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Pierre Schaeffer - Treatise on Musical Objects

Regarded as Pierre Schaeffer’s most important work on music and its relationship with technology, finally available in English! Subtitled “An Essay Across Disciplines”, this is an expansion of Schaeffer’s earlier research in musique concrète to suggest a methodology of working with sounds based on his experiences in radio broadcasting and the recording studio. Drawing on acoustics, physics, and physiology, but also on philosophy and the relationship between subject and object, Schaeffer’s essay summarizes his theoretical and practical work in music composition. Translators Christine North and John Dack present an important book in the history of ideas in Europe that will resonate far beyond electroacoustic music.

Published in 2017, paperback, 624 pages, Illustrations: 6 music ex, 7 b/w halftones, 5

Table of Contents:

The Treatise on Musical Objects and the GRM, by Daniel Teruggi
Translators’ Introduction, by Christine North
Pierre Schaeffer’s Treatise on Musical Objects and Music Theory, by John Dack

Introductory Remarks: The Historical Situation of Music

Book One. Making Music
1. The Instrumental Prerequisite
2. Playing an Instrument
3. Capturing Sounds
4. Acousmatics

Book Two. Hearing
5. “What Can Be Heard”
6. The Four Listening Modes
7. Scientific Prejudice
8. The Hearing Intention

Book Three. Correlations Between the Physical Signal and the Musical Object
9. Ambiguities in Musical Acoustics
10. Correlation between Spectra and Pitches
11. Threshold and Transients
12. Temporal Anamorphoses I: Timbres and Dynamics
13. Temporal Anamorphoses II: Timbre and Instrument
14. Time and Duration

Book Four. Objects and Structures
15. Reduction to the Object
16. Perceptual Structures
17. Comparative Structures: Music and Language
18. The Conventional Musical System: Musicality and Sonority
19. Natural Sound Structures: Musicianly Listening
20. The Reduced Listening System: Musical Dualism
21. Musical Research

Book Five. Morphology and Typology of Sound Objects
22. Morphology of Sound Objects
23. The Laboratory
24. Typology of Musical Objects (I): Classification Criteria
25. Typology of Musical Objects (II): Balanced and Redundant Objects
26. Typology of Musical Objects (III): Eccentric Sounds
27. Working at Our Instrument

Book Six. Theory of Musical Objects
28. Musical Experience
29. Generalizing Music Theory
30. Theory of Homogenous Sounds: Criterion of Mass
31. Theory of Fixed Masses: Dynamic Criterion
32. Theory of Sustainment
33. Theory of Variations
34. Analysis of the Musical Object as It Generally Appears

Book Seven. Music as a Discipline
35. Implementation
36. The Meaning of Music
Penultimate Chapter: In the Search of Music Itself



Publisher: University of California Press / ISBN: 9780520294301
Medium: Book


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