Wandering uneasily in a familiar landscape

Author(s): 
Simon Emmerson
Date of publication: 
2013-04
ISSN: 
2052-7888
DOI: 
10.3943/001.2013.04.0102

The so-called ‘Language Grid’ forms Figure 1 within Chapter 2 (‘The Relation of Language to Materials’) in The Language of Electroacoustic Music (Macmillan, 1986).

It articulates two dimensions within a simple orthogonal grid –

[x-axis]: musical discourse in terms of the relationship of recognizable as ‘real world’ sounds (mimetic discourse) to sounds not recognizable as such (aural discourse); and -
[y-axis]: musical syntax (methods of combination of sounds) from systems quite separate from the soundworld (abstract syntax) to those derived from the perceived qualities of the sounds themselves (abstracted syntax)[1].

Both dimensions are continuous and works may lie ‘anywhere’ within its bounds. But to make sense of it through examples it was partitioned into nine squares (each axis divided into three – one quality dominant, a balance of qualities, the other quality dominant) and a small number of works examined which were judged to lie within each square.

In the intervening years many questions have been raised about the choice of works and the judgment as to where they lie in the grid. There are also larger questions as to where the grid itself stands in the ‘poietic/esthesic’ distinction and hence its possible roles in analysis and composition. The author revisits the origins and aims of the grid and listens again to the examples.

1. Origins

By the late 1970s a new generation of electroacoustic musicians was gaining a toehold in the education sector in the UK. While that history is for recording elsewhere there was evidently a new and increasing interest in understanding the music that was arriving from continental Europe, the United States and, later, Latin America and Asia. A generation of books devoted to the technology of electronic or electroacoustic music had hardly addressed the making of ‘the music itself’ – and never really helped understand the composing and listening experience – its aesthetics.

Furthermore since the mid-1960s the ‘scene’ in the UK had been refreshingly open to all the many philosophies that came as baggage with the music, from minimalist, experimental, algorithmic, improvised, both recorded and synthesized sound, pre- recorded and live electronic music. At least in the early years there would be juxtapositions of approaches considered quite antagonistic in some of the ‘elite avant garde’ institutions and festivals elsewhere in Europe. Then there was recording – the launch of DG avant garde box sets, the Phillips 20thC series (glittering silver) and CBS, Nonesuch and CRI covering (perhaps more patchily) the US developments. Small independent labels emerged to cover improvisation, installation and electronics (Incus, Obscure, YES).

An initial melting pot moment often gives way to a desire to organize and rationalise experience into knowledge – to make sense of it, to sift, categorise, cluster and group. There are positive and negative consequences of this, of course. Clement Greenberg famously did this in his discussions of contemporary art movements in what he saw as the shift of power and influence away from Paris to New York in the period after World War 2. My own view is that this process is inevitable – but helpful in our more networked age if and only if we see these categories as clusters to be criticized and possibly reconfigured to make sense in changing circumstances.

This is not a shift from objective to subjective and relative – but a shift from a ‘given’ configuration (and intended meaning) to a variable and flexible one – capable of greater inclusiveness and breadth. For the intervening decades have brought many revolutions in thinking from a feminist critique, the complete repositioning of world music and popular music studies, innovative and experimental musics from Asia, Africa, Australasia, South America, and almost everywhere the massive rise of the ‘sonic arts’ (both the art within sound and the sound within art). It is in this spirit that I return to such a categorization that I devised around 1980, revisiting and criticizing some of its assumptions. I hope others do so in the future to an even greater extent[2]. 

The Language Grid is a product of this ‘trying to make sense’ of a messy but celebratory sensory experience – most especially that of concerts of the middle and later 1970s in the UK. It may (indeed it has) been more widely applied – but its prejudices lie in that experience. With (possibly) two exceptions the examples chosen to articulate the grid are ‘fixed media’ (then known as ‘tape’) compositions – a small subset of this melting pot of the electroacoustic arts.

The Grid was initially constructed as part of my PhD research (City University, London, 1982). In this early version the language used to describe the axes differed somewhat from the finally published version; the music examples used were largely the same and substantial parts of the text are very similar. The Language of Electroacoustic Music was assembled for publication between 1984 and 1986.

While the term ‘acousmatic’ was not much used in English at this time, it is clear that the grid is a response to this condition in electroacoustic music. I cannot see the origin of the sound, so do I recognize it (as coming from something happening in the material world) or simply appreciate its sound quality alone? (x-axis criterion). Do I sense an organizing principle – if so, a ‘system’ imposed on the soundworld or somehow are the sounds themselves articulating something? (y-axis criterion).

But these two questions have two versions – not really distinguished 30 years ago but much more evident in recent literature. It was probably Jean-Jacques Nattiez who was responsible for foregrounding clear distinctions between the creative sphere including the composer’s intentions (the poietic), which produces the work (or its trace, at least – controversially called the neutral level) and then finally the sphere of reception and interpretation (which he termed the esthesic) (Nattiez 1990).

Thus the composer and listener might answer these two questions quite differently. The composer may have the privilege of the initiated to enter behind the veil of the studio door and know the origins and organization of the soundworld finally produced. Increasingly over the course of the 20th century composers have written about these processes – often assuming that this is what ‘is’ in the music and will be revealed in the listening experience. Of course, talks, publications and programme notes might tell the avid listener what went into the piece – and often a more or less explicit autosuggestion results in their hearing this as a result. I shall discuss this dilemma with respect to Stockhausen’s Telemusik below.

In lectures on the Language Grid I have often drawn more than a metaphorical grid on the floor around me and engaged the idea of journey through the sound world[3]. Here I have opted to maintain the same journey (order of discussion) while stressing that any ordering is possible. Here is a summary of the grid with the original music examples (brief references to other works have been omitted) -

I. Aural discourse dominant

1. Abstract syntax

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Electronic Studies, Kontakte
Milton Babbitt: Ensembles for Synthesiser
John Cage - Williams Mix, Fontana Mix

2. Combination of abstract and abstracted syntax

Jonathan Harvey - Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco

3. Abstracted syntax

Denis Smalley - Pentes
Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum

II. Combination of aural and mimetic discourse 

4. Abstract syntax

Luigi Nono - La Fabbrica Illuminata

5. Combination of abstract and abstracted syntax

Michael McNabb - Dreamsong

6. Abstracted syntax

Bernard Parmegiani - Dedans-Dehors

III. Mimetic discourse dominant

7. Abstract syntax

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Telemusik

8. Combination of abstract and abstracted syntax

Trevor Wishart - Red Bird

9. Abstracted syntax

Luc Ferrari - Presque rien no1, Music Promenade

2. Recognising sources – more on mimesis

The original idea of mimesis in the context of the language grid was not really intended to apply to other music or even to recognizable instrumental sources. Indeed I wrote then –

We may concede that instrumental sound-images and evocation, being primarily musical, may still be allowed within this category [Aural discourse dominant]. It is the sounds of the environment not traditionally associated with music whose imagery we wish to discuss as mimetic discourse (Emmerson 1986: 26).

As with my comments on Denis Smalley’s use of Northumbrian pipes in Pentes (below) there is a sense in which the radicalism of the electroacoustic medium is precisely in this ability to grab and ingest the previously considered non musical sound – here most obviously the sounds of the environment.

But we need to dig a little deeper here. Firstly I have inadvertently run two things together –
(a) recordings of instrumental motifs, recognizable as such but not quotations of other music. Jean-Claude
Risset’s Songes (1977) comes to mind[4], constructed in large part from short prerecorded instrumental motifs which ‘fly’ around and are seamlessly transformed one into another. My interpretation is that this work is predominantly aural in the terms discussed here (see Emmerson 1998) – but not completely, perhaps, as some of the magic of this particular dream is that both transformations (timbral and spatial) are recognizably impossible in a real performance. Clarinets do not normally ‘become’ violas while flying around the room[5]. But then –
(b) the practice of using recordings of recognizable music as source material, reused and reintegrated into new contexts, has clearly exploded in many genres from plunderphonics to a range of post hip-hop practices. In this case, something additional is at work – best summarized as a ‘pointing outside’ the immediate work to a wider cultural reference, whether the world music and national anthems of Stockhausen’s Telemusik and Hymnen[6], or the now widespread sampling practices of later decades. Even the term acousmatic as applied to a practice has widened to include the recognizable ‘real world’ in what Jonty Harrison has called ‘expanded listening’ (Harrison 1996)).

But ‘recognition’ has a range of meanings here – we recognize a clarinet sound, but do we recognize gagaku or a particular national anthem in the same sense? This depends on experience. There is a certain ‘style’ in many national anthems which we might recognize before any specific country[7], so as anthems come and go over the decades and power in the world shifts, Hymnen will drift steadily into a memory of the Cold War.

Thus this use of recognizable intra-musical sound seems to have an uneasy inflection within the original aural/mimetic axis – the more aural side seems to fit well enough, but not the more ‘musical plundering’. I seem to contradict myself to a degree in including Telemusik as mimetic discourse – the quote above expressly steers away from this. Yet listening again now I can see why I included it (and Hymnen). Musical quotation brings with it a new set of pointers and signifiers – not to the ‘non musical environment’ of the factory sounds of Nono’s work or the environmental sounds of Wishart and Parmegiani, but to musical practice itself and its social signification. This is an ‘expanded mimesis’ which was not followed through at that time.

Here, then, is a report on a brisk walk through a landscape at once familiar but with nooks and crannies not visited for some time.

Aural: abstract 

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Electronic Studies, Kontakte
John Cage - Williams Mix, Fontana Mix
Milton Babbitt - Ensembles for Synthesiser

At the time of original writing it was quite bold to place such a determinist work as Studie II along side a chance formed works such as the Cage pieces. The Boulez-Cage correspondence had not been published, but the slightly later and almost equally close relationship between Cage and Stockhausen was well known[8]. When the correspondence was eventually made available in both the original ‘Franglais’ (1990) and then English (1993), it became crystal clear that a reduction to numbers had bound them all together – and often with reciprocal influences not previously understood.

But there is one point to stress that does distinguish these two being grouped together. In Stockhausen’s case the use of a numerical serialism was intended to extend the idea of the unifying organizing principle to all aspects of the work. Numbers can be generalized – that is, a single series used for a wide range of applications. The transition from the Electronic Studies to Kontakte, then to Momente exemplifies a steady move towards perception – that is the organization of perceptual qualities rather than the more abstract parameters of early serialism[9]. Thus Studie II is claimed to display this unity through the totality of its making – it is forged from the numeral 5 in all its aspects.

In Cage’s case the examples chosen were not only numerical (Williams Mix) but also graphic (Fontana Mix). Williams Mix had been documented by this time (Kostelanetz 1970) and we could both see the process through a few extracts of the score and hear the result. The I-Ching derived method was little more than a chance driven ‘table look up’ with numbers functioning as token labels rather than quantities. With Fontana Mix I did not know at this time (nor do I now) the exact processes that Cage must have carried out on the score to allow his electroacoustic realisation in the Milan studio in 1958. I was in a sense guessing that the relationship was there – only Cage’s personal testimony (which he did not like to give) or archives yet to be mined might finally clarify how the published score functioned in this specific case (score to sound) [10].

Milton Babbitt’s Ensembles for synthesizer is the rarity in this whole group – I do not remember any public performance of it. If there is any work that truly approaches the boundary (top left point) of the grid it is this one: totally aural, totally abstract[11].

Aural: abstract + abstracted

Jonathan Harvey - Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco

Jonathan Harvey of course knew Stockhausen’s works of the 1950s and 1960s extremely well (Harvey 1975). It might thus seem perverse that I classified the classic Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco as column 1 ‘aural syntax’ when it is built from two such clearly recognizable sources – the bell and the recorded voice which we learn from the programme note are the great tenor bell of Winchester Cathedral and the voice of his son Dominic (then a chorister at the Cathedral) - both with clearly intentional spiritual associations and references. In using these two sources, Harvey engages with two of the deeply recurrent sound archetypes exploited throughout so many genres of modern classical music in general[12] and electroacoustic music in particular[13].

The voice combines that most classic of ‘source/filter’ models (largely harmonic) with a vast range of noise production possibilities; the bell is an elusively ‘almost blended’ inharmonic amalgam within which we can hear hum tones and other seemingly ‘fictitious tones’[14]. It is precisely in the exploration of the sound that we are drawn slowly but steadily into the sound’s qualities and away from any external references - or at least their cruder manifestations. We simply lose the programme note information on the source details and enter a realm of pure sound. This returns us to the aural - the anecdotal is lost in the sheer beauty of the soundworld.

Aural: abstracted

Denis Smalley - Pentes
Bernard Parmegiani - De Natura Sonorum

By the time of the original PhD version of the Grid (1982), Denis Smalley’s Pentes had become well established as both a classic in its own right and as a seminal work within the UK[15]. It acted as one ‘nucleus’ (or node) around which others began to coagulate. With respect to our discussion on identifying sounds, I might recognize the Northumbrian pipes as the instrumental source in the penultimate section of Pentes, but to this day I could not name the melody (traditional I assume – because pentatonic). Denis Smalley raised the positioning of Pentes on the grid with me shortly after publication – but I would not change my decision now. The pipe melody is an exception - it does indeed have a degree of mimetic reference due to its being a melody rather than its being ‘the pipes’ - that heightens the otherwise aural rhetoric[16]. It feels both totally unexpected yet completely inevitable. 

It should not have come as a surprise to discover that Bernard Parmegiani’s De Natura Sonorum shared with Pentes both year of composition (1974) and studio – the GRM (Paris). All I would add is the observation that Parmegiani is the master of combining recorded and electronic sources[17] – whether we do or do not recognize the many instrumental sounds used, we soon forget them - we are drawn in immediately to a purely aural discourse of detailed sound behaviours. I will compare this with Dedans-Dehors below.

Aural + mimetic: abstract

Luigi Nono - La Fabbrica Illuminata

The positioning of this work I revisit uneasily. In the original text I discussed the drastic juxtaposition of stark contrasts – the lyrical soprano pitted against the ugly industrial soundscape and the slogan chanting (a studio recording of the RAI chorus). The tape part is predominantly mimetic in our terms – indeed quite violently. There is material developed in the Milan studio from electronic sources, but interestingly it is drawn towards the mimetic in its similarity to the noisy ugliness of the factory recordings. But conversely is the soprano ‘simply’ a musical/aural component? Mixed music (instrument or voice plus pre- recorded electroacoustic material) presents me with a dilemma here. If we were to refer to Stockhausen’s Kontakte (mixed version with instruments) then the ‘contacts’ of real instrument and electronic timbre ‘fill in’ a completely aural soundworld. Here this is simply not so clear – Nono intends a total contrast of sound type. Thus effectively the aural/mimetic balance is across the forces if it is there at all.

Aural + mimetic: abstract + abstracted

Michael McNabb - Dreamsong

We thus arrive at the dead centre of the Grid, balancing (more than simply combining) the dimensions of both material and organization. At this point in the revisit I remain happy with the original text. Michael McNabb’s Dreamsong remains a fantastic example of all the then state of the art techniques in computer music: fm synthesis, analysis-resynthesis (phase vocoder) – combining more seamlessly than ever heard previously the recorded and the electronic. The world of sound transformation (of a kind only possible in the digital domain) had arrived; heard as pure sound this is an aural discourse, but the equivalent in the mimetic domain is ‘scene transformation’, and both are beautifully presented and integrated in this work.

Aural + mimetic: abstracted

Bernard Parmegiani - Dedans-Dehors

If I had wandered over the grid horizontally rather than vertically then the two Parmegiani pieces featured would have followed each other as they are of course adjacent – De Natura Sonorum I judged to be predominantly aural and Dedans- Dehors a balance of aural and mimetic. This is the best case to illustrate that the grid is in fact continuous – there is little to make this distinction – they are close neighbours across an arbitrary boundary. The environmental sounds of De Natura Sonorum are short and tend to emphasise the instrumental which (as we argued above) can retain a strongly timbral (aural) association. In Dedans-Dehors by contrast the recorded sound is much more explicitly environmental. In the original text I cited the work’s programme note but without quotation – now properly published in the CD booklet text we find the now somewhat discredited distinction of ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ sounds –

... there is still the very generous world of what I would call: ‘artificial’ noises (induced by human activities) and ‘natural’ sounds. Noises are the indicators of daily life ... . Natural sounds [...] reveal a force and energetic dynamics lost to us, but that we try and exorcise through inner listening (CD notes, unpaginated).

The title is almost a direct quote from The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard – ‘The Dialectics of Outside and Inside’[18]. But there is a distinction – the bird sounds here speak to us of capture and the return of the forest. The poetics do extend outside of the purely aural to sometimes threatening and intense real world images.

Mimetic: abstract

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Telemusik

A paradoxical problem with including any work by Stockhausen is that the recordings (with copious detailed accompanying notes) and scores – even for the majority of fixed media works – as well as his analytical writings and talks are readily available[19]. The designation of Telemusik as representing ‘mimetic discourse’ is surely flawed – or at least based squarely on knowledge of the works poietic intent. Heard without such prejudice I doubt that I could truly hear and recognize the many recordings of the world’s musics used. I first heard this work (composed in 1966) presented by the composer in concert at St Johns Smith Square, London in 1972 and had probably heard the work from disc some time previously. The idea of the work as an ‘intermodulation’ (that is a kind of interaction through multiple ring modulation) of the amplitude and frequency of each kind of music was striking – though not immediately perceptible. 

Recognisable elements are glimpsed rather rarely at moments when precisely this intermodulation is at its least. The sound world resembles that of the short wave radio space (made more explicit in his following tape work Hymnen (1966-67)) which was such a powerful metaphor for ‘reaching out across space’ in Stockhausen’s works of the later 1960s. But in Hymnen there is an explicit ‘double coding’ of the national anthems upon which the work is built, the rarely heard 4-channel version spatialises this extraordinary soundworld as a sounding model of the political world of the time.

But in (the earlier) Telemusik this demand is simply not so explicit in the soundworld – the quotations of ‘world music from afar’ are sublimated within the complexity of the multiple ring modulation. There might have been a possible exception in the Japanese temple percussion instruments which signal the start of each of the 32 sections, but only an informed listener will know exactly what these are – their colotomic function is clear and perceptible and less likely to carry a second cultural signification.

Mimetic: abstract + abstracted

Trevor Wishart - Red Bird

As with Pentes, Red Bird remains a seminal work in the renaissance in UK electroacoustic music from the mid-1970s on. Its impact was immediate and visceral. The opening is a shockingly direct sonic evocation of a political prisoner being beaten up, and its breathtaking sweep in psychological and real space ensured that the expression of real ideas (beyond the merely aesthetic) was perceptible. While Wishart’s works and writings of the time were certainly anti-serial and anti-systemic in general, he did not accept the completely ‘sound for sound’s sake’ of the post-Schaefferians. He argued for a double quality, retaining what he called the symbolic aspect of the recognizable sound. Hence its designation here – the sounds suggest their possible uses through both symbolic and sonic qualities which must be finely balanced.

Mimetic: abstracted

Luc Ferrari - Presque rien no1, Music Promenade

From shortly after publication I have had increasing doubts about Presque rien no1 being in this position in the grid. Indeed soundscape has an interesting relationship to this way of looking at the world. In soundscape works there is often a glib assumption that as the sounds are (we read on the sleeve) recorded in a given real world environment then they somehow are intrinsically recognizable. No doubt a good proportion of the sounds often are - but this recognition is of course based on experience. I first heard the work in 1971 very shortly after it was issued on LP which was itself only a year or so after completion and 2-3 years after the recordings were made on the Dalmatian coast. I felt I could relate immediately and without thinking to the ambience and atmosphere. In the intervening years, through the increasing ubiquity of the car, mass tourism and changed social habits – not to speak of an appalling civil war - I now hear this recording as profoundly historical, a nostalgic experience of an unobtainable past. Experience with student listening over these same years suggests that recognition is consequently changing – thus its position on the x-axis is considerably more subjective than I assumed at the time.

But furthermore, soundscape works challenge the very notion of syntax in the sense used in the Language Grid. The y-axis assumes that the composer organizes (Cage can be included as above – chance is but one kind of organizing principle). It is clear that soundscape composers (and Ferrari here) made choices – a long recording has been expertly edited down to a ‘short anecdote’ of about 20 minutes. He chose the recording environment of the original material, too. But this is high level activity. The moment to moment (sound to sound) ‘organisation’ is given by the environment itself and chosen by the composer. The cicadas respond to the heat of the day, the woman’s song is clearly local.

I ‘have the feeling’ that Ferrari made such choices based on the sound quality of the recordings (no doubt following additional criteria of story construction) but in a fascinatingly different sense than many of the other composers represented here. The rules of combination are here more to do with middle ground and formal structuring around a narrative trajectory.

The original text refers briefly to Ferrari’s earlier Music Promenade (1964-69) illustrates some of the same questions discussed above with respect to Telemusik and Hymnen. Even more so than in Presque rien no.1 Ferrari captures soundscapes which include a much greater degree of human activity, social and individual - “Nature has made way for a whirlwind of armies and industries among which we can glimpse agonizing folklore and a lost young girl.” (Ferrari 2009: 83). Clearly the nature/culture divide is here undermined – we cannot avoid a human dimension to the mimetic (environmental) axis.

3. Conclusion 

There is no conclusion to this short excursion. We hear works differently over time, so perhaps the work itself can ‘walk’ across the grid. The listener can change the landscape just as much as the composer, such that the music will find itself in a new environment, unfamiliar to its earlier self.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012) – in addition to making a vast contribution to the field of electroacoustic music, he was one of my PhD external examiners (1982) and thus the first critic of the earliest version of the Language Grid.

[1] These are the definitions used in the original – and have been much discussed since. The essential distinction lies in the relation of the organising principle to perceived qualities of the sound material.
[2] An entirely new set of work examples would include women composers, a greater variety of practices, continents, live music making etc..
[3] “In practice these two Utopian positions [extreme positions on an axis] are rarely found in isolation, and many composers wander somewhat uneasily between the two.” (Emmerson 1986: 23)
[4] I cite it in the PhD version of this text but it was inexplicably dropped from the published version.
[5] Trevor Wishart discusses exactly this kind of relationship in his chapter of the book (Wishart 1986: 47-49).
[6] Hymnen is not one of the examined works within the grid but is mentioned in the general discussion on mimetic discourse, in a section stressing the influence of Luc Ferrari’s early anecdotal work on Stockhausen at this time.
[7] As anyone who follows an Olympic Games quickly gets to know.
[8] David Tudor described Stockhausen as ‘our-man-in-Europe, the most friendly to Cage’s music and that of the other Americans’ (Tudor 1972: 25).
[9] For Gesang der Jünglinge Stockhausen writes about testing the ‘degrees of comprehensibility’ out on listeners during composition (CD notes p.157).
[10] It is not possible to say if the image in Kostelanetz (1970) bears any relationship whatsoever to Cage’s version.
[11] My information on Ensembles may very well have come from Barry Schrader (1982: 126-127) – this book was an excellent and often rich first look at a wide range of European and American works and composers. He also emphasizes the listening experience – at that time relatively rare.
[12] Western music’s fascination with metallophones includes a major input from other cultures from central and south east Asia, notably through Russia and France in the colonial period.
[13] Across rival genres: Pierre Schaeffer’s early cloche coupée experiments; one of the earliest WDR elektronische Musik studies was Herbert Eimert’s Glockenspiel (1953).
[14] Which generate a part of the syntax for this work – see Harvey (1981).
[15] Jonty Harrison reports that following the UK premiere in York (1975) I made a public statement that Pentes was ‘the first major British work’ in this field (my apologies to New Zealand). It was on the programme of the first ‘loudspeaker orchestra’ Arts Council Contemporary Music Network tour directed by Smalley in 1976. This programme also included Cage’s Aria with Fontana Mix.
[16] One might get around the problem by simply arguing that this section lies in a more ‘mimetic’ box on the grid – indeed no piece is a point, but an area. The box boundaries are grid references not frontiers.
[17] Photos of Parmegiani in his studio show the EMS Synthi A which he confirmed in a personal communication played a major part in both producing and treating sounds in this and other works of the period.
[18] Bachelard (1969 – original French 1958): Chapter 9 is titled ‘The Dialectics of Outside and Inside’ – Chapter 8 (‘Intimate Immensity’) is also a key text. Parmegiani refers to the influence of Bachelard in several programme notes and interviews.
[19] Although as Michael Gatt has pointed out – access to much of this information comes at a price. 

 

Bibliography: 
BACHELARD, G. (1969) The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press.
BOULEZ, P. and CAGE, J. (1990) Pierre Boulez/John Cage – Correspondance et documents. Winterthur: Amadeus Verlag.
BOULEZ, P. and CAGE, J. (1995) The Boulez-Cage Correspondence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
EMMERSON, S. (1982) Analysis and the Composition of Electroacoustic Music (PhD), City University, London.
EMMERSON, S. (1986) The Relation of Language to Materials. In: EMMERSON, S. Language of Electroacoustic Music. Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 17-39.
EMMERSON, S. (1998) Acoustic/Electroacoustic: The Relationship with Instruments. Journal of New Music Research, 27(1-2), pp. 146-164.
HARRISON, J. (1996) Articles indéfinis (CD liner notes). Empreintes Digitales: IMED 9627.
HARVEY, J. (1975) The Music of Stockhausen. London: Faber and Faber.
HARVEY, J. (1981) Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco: A Realization at IRCAM. Computer Music Journal, 5 (4), pp. 22-24. KOSTELANETZ, R. (1970) John Cage, London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press.
NATTIEZ, J-J. (1990) Music and Discourse. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
SCHRADER, B. (1982) Introduction to Electro-Acoustic Music. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
TUDOR, D. (1972) From piano to electronics. Music and Musicians (London), XX, August 1972, pp. 24-26.
WISHART, T. (1986) Sound Symbols and Landscapes. In: EMMERSON, S. Language of Electroacoustic Music. Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 41-60.
 
Recordings:
BABBITT, M. (2002) Ensembles for Synthesizer. New Electronic Music From Leaders Of The Avant-Garde [CD] Sony Classical: SICC 78.
CAGE, J. (2001) Williams Mix. Octo Mixes (Williams Mix restoration by Larry Austin) [CD] EMF: 039.
CAGE, J. (2010) John Cage - Fontana Mix [CD] Él: ACMEM194CD.
FERRARI, L. (2009) Presque rien no1, Music Promenade. Luc Ferrari - l’oeuvre électronique [CD] INA/GRM: Ina G 6017/6026.
HARVEY, J. (1999) Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco [CD] Sargasso: SCD 28029.
NONO, L. (1992) La Fabbrica Illuminata [CD] Wergo: WER 6038-2.
PARMEGIANI, B. (2008) De Natura Sonorum and Dedans-Dehors. Bernard Parmegiani – l’oeuvre musicale [CD] INA/GRM: ina g 6000/11.
RISSET, J-C. (1988) Songes. Songes • Passages • Computer Suite From Little Boy • Sud [CD] WERGO: WER 2013-50.
SMALLEY, D. (2000) Pentes. Sources/scènes [CD] Empreintes Digitales: IMED 0054.
STOCKHAUSEN, K. (1991) Studie II and Kontakte. Elektronische Musik 1952-1960 [CD] Stockhausen-Verlag: Stockhausen 3.
STOCKHAUSEN, K. (1995) Mikrophonie I – II – Telemusik [CD] Stockhausen-Verlag: Stockhausen 9.
STOCKHAUSEN, K. (1995) Hymnen [CD] Stockhausen-Verlag: Stockhausen 10.
WISHART, T. (2006) Red Bird. Prix Trivium - 33° Concours International/Bourges 2006 [CD] Mnemosyne: Cultures électroniques.