Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification

Subject: Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification
From: Kevin Austin (
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, 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
>of natural
>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
>being recorded.
>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
>the spheres.
>But I suspect that we discovered music as a direct result of our appreciation
>of nature's acoustic art.
>Quoting Kevin Austin <>:
>> 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.
>> Best
>> Kevin
>> 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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