Écoute Réduite – a wrong turn in the history of electroacoustic music?




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Peer reviewed


In many ways, all non-representational arts have distanced themselves to a greater or lesser extent from their potential public over the centuries due to the fact that art and life have been largely separated. For example, those who have supported the notion of art for art’s sake for over two hundred years have been rather explicit about this separation. Nevertheless, most human beings still enjoy and find it natural to make links between the artistic and lived experience. The inclusion of the sound as potential musical material has not only led to new and radical forms of soundbased music making, but also to the opportunity for life to become part of music. This talk focuses on the impact, perhaps unintended, Pierre Schaeffer had when he coined the term, écoute réduite and considered it to be of importance in terms of the success of what is known today as acousmatic music. An opposing view is presented, namely that of the use of real-life sounds across the innovative sound-based musical spectrum, primarily those genres employing electroacoustic or related new media approaches. It will be suggested that sampling is one case where musical experimentation may actually lead towards increased appreciation and artistic participation in new forms of music making. Regardless of this suggestion, the talk’s aim as evidenced in its conclusion is one of synthesis, not opposition.




Landy, L. (2009) Écoute Réduite – a wrong turn in the history of electroacoustic music? NZEMS 2009 (2 September 2009) Auckland


Research Institute

Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)