Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification

Subject: Re: Lack of clarity regarding the term EA, clarification
From: Francis et Inés Dhomont (
Date: Fri Mar 11 2005 - 06:45:00 EST

As François Bayle said : the recorded sound (ea) is a "sound image".
("Musique acousmatique, propositions...positions", Buchet-Chastel,

>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.
>> >

Francis Dhomont
19, av. Monclar
84000 Avignon
Tel & Fax: +33 (0)4 32 76 31 95
Tel mobile: +33 (0)6 66 57 82 48

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