Electroacoustic Composition

Electroacoustic composition is a studio-based approach which can take advantage of all the studio techniques to create an immersive sound environment which can be performed in a live setting, or listened to on any sort of home media device such as a CD player.

A modern approach, which is used frequently in the twenty-first century, is to use speaker arrays. These are a collection of carefully selected speakers which are arranged and configured to give the composer multiple ways to project sound to their audience. The University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) has such facilities in the form of the SPIRAL studio (Spatialisation and Interactive Research Lab). The University also has the ability to perform such works through the HISS (Huddersfield Immersive Sound System), seen below.

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Photo: Genelec (2015). Huddersfield University 1. Retrieved from http://www.genelec-install.com/documents/images/gallery/Huddersfield_1.jpg

Birmingham University has a software system which can be used for large multi-channel electroacoustic compositions called BEASTmulch, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). This software helps the composer and sound engineer to control and project the compositions through a system in a live setting, including real-time performances.

This studio-based approach allows the acoustic ecologist, acting as a composer, to work with the raw materials they have found in their research and create something they believe represents the environment they have been working in.

Some composers who work within the field of acoustic ecology and use electroacoustic means to create a soundscape are:

• Barry Truax
• Hildegard Westerkamp
• Chris Watson
• David Dunn
• Andrea Polli
• Edmund Mooney
• John Levack Drever
• Peter Cusack

Information about these composers and their work (including links to places to purchase them) can be found in the Composers Section.