The Spatialisation of Stereophony: Taking Positions in Post-War Electroacoustic Music

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Abstract

While an increasing number of technical and musicological studies attest to the sustained aesthetic importance of spatialisation in electroacoustic music, few have examined the origins of its integration into formal discourse. Tracing a path across a network of commercial, institutional, technical, and musical actors implicated in the invention of a specifically electroacoustic spatialisation concept, this paper undermines the presumption of formal primacy by focusing on the social and discursive strategies that composers and theorists deployed to distinguish it from preexisting and parallel concepts of multi-channel stereophony. Spatialisation techniques are shown to have been shared widely between early electroacoustic studios and the entertainment industries, a fact which complicates both the aesthetic distinctions of the postwar avant-garde and the more recent tendency to canonise electroacoustic composers as inventors or pioneers. A brief concluding discussion deals with the role these distinctions play in the formation and reproduction of electroacoustic music as a genre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-421
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Volume43
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

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