Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Acousmate: History and de-visualised sound in the Schaefferian tradition

  • Brian Kane (a1)
Abstract

The word ‘acousmatic’ has a strange and complicated history. Recent Schaefferian accounts have replicated François Bayle's sketch of the ‘histoire du mot’ from his Musique acousmatique – in particular, the assumed synonymy between ‘acousmatique’ and ‘acousmate’. However, this synonymy is mistaken. The word ‘acousmate’ was first coined in an article from 1730 to describe a strange noise heard one evening in the small French village of Ansacq. A discussion of the article follows, which shows how the word is unrelated to the Pythagorean acousmatics, and how its author understood his ‘acousmate’ in the context of contemporary natural science. Additionally, a sketch of the term's changing signification in three discourses – scientific, psychological and literary – is presented. The goal of this article is to articulate a set of problems concerning the historiography of acousmatic listening in the Schaefferian tradition. These problems include: 1) the need to authorise a practice of musique acousmatique, which has limited historical investigation to moments where the word ‘acousmate’ or ‘acousmatique’ appear in the archive; 2) a mistaken assumption that ‘acousmate’ and ‘acousmatique’ are synonymous, which has forced together historical moments that are not in fact affiliated; 3) an adherence to this affiliation, which has foreclosed the opportunity to consider acousmatic listening as a set of culturally and historically specific practices concerning the relationship of seeing and hearing.

Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: brian.kane@yale.edu
References
Hide All
Battier, M. 2007. What the GRM Brought to Music: From Musique Concrète to Acousmatic Music. Organised Sound 12(3): 189202.
Bayle, F. 1993. Musique acousmatique: propositions – positions. Paris: INA.
Béclard, A. et al. . 1821. Nouveau dictionnaire de médecine, chirurgie, pharmacie, physique, chimie, histoire naturelle, etc., vol. 1. Paris: L.-T. Cellot.
Berthelin, P.-C. 1762. Abrégé du dictionnaire universel françois et latin, vulgairement appelé dictionnaire de Trevoux: contenant la signification, la définition & l'explication de tous les termes de sciences et arts. Paris: Libraires associés.
Burkert, W. 1962. Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism, trans. Edwin L. Minar, Jr. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.
Carnoy, E.H. 1884. Les acousmates et les chasses fantastiques. Revue de l'histoire des religions 9: 370378.
Chion, M. 1999. The Voice in Cinema, trans. Claudia GorbmanNew York: Columbia University Press.
Davies, M. 1964. Apollinaire. New York: St Martin's Press.
Dawson, D. 1992. Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Dhomont, F. 1996a. Acousmatic, What Is It?. Liner notes for Cycle d'errance. Montréal: Diffusion i Média. Sound recording.
Dhomont, F. 1996b. Is There a Québec Sound? Organised Sound 1(1): 24.
Dhomont, F. [Written anonymously.] 2001. Entry on the term ‘Acousmatics’ in ‘New Media Dictionary’. Leonardo 43(3): 261.
Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise, nouvelle edition. 1762. Vol. 1, A–K. Paris: Brunet.
Diogenes, Laertius. 1925. Lives of Eminent Philosophers, trans. R.D. Hicks. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Dorland, W.A.N. 1907. The American Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.
Fara, P. 1996. Lord Derwentwater's Lights: Prediction and the Aurora Polaris Astronomers. Journal for the History of Astronomy 27: 239258.
Feydel, G. 1807. Remarques morales, philosophiques et grammaticales, sur le Dictionnaire de l'académie françoise. Paris: Antoine-Augustin Renouard.
Gayou, E. 2007. Le GRM: le groupe de recherches musicales. France: Éditions Fayard.
Kane, B. 2007. L'objet sonore maintenant: Pierre Schaeffer, Sound Objects and the Phenomenological Reduction. Organised Sound 12(1): 1524.
Kane, B. 2008. L'acousmatique mythique: Reconsidering the Acousmatic Reduction and the Pythagorean Veil. Proceedings of EMS08. http://www.ems-network.org/ems08/papers/kane.pdf.
La Gorse, L. 1805. Souvenirs d'un homme de cour: ou, Mémoires d'un ancien page. Paris: Dentu.
Langlois, E.-H. 1852. Essai historique, philosophique et pittoresque sur les danses des morts. Roue: A. Lebrument.
Larousse, P. 1900–. Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle, 15 volumes. Paris: Administration du Grand dictionnaire universel.
Le Gendre, C. 1758. Traité historique et critique de l'opinion, vol. 6, corrected and enlarged edition. Paris: Briason.
Le Roy, P.C. 1764. Traité de l'orthographie Françoise en forme de dictionnaire. Paris: Poitiers.
Mairan, J.-J. 1733. Traité physique et historique de l'aurore boréale. Paris: Imprimerie royale.
Morellet, A. 1807. Observations sur un ouvrage anonyme intitulé: remarques morales, philosophiques et grammaticales, sur le dictionnaire de l'académie françoise. Paris: A l'Impr. de l'Institution des Sourds-Muets, sous la direction d'Ange Clo.
Nancy, J.L. 1983. The Inoperative Community, trans. Peter Collins, Lisa Garbus, Michael Holland and Simon Sawhney Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1991.
Power, H., Sedgwick, L.W. 1881. The New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences. London: New Sydenham Society.
Prévost, A.F. 1755. Manuel lexique ou dictionnaire portatif des mots françois dont la signification n'est pas familière à tout le monde, vol. 1. Paris: Chez Didot.
Schaeffer, P. 1952. À la recherche d'une musique concrète. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
Schaeffer, P. 1966. Traité des objets musicaux. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
Thiot. 1901. Report [on 18 November] in Société Académique d'Archéologie, Sciences et Arts du département de l'Oise, Compte-rendu des séances. Beauvais: Moniteur de L'Oise.
Treüillot de Ptoncour. 1730. Lettre de M. Treüillot de Ptoncour, Curé d'Ansacq, à Madame la Princesse de Conty, troisième Doüairiere, & Relation d'un Phénomène très extraordinaire, &c. Mercure de France (December): 2804–2833.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Organised Sound
  • ISSN: 1355-7718
  • EISSN: 1469-8153
  • URL: /core/journals/organised-sound
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed