Subject: Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification
From: Kevin Austin (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Mar 11 2005 - 06:05:11 EST
I can understand your confusion. You are using the word "sound" in
two contexts where they refer to different things, the experience is
sometimes part of 'cognitive dissonance'
The sound(1) recorded (by a microphone) as a soundscape is not ea,
but the sound(2) played through the loudspeakers is.
Original postings appear below with nothing added.
At 4:12 AM -0500 3/11/05, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>Today I decided that music could exist without ea (or whatever I'm talking
>about. I was also thinking of dropping the "electro" part of it so it could
>make more sense).
>Where the issue gets confusing to me is when people treat recordings
>soundscapes like they're ea. I can understand why, aesthetically. But there is
>nothing electro about the sounds being heard besides the fact that they're
>So it is ea (since it comes form a loudspeaker) but it could also be ea (since
>it falls under that genre of "music", but perhaps it shouldn't since there is
>nothing "electro" about the actual sound).
>This is why I figured that perhaps dumping "electro" from electroacoustics
>might be a good idea for many cases. What does it really matter what type of
>contraption is making the sounds, be it electrical or
>non-electrical, living or
>non-living... How about "Acoustic Art".
>Getting back to my original statement (Today, I...etc), I believe music could,
>in cases, exist independently of "acoustic art", be it on paper or
>But I suspect that we discovered music as a direct result of our appreciation
>of nature's acoustic art.
>Quoting Kevin Austin <email@example.com>:
>> In October of 1989, Michael Century wrote in his opening remarks to
>> the CEC Conference in Banff Alberta:
>> Electroacoustics is not at all a unified field, and varying views are
>> held concerning its relationship with "conventional" music practice.
>> One thing is held in common, and that is its material -- the use of
>> electricity to make sounds, or (in my view, this must be included) to
>> plan, process or symbolically represent sound structures.
>> This is the basis for one definition which has received a degree of
>> circulation and appears to be the definition that Nick is
>> referencing. (And for this and four other definitions, see:
>> People who have read through the notes for the ea lecture to a the
>> FFAR 250 course at Concordia since 1999, (possibly more than 3000
>> students in classes alone) will have read:
>> Electroacoustics : is a very general term meaning the use of
>> electricity for the creation, processing, manipulation, storage,
>> presentation, distribution, perception, analysis, understanding or
>> cognition of sound. It is the superset of the field, including both
>> live and 'fixed' (as on tape or CD) pieces. Some people consider that
>> it has language limits and defines certain 'styles' of work. (Adapted
> > from Michael Century.)
> > As Michael Century points out, 'ea' becomes a generalized cognitive
> > study, rather than a study solely of practice.
> > I guess we were standing near different parts of the elephant.
>> More direct responses to parts of the posting appear below.
>> This part is addressed above.
>> >First off, the electricity within us can be tranduced to sound, and
>> >we all know how this can be done (clap, stomp, scream, etc).
>> >Secondly, if you don't consider the energy within us "electricity",
>> >then you can still consider the fact that there are times when the
>> >artist can already hear the EA composition in his/her head before
>> >actually physically hearing it. Hence, EA composition without the
> > >transduction of electricity. If you hear an EA piece in your dream,
>> >is it still EA?
> > Using the definition I provided in the FFAR notes, yes.
>> >If you want to stick with the EA= anything that comes from a
>> >loudspeaker definition, then I can dig it.
> > This is one of many I use.
>> >But, as you know, there is another term EA that would still need
>> >defining, the one that is usually dubbed "a genre of music". I have
>> >tried in previous posts to spread the notion that perhaps music is a
>> >genre of EA instead, and I have tried to provide valid arguments to
>> >back this up.
>> This has also been discussed, and the 'spectrum-based' limitation of
>> (this) definition of ea has been shown to have roots is traditional
>> western music dating back more than 200 years. It is, IMV, an
>> extension of the musical study called instrumentation / orchestration.
>> Berlioz, with no knowledge of Auditory Scene Analysis proposes most
>> of the concepts , and through his orchestral practice (and general
>> discussions of the art of instrument making -- organology)
>> demonstrates a strong intuitive grasp if the principles of
>> spectromorphology. (See also Shakespeare's Sonnet 59, If there be
>> nothing new, but that which is
> > Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled, (*below).)
>> >I hope that I have clarified my intentions/position, but I'll keep
>> >trying if I have to.
>> CYour position has been clear to me from the startC>, which is why I
> > have been able to examine it.
>> >By the way, out of curiosity, If you (Kevin) didn't think I was
>> >discussing EA, what did you think I was discussing?
>> CI cannot conjecture what you were discussingC, except possibly Michael
>> Century's definition. It occurred to me that you may have been
>> strongly influenced by this definition without necessarily knowing
>> the source(s). If you are a Concordia student in ea, you may have
>> come to some if these points from the Selected Readings in
>> Electroacoustics or the FFAR 250 notes, but neither of these are to
>> be taken as truth.
> > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>> If there be nothing new, but that which is
>> Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
>> Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
>> The second burden of a former child!
>> O, that record could with a backward look,
>> Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
>> Show me your image in some antique book,
>> Since mind at first in character was done!
>> That I might see what the old world could say
>> To this composed wonder of your frame;
>> Whether we are mended, or whether better they,
>> Or whether revolution be the same.
>> O, sure I am, the wits of former days
> > To subjects worse have given admiring praise.
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