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Russcol, Herbert

The Liberation of Sound


Friday 22 July 2005, by Pierre Couprie

Through an historical analysis, the author presents the background to electronic music’s birth and the important steps taken from 1948 to the 1960s. He details for each trend the main composers, works and recordings as well as technical discoveries. The book is completed by useful appendices: a history of the Cologne School, some thoughts on computers and music, the relationships between composer and computer music and a glossary of electronic terms.

Table of contents:

  1. The breakup of the harmonic era
    - The first revolution: 1900
    - The nineteenth-century romantic upheaval
    - The American experimental tradition
    - Revolution II: the 1950s
  2. The search for a new music
    - The historical background
    - Edgard Varèse and “The liberation of sound”
    - Chronology of electronic music, from the invention of phonograph (1877-1896) to the first “school” of electronic music, musique concrète (1948)
  3. The first “schools” of electronic music in the 1950s
    - The breakthrough of the tape recorder
    - Musique concrète
    - The Cologne studio
    - The scene in America in the 1950s
    - A chronology of electronic music from musique concrète (1948) to the death of Varèse (1965)
  4. The experimental sixties
  5. Music and computers
    - Pandora’s box
    - Music and numbers
  6. Electronic music on records
    - Reviews of selected recordings
    - A partial discography of electronic music on recordings by Peter Frank
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