Organised Sound



Articles

The significance of techné in understanding the art and practice of electroacoustic composition


PETER MANNING a1
a1 Department of Music, University of Durham, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RL, UK E-mail: p.d.manning@durham.ac.uk

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Abstract

The birth of electroacoustic music is associated with an era of creativity which is now firmly embedded in the past. As the years advance so the opportunities for evaluating the pioneering years of the medium become increasingly remote. Few can now claim first-hand experience of working with the technologies that shaped and influenced the evolution of the early repertory, and many commentators are content to see them consigned to the museum. Others are less sure, having become aware of a number of features that appear to have no parallels in the modern all-digital domain. This article is predicated on the proposition that the functional characteristics of the equipment available during the formative years materially influenced the ways in which composers developed their compositional aesthetic. By studying the characteristics of the resulting interactions, important clues emerge as to the true nature of this engagement. Central to this study is the nature of the techné involved in these processes of creativity, and the significance of this is evaluated in the context of establishing a case for further research in this area. Particular attention is paid to the role of the tape recorder in this context, in particular its influence on the development of spatialisation techniques.

(Published Online March 15 2006)