-linear variety, may emerge as a fruitful speculative playground.

Clearly the references to narrative here function in music at levels beyond the programmatic-illustrative mode with which we are familiar from much nineteenth century composition. In order to clarify the different possible relations to narrative which might be invoked in the case of electroacoustic music it may be useful to establish a crude heuristic taxonomy of ’narratives’ in order to avoid confusion:

- Narrative 1 (involving literal, semantically significant text)
- Narrative 2 (programmatic-illustrative)
- Narrative 3 (documentary-anecdotal)
- Narrative 4 (documentation of compositional process)
- Narrative 5 (use of structural or semantic strategies from natural language, or which are more frequently associated with the linguistic realm)

(Source - Simon Waters "The musical process in the age of digital intervention"


See also:

Abstract Sound, Acousmatic, Anecdotal Composition, Radiophonics, Reduced Listening, Referential Sound, Sampling, Transcontextuality



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Alphabetical order - Chronological order

Austin, Larry (2000). Sound Diffusion in Composition and Performance: An Interview with Denis Smalley
Bridger, Michael (2002). Narrativisation in Electroacoustic and Computer Music - Reflections on Empirical Research into Listeners’ Response
D’Escrivan, Julio (1989). Reflections on the Poetics of Time in Electoacoustic Music
Emmerson, Simon (1996). {Sentences} for Soprano and Electronics: Towards a Poetics of Live Electronic Music
Emmerson, Simon (1998b). Aural Landscape: Musical Space
Ferrari, Luc; Gayou, Evelyne, (2001). Avec, de, sur... Entre
Giomi, Francesco, Ligabue, Marco (1998a). Understanding Electroacoustic Music: Analysis of narrative strategies in six early compositions
Kankaanpää, Vesa (1996). Displaced Time: Transcontextual references to time in Kaija Saariaho’s {Stilleben}
McCartney, Andra (2002a). Alien Intimacies: Hearing science fiction narratives in Hildegard Westerkamp’s {Cricket Voice} (or ‘I don’t like the country, the crickets make me nervous’)
Norman, Katharine (1994). Telling Tales
Norman, Katharine (2000). Stepping Outside for a Moment: Narrative Space in Two Works for Sound Alone
Rubin, Anna (2000). {Forêt Profonde} by Francis Dhomont - Representations of the Unconscious
Rudi, Jøran (2005a). Computer Music Video: A Composer’s Perspective
Sani, Nicola (1997). Analysis of {Wassererinnerungen}, Part II, {The Pool}
Teruggi, Daniel, Couprie, Pierre (2001). Les {Presque rien} de Luc Ferrari. {Hétérozygote} et les {Presque rien}
Waters, Simon (2000a). The musical process in the age of digital intervention
Whalley, Ian (2000). Applications of System Dynamics Modelling to Computer Music
Wishart, Trevor (1986a). Sound Symbols and Landscapes
Wishart, Trevor (1989). The Function of Text in the {VOX} cycle