Pierre Schaeffer, France 14th August 1910 - 19th August 1995.

Schaeffer, like Russolo, believed in the music of sounds from the environment, and as Russolo has the honour of opening up the sounds of the world as musical instruments, then Schaeffer is the creator of a method of electroacoustic composition called Musique Concrète, which used electronic means to create music from recorded sounds.

Where Russolo recreated sounds using his Noise Intoners, Schaeffer recorded sounds directly using analogue tape which allowed him to treat the sounds as one would a musical instrument. For Schaeffer, it was important to ‘play’ the sounds like instruments. He was able to change the pitch, duration and volume of sound, as well as combine any number of them.

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Photo: Ruszka, L. (1973). Pierre Schaeffer. Retrieved from http://editionsmego.com/artist/pierre-schaeffer

The video below is a recording of Schaeffer’s work called Cinq Ètude de Bruits (five studies of noises) (1948) which is a collection of compositions which were recorded at the radio station Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF) at which Schaeffer had established a studio.

The five compositions are created through various collections of sounds:
1. Ètudes aux chemins de fer - sounds of trains
2. Ètudes aux tourniquets - toy tops and percussion instruments
3. Ètude violette - piano sounds (recorded by Boulez)
4. Ètude noir - piano sounds (recorded by Boulez)
5. Ètude pathétique - sauce pans, speech, singing, piano, and canal boats

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The collection of sounds within this recording are exceptional which is why Schaeffer is regarded as such an important figure. His arrangements and treatment of sounds are musical and convincing which gives this music, which must have been very unusual at the time, a sense of authenticity.

All sounds were arranged by cutting up and ‘splicing’ magnetic tape together so that no edits were noticeable. This process is a very time consuming and labour-intensive one, with no quick way to check the sound of the composition.

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Photo: Ruszka, L. (1972). Equipe du GRM dans le-studio 54 du centre Bourdan 2 1972. Retrieved from Equipe-du-GRM-dans-le-studio-54-du-centre-Bourdan-2-1972-Laszlo-Ruszka-©INA-GRM.jpg

Video: dŚ. (2013). Pierre Schaeffer — Études de bruits (1948). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTf0yE15zzI