EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Contemporary Electroacoustic Music’s Discourse: Considering chosen aesthetic languages as socio-cultural interventions

Elizabeth Hoffman

Elizabeth Hoffman, New York University, Department of Music


PDF - 233.2 kb
Download the paper


As artist Richard Lohse has written, in "Art in the Age of Technology" (1982): "Systematic creative forms represent a parallel to the instrumental structure of present-day reality in civilization. Although identical ... they simultaneously question the social reality of these structures. By using objective means, transparent methods which can be calculated in advance, ... constructive art is destined in its philosophy and working methods to further our quest of changing society and the environment." While extra-musical social commentaries of new electroacoustic and computer musics are often quite palpable, it is typically less obvious how aesthetic choices themselves might be seen to pose questions and proposals regarding our environment. This paper will offer some observations about this in the context of diverse contemporary practice; and it will consider simultaneously the value of applying the term "language" toward this end, in light of its present day meanings, uses, and values.

EMS11 Proceedings