Author Topic: The history of musique concrète  (Read 13710 times)

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The history of musique concrète
« on: July 04, 2017, 01:27:41 PM »
I saw this fantastic article shared by IRCAM on facebook. I thought it would be really useful here in the beginners' forum should anyone be interested in finding out the history of this amazing way of creating music.

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: The history of musique concrète
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2018, 06:44:35 AM »
It was an interesting article thank you, but I see the music as worth listening to on its own terms, not just as a historical curiosity that only led to "something of real musical and social importance" when people learned to sample snippets of sound and set them to a beat. This 11 page article with embedded YouTube videos perhaps gives a better idea of Pierre Schaeffer's work -

Offline some guy

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Re: The history of musique concrète
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 02:59:29 AM »
Unfortunately, that IRCAM article is essentially a brief retelling of the standard "history" of electroacoustic music that leaves out predecessors like Cage and Ruttmann. Indeed, it leaves out the whole context for Schaeffer and his work, so nothing about electronic instruments or the sound on film technology that people were using in the thirties. I think that isolating Schaeffer like this (not even mentioning his colleague Pierre Henry or their contemporary (who possibly preceded them in his work with wire recording) Francis Dhomont) obscures his real and lasting contributions to music, all in the service of making him out to be "the first."

Fact is, Schaeffer was a significant figure in a long line of musical exploration. The article, to be fair, does suggest this, but without any names--Schwitters, El-Dabh, even Hindemith and Toch--the rather subtle "One source of..." which introduces Schaeffer doesn't really even suggest the wide-ranging activities that preceded "musique concrète, activities that included technique as well as philosophy. The idea of musique concrète, after all, is already present in the experiments of Toch and Hindemith, in concerts by the Futurists, in pieces for variable speed turntables as well as for common, household items by John Cage. I think that ultimately, that presentation of Schaeffer as "the" pioneer serves to diminish his actual contributions, which were enormous and which continue to this day.