Sound as Musical Material

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It has become somewhat of a cliché to state that contemporary music production was more concerned with "sound" than notation and that traditional means of musical analysis would therefore fall short in understanding these musical practices. But, so far, little attention has been paid to what actually defines such new modes of music production, which aesthetic strategies are involved here, and, above all, what constitutes this new kind of musical material we seem to be dealing with here.
This article engages with a range of already established and conventionalised practices (and sedimented strategies) of sound related composition and design, pointing out that electronic media, synthesizers and digital sound devices became an inherent part of such a kind of "musical substance".
The investigation of the idea of musical material enables us to ask for lines in the tradition of designing music as sound and changing production aesthetics. It allows us to reconsider adequate methods of musical analysis and will provide a basis for a more differentiated discourse on contemporary music forms and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSound as popular culture : a research companion
EditorsJens Gerrit Papenburg, Holger Schulze
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherThe MIT Press
Publication date03.2016
ISBN (Print)9780262033909
ISBN (Electronic)9780262334266
Publication statusPublished - 03.2016