Leigh Landy

How Listening-based Analysis Can Aid the Appreciation and Understanding of Electroacoustic Music

This keynote talk will take on the challenging task of attempting to address the issues of the purpose and the value of electroacoustic music analysis. To this end, the author will look at the state of affairs – as well as the presentations of the day – from a distance. Why do we bother to analyse electroacoustic works? Similar to many contemporary experimental musical works, we are often introduced to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the works’ construction by analysts, but too rarely with the ‘why’. It will be proposed that the ‘why’ of analysis may hold the key towards this aspect of electroacoustic music studies’ dynamic future. As the question of accessibility of electroacoustic music is of utmost importance to the author, the question of how analysis can serve appreciation will also form an important part of this talk.
One example: given the fact that, similar to ethnomusicologists, we often need to create our own scores, how do we use them for analysis or even rely on them? Clearly scores can be used towards a number of goals. The articulation of the goal could be considered the ‘why’ of its use. With this in mind, it will be suggested that the types of ‘why’ deserve to be investigated by communities of users such as those meeting at this EuroMAC event.

The author, in a recent large-scale electroacoustic music research project directed by Simon Emmerson and himself, offered a four-part question that will be presented as a means of facilitating the keynote address’s further discussion:

For which users –
for which works/genres –

with what intentions –

with which tools/approaches?

A template to complement this four-part question was also created and will be introduced in the talk prior to investigating a potential future scenario for electroacoustic music aural analysis.