Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sound Art

In class this week the term, "sound art" was brought up a few times, but we never really touched on the subject of what sound art is and why it is different than music. I tried researching sound art and found no reliable sources and the non-reliable sources all contradicted each other, so bare with me.

The first thing that came to mind when sound art was first mentioned was musique concrete. Musique concrete was established by a french composer named Pierre Schaeffer in 1940s, when audio recording was first established. Pierre took various train noises and recorded them, then made a musical collage.

This is unlike music because it is just manipulation of found sounds. Music generally follows rules of theory and has an organized set of tensions and resolutions that work together smoothly to create an aesthetically pleasing piece. Musique concrete is unlike music because it does not flow together well, it is more like sound chunks that are played one after another.

Serialism and atonality were mentioned in a few of the contradicting articles I found. Serialism is a type of atonality that takes the I, V, IV in music and throws it out the window, and replaces it with a twelve-tone pattern technique. Serialism can actually sound pretty good if the composer knows what their doing, so I wouldn't call serialism sound art.

The second thing that came to mind when we brought up sound art in class, was Charles Ives. Charles Ives used the techniques called polytonality and aleatoria. The majority of his music sounds like a pandemonium of cacophony. It is not organized (at least on the surface), does not flow, does not have organized sets of consonance and dissonance, and is definitely not aesthetically pleasing. Yet, I think the term sound art fits it well because Ives tried to put across a message about our ideals and standards for music, and his dislike towards them.

Questions: Does music have to be aesthetically pleasing? Is organized/disorganized sound, sound art?


Becky-Jo said...
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