EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

The analysis of electroacoustic music, the differing needs of its genres and categories

Simon Emmerson, Leigh Landy

Simon Emmerson and Leigh Landy, Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester UK


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This paper reports on our (Arts and Humanities Research Council funded) project New Multimedia Tools for Electroacoustic Music Analysis, designed for a range of genres, drawing together existing methods, engaging the latest interactive and hypermedia tools, and applying them to compare their strengths and weaknesses. This depends on mutually interactive questions such as which tools/approaches, for which works/genres, for which users, with what intentions. We will report on newly developed applications – EAnalysis (Pierre Couprie), OREMA (Online Repository for Electroacoustic Music Analysis) (Michael Gatt) – a forum for sharing and discussing analyses – and preparations for a major new publication ‘Expanding the Horizon of Electroacoustic Music Analysis’ (CUP). We initially divided this field into genres or ‘practices’ (e.g. acousmatic, electronica, glitch); but these have hybridised continuously – an installation may include algorithmic generation, be interactive, and use soundscape and acousmatic materials. We need a range of tools for analysis. Descriptions refer to materials or to methods of organisation, but this distinction cannot be maintained. From the listener’s viewpoint, does knowledge of a generative algorithm influence perception and hence analysis? Analysis may include socially situated characteristics of production, perception and consumption. Glitch and hacking works analysed from their sound alone would surely lose a substantial part of their meaning. How to capture these additional dimensions, including emotional response? What other traces should run in parallel to standard transcription? Any analytical procedure must balance the gravitational pull of genre with a networked, relativistic world of characteristics which reconfigure depending on initial questions.

EMS12 Proceedings