Splices and Alloys: Emergent Qualities in Electroacoustic Music
There is a tendency in electroacoustic music analysis to focus on the description of sound morphologies – from Pierre Schaeffer’s typomorphology to Denis Smalley’s spectromorphology – frequently leaving aside issues related to the juxtaposition, coordination and cohabitation of sonic elements, an essential part of electroacoustic composition. Interestingly, the notion of compound sound objects has been around since the birth of musique concrète and Elektronische Musik, albeit in different forms (Manning, 1985); aesthetical and technical differences found in today’s electroacoustic music works can be traced back to these two pioneering approaches and exemplify a number of subtly different processes and strategies (Roads, 2015). I will introduce the concepts of splice – which can be summarised as a process whereby multiple sound morphologies interact with each other over time to create an elaborate structure whose main features are distinctively extracted from the original sounds – and that of alloy – explaining how several sound morphologies interact at different levels (notably non sonic) to create hybrid sound structures that bear little perceptual resemblance to their parents. Through analyses of recent electroacoustic works, I will show how these concepts can be used to describe and characterise features of sonic elements usually classified as emergent – temporal qualities, morphological characteristics and perceptual forms. These elements will tentatively help in establishing a dynamic and functional – rather than descriptive – analytical discourse for electroacoustic music.
Citation:Dahan, K. (2016) Splices and Alloys: Emergent Qualities in Electroacoustic Music. SOCIEDADE PORTUGUESA DE INVESTIGAÇÃO EM MÚSICA,
Research Group:Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre
- Leicester Media School