Analysing electroacoustic music: An interactive aural approach

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Electroacoustic music presents particular challenges to the analyst. Often the music is not notated, and where notation is used it may well take a different form and serve a different purpose to that of acoustic music. Furthermore, the sounds employed may not be traditionally musical, and pitch and rhythm may not be the most significant parameters in the musical argument. The concept of the note as the basic building block of a work may not be appropriate, since significant structural activity may take place at a lower level or because seamless extended transformations may be used. Transcribing such music can also prove problematic, whether using traditional Western musical notations or other approaches. So where might the analytical process begin, and how can its outcomes be communicated? This article examines these issues and presents a new interactive aural approach, in which software is used to engage directly with the sounds and to allow the reader to interact with the musical materials and the methods used to create them. The development of this approach is discussed in relation to three analyses of contrasting works by Jonathan Harvey, Denis Smalley and Pierre Boulez.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-380
Number of pages34
JournalMusic Analysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2012


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