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Acousmatic music defined

2004-02-03

Finally I’ve found a short and concise definition of acousmatic music. It’s at the end of the announcement of “Métamorphoses” Competition – Acousmatic Music Composition Competition:

Acousmatic: recorded work composed in studio projected on loudspeakers in concert with no live intervention of instrumentalists.

Musiques &amp Recherches also provides a more thorough definition. This definition is rather interesting :

The acousmatic listening experience is independent of the visual domain and thus frees the mental images and creative forms of our imagination. Acousmatic sounds heard through a loud speaker with no clue as to what causes them are the basic elements of the acousmatic art and ‘musique concrète’ vocabulary. These sounds called “sound objects” are in fact impressions traces. Organised and liberated from an “explanatory” way of listening they offer us access to emotion sensation metaphor … Therein resides the work of the composer.

Having recently reread Einstein’ Dreams by Alan Lightman (in a Danish translation borrowed ad infinitum from a past composition teacher) I feel that according to this definition acousmatic music tries to free sounds from their physical origin (or the x y z-dimensions) while maintaining a sense of time (t-dimension). In my own music I’ve been striving to free sound from the time axis and the linear narrative setting. I’ve wanted my own music to be experienced in a similar manner to paintings or sculptures. I feel that if I’m to concentrate on the sensual qualities of the sound as an abstract phenomena I have to get inside of the sound not just pass through it.

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