Case Study: Film Sound, Acoustic Ecology and Performance in Electroacoustic Music

Randolph Jordan

in Music, Sound and Multimedia

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625338
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671038 | DOI:
Case Study: Film Sound, Acoustic Ecology and Performance in Electroacoustic Music

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This chapter investigates a very different theme in live performance: the presentation of ‘acousmatic’ music, where sounds are produced to be listened to intently and ‘in their own right’, without any visual associations. The use of electroacoustical transmission is a crucial aspect of Pierre Schaeffer's concept of acousmatic music. The main difference between Schaeffer's original sense of acousmatic music and Michel Chion's adoption of the term ‘acousmatic’ for the cinema is that the main purpose of presenting sound acousmatically is to deflect attention from source while keeping the sound itself the object of intense scrutiny. R. Murray Schafer's concept of ‘schizophonia’ is also addressed. Chion is placed in the middle ground between Schaeffer's acousmatic ideal and the absolute banishment of electroacoustic technologies espoused by Schafer. The Xenakis portion of Hildegard Westerkamp's piece becomes the link point where abstraction and representation merge.

Keywords: live performance; acousmatic music; sounds; electroacoustical transmission; Pierre Schaeffer; Michel Chion; R. Murray Schafer; schizophonia; Hildegard Westerkamp

Chapter.  10415 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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