Re: A Musicology of Ea/Cm

Subject: Re: A Musicology of Ea/Cm
From: Carlos Palombini (
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 08:54:56 EDT

KEVIN AUSTIN escreveu:

> > However, this was a private term. At the >early days of musique
> >concrete, musique concrete was publicly known as >*recherche de bruits*.
> >It was probably only after the success of the >first >"musique concrete"
> >broadcast, called *concert de bruits* (and not >*concert >de musique
> >concrete*), on Tuesday, 5 October 1948 (if my memory serves >me well),
> >that musique concrete started becoming publicly known as such.
> Which may place Russolo and Cage as the parents of ea -- musique concrete
> being one realization of the Art of Noises.

It is very difficult to say what musique concrète is, since Schaeffer
himselfconstrued the term differently at different stages of his trajectory.
at its early stages, musique concrete was an art of *decontextualized*
and we shall never know to what extent the *intonarumori* symphonies
were to be perceived as programmatic or 'pure' music. IMV musique
concrete ends up, and this is my own private reading/hearing of Schaeffer's
construct, as an art of listening, whereby all sounds become musical, by
dint of a musical *intention of listening* (4'33"). Although Schaeffer states
1953 that 'in the paths we were following, Varèse, the American, was
our single great man, and the sole precursor anyway' (and his opinion
on Varèse had changed a lot in 1969:"'it's a questionable music, a wrecked
music, a shaking pilotis --- maybe a necessary one, since it has allowed the
young generations to step across.' We grope along these 'deserts' towards
a future with no certainties..."), Schaeffer acknowledged his debt to the
Italian bruitistes somewhere and in 1953 he was also, if moderately,
grateful to Cage for his prepared piano (which Schaeffer also claims
to have 'invented'for his 1950 *Bidule en ut*, which he labels as
*music for tape*).

> Electroacoustic was an electrical engineering term in the early 30s. It
> appears on a Decca recording of BBC Sound Effects works in the early 50s.

Musique concrete is a natural development of *recherche de bruits*, which is
anatural development of Schaeffer's sound effects work for radiophonic
productions. Hence, the term 'electroacoustic' brings one back to the

> >"Et quand, par la suite, j'ai voulu éviter l'équivoque, je n'ai pas
> >réussi à lancer >l'appelation 'électroacoustique' qui n'est pas
> >engageante il est vrai. >Tout le >monde dit électronique... ce qui est
> >impropre."
> And there is Joel Chadabe's proposition of Electric Sound (including the
> punning aspects of this term). Cahill created electric music where the
> electricity was not a medium to carry information to be decoded (which
> would have made it electronic), but the electricity was the message. (not
> well put ... sorry).

I much prefer the term "electronic" music. "Electric" music is
simplybeautiful. Electroacoustic music has given rise to an awful lot of
dispensable prose.

> My sources list Gesang as 55/56 (or is this historical revisionism?).

I did simplificate, since I find it hard to understand how a piece canbe born
in both 55 and 56, unless Stockhausen should be granted
the same privileges of drawn out parturirion that I do not hesitate
bestowing upon Heidegger's 1935-36 *Ursprung des Kunstwerkes*.

> And
> Varese. Are there any electronic components in the _original_ tape part
> of Deserts? (1954!)

The 1954 tape part of *Déserts* was created in the Groupe de Recherchesde
Musique Concrète in the same year when Honneger created the tape
part of *La rivière endormie* there. As to what happens on such tapes,
ask me not. I do know, however, that Varèse was not entirely pleased
with the results.

> My preference is for newly invented cliches.

I know nothing as annoying as a new cliche. Critical musicology is fullof
them. By contrast, in techno music, the old analog synth has come
to signify the new (see Riddell's 'Ecstasy Solfège': Please refer also to Eshun's
statement publicized in this list not long ago (even if he may have
acquired persona-non-grata status for some here) on the newness
of primitive sound equipment.

Very best,


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