Bill Brunson

Triangulating Narrativity in Electroacoustic Music

Electroacoustic music, given its sound-based nature, is particularly adaptable to both narrative compositional intent and narrative listening strategies.
This paper proposes to examine the presence of narrativity in selected works of acousmatic music as a complement to structural musical analysis and as an extension of literary narrative theory. Previously, I have described this viewpoint as  ’a narrative stance’.
A threefold approach to the identification and evaluation of narrative traits is advanced as follows:
Image-schemata as recurring cognitive constructs;
Referentiality including the use of recognizable sounds as well as language or speech;

’Embedded’ intermediality including the reference to and incorporation of subjects, methods and systems from other media.
n this light, an understanding of a specific work necessitates the intersection of musical analysis, narrative theory and the narrative stance. For example, morphological structures may be ’mapped’ onto image-schemata to build a metaphorical meaning of the states and events which comprise the confluence of musical and narrative discourse. Or, recognizable sounds may activate a script-like mechanism that denotes presumed actions extrinsic to the actual music. Or, the utilization of methods from another media can frame musical events such that an additional layer of interpretation can arise.
Examples will be taken from the Swedish repertoire of electroacoustic music.