EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Recurrence in Acousmatic Music: Creative and Analytical Possibilities

Ambrose Seddon

City University, London, UK


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This paper will introduce the concept of recurrence within acousmatic music, and explore its potential as a concept for composition practice and the examination of existing works. The apprehension of musical structuring or semblances of formal organisation, however loosely perceived, can often be traced to the perception of recurrent phenomena within a musical work. The process of recognising returning sound identities and their transformations, drawing links between them, and trying to understand the various interrelationships can be a rewarding aspect of the listening experience. These sound material connections can be made through all manner of perceivable characteristics, for example common source and/or cause associations, or more subtle spectral attributes. This paper will present the concept of recurrence in relation to sound material identity, and then illuminate its potential as an approach to both compositional practice and analysis through the discussion of my own acousmatic composition, Fouram (2005).