Conference paper Open Access

Reconnections: Electroacoustic Music & Modular Synthesis Revival

O Connor Neil

For many electroacoustic music composers, focus is more directed toward timbral and textural approaches rather than pitch centric domain processes and for some, physical machines can allow for more interaction and can produce a more unrestrained sense of sonic exploration and compositional thinking.

This paper examines a ‘reconnection’ to past compositional approaches via the modular synthesizer as manufacturers have been linking composers with the spirit of electroacoustic music making, returning to more physical and interactive compositional approaches. These processes are applied in my own work and mediated through the use of a Make Noise Shared System Plus Modular Synthesizer and the ‘Morphagene’, a module largely modeled on the ‘Phonogene’ (1954), a multi-headed tape instrument, used by Pierre Schaefeur and Iannis Xenakis at Radio France.

This examination asks if such as asking if these ‘reconnections’ to past techniques challenge or complement the established histories of electroacoustic music and to what end will it influence future directions within these worlds? Ultimately, as this paper attempts to demonstrate, the synthesis, transformation and organization of sound is still largely informed by aesthetic criteria, rather than the machines facilitating it.

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