Organised Sound

Research Article

Contemporary trends in the use of space in electroacoustic music

Felipe Otondoa1

a1 Department of Music, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK email:


This paper describes a survey of contemporary approaches towards the use of spatial design in electroacoustic music, focusing on the type of spatial systems used by a sample of composers and the way they conceive the use of space in their music. Comparing the results with information gathered from seventeen articles by composers written on the topic in 1997, it is shown that composers nowadays are more used to working with different types of spatialisation systems than before. There is also a considerable increase in the use of surround 5.1 as well as four- and eight-channel systems and a decrease in the use of stereo. The compared results also show that, in general, composers nowadays seem to be less concerned with performance and interpretation issues as well as technical aspects of spatialisation. Further studies could consider a more detailed investigation of how the new spatialisation tools have shaped the aesthetical character of the music composed in recent years.