322_Top Books by Pierre Schaeffer
“Barbarians always think of themselves as the bringers of civilization.” — Pierre Schaeffer
When talking about French music of 20th century the name without discussionG2 cannot be completed is Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer (14 August 1910 — 19 August 1995) was a French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician of the 20th century.G3 G4
His innovative work and in sciences of which particularly communications and acoustics. He presented various art of music, literature along with his radio presentation after the end of World War II resemble him as a polymath. His anti-nuclear activism and cultural criticism garnered him a wide array of appraisal in his lifetime.
Of the vast assortment of works and endeavors undertaken by him, Schaeffer is most widely and currently recognized for his accomplishments in electronic and experimental music, the epitome of which was his role as the chief developer of a unique and early form of avant-garde music known as Musique concrète. The genre emerged out of Europe from the utilization of new music technology developed predominately in the post-Nazi Germany era, which followed the path of advances in electroacoustic and acousmatic music.
Schaeffer’s writings are very wide and include written and radio-narrated essays, biographies, short novels, a number of musical treatises and several plays which are often oriented towards his development of the genre, as well as defined the theoretics and philosophy of music in general.
Today, Schaeffer is considered one of the most influential experimental, electroacoustic and subsequently electronic musicians, having been the first composer to utilize a number of contemporary recording and sampling techniques that are now used worldwide by nearly all record production companies.
His collective endeavors are considered milestones in the histories of electronic and experimental music.
B: List of books by Pierre Schaeffer according to their popularity
#1 In Search of a Concrete Music (ISBN: 0520265742)
Synopsis: Pierre Schaeffer’s In Search of a Concrete Music has long been considered a classic text in electroacoustic music and sound recording. Schaeffer’s theories have had a profound influence on composers working with technology. However, they extend beyond the confines of the studio and are applicable to many areas of contemporary musical thought, such as defining an ‘instrument’ and classifying sounds.
· Read it for: this book has become increasingly relevant to DJs and hip-hop producers as well as sound-based media artists and the uniqueness of this book interest anyone interested in contemporary musicology or media history.G5
· Don’t read for: this book deals with transformation brought in G6 contemporaryG7 music art but lacks in ideas that are self-applicable in G8 today’sG9 era.G10 G11
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: This book from the early days of electronic music gives great insights into the thoughts and ideas of one of the true revolutionaries in 20th-century music. The author’s approach to writing the book was to take his notes from his diary which makes it completely different from others. G12
#2 Traite des objectsG13 musicaux (ISBN-13: 978-2020026086)
· Synopsis: the Traité des Objets Musicaux, as concentrates its research right in the middle of the triad. It takes on the sonorous, all the sonorous, for the first time, and this is doubtless its merit; then it suggests ways of accessing the musical, particularly with the idea that not all sound is suitable for music, that choices of the “suitable” 2 music be made in the light of the “structures” to which all listening which is seeking meaning must be referredG14
· Read it for : Although Schaeffer’s books have philosophical bias, their philosophy is pragmatic in its inner core, and as one reads this creation it became obvious that they would drastically change their outlook on what music is and how to do it and must-read by each endeavoring and seek artist, for artist who works to expand what music is, might be, and will beG15 G16
· Don’t read it for: It was written almost half a century ago and no English from French translation has appeared hence, which acts as in the hurdles to for the new generations.
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: you will come across something unexplained, surprising. Indeed, is not musical meaning, to which it constantly referring without being able to define it, like other questions in life to which we do not know the answer? After all, does life have a meaning? Who can define it? Is there the consensus about it?G17
#3 Treatise on Musical Objects: An Essay across Disciplines (ISBN13: 9780520294301)
· Synopsis: The Treatise on Musical Objects is regarded as Pierre Schaeffer’s most important work on music and its relationship with technology. Schaeffer expands his earlier research in musique concrète to suggest a methodology of working with sounds based on his experiences in radio broadcasting and the recording studio. He aims at drawing on acoustics, physics, and physiology, but also on philosophy and the relationship between subject and object, Schaeffer’s essay summarizes his theoretical and practical work in music composition. Translators Christine North and John Dack present an important book in the history of ideas in Europe that will resonate far beyond electroacoustic music. Although focused on his idea of the musical object, the Treatise on Musical Objects is an oasis of new routes for thinking and speculation through perception.
By crossing several disciplines and developing his own musical research methodology through the years, Schaeffer revolutionizes the idea of the sonic material, also leaving an acousmatic invitation which is reflected on his philosophical standpoints, ideas on technology and his visionary concepts around electroacoustic, experimental and concrete music. Scientific yet poetic, visionary yet a classic; from the idea of music as the research device to the analysis of listening modalities, or his attempt of a language for musical objects, Schaeffer’s treatise is a must-read which, even if can be reformulated or questioned, will always be a milestone in sonic thinking.G18 G19
· Read it for :
Pierre Schaeffer’s text in a definitive form in English is invaluable to a wide range of communities of scholars, practitioners, and general readers. It will have the effect of ‘rewriting history’ as well as stimulating and informing current discussions on the state of sound, music, and media in the age of smart technology
“The Treatise on Musical Objects is Pierre Schaeffer’s magnum opus, a prescient work of sound studies before there was ‘sound studies.’ Its purview touches on nearly every aspect of sound and auditory culture. Beyond ‘modes of listening,’ ‘sound objects,’ or ‘acoustics,’ there is so much more for readers to discover.”—Brian Kane, author of Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice. G20
· Don’t read it for: Treatise on Musical Objects is regarded as Pierre Schaeffer’s most important work on music and its relationship with technology. Schaeffer expands his earlier experiences in this regard which makes it quite peculiar in terms of time scale and history
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: The author suggests a methodology of working with sounds based on his experiences in radio broadcasting and the recording studio. Drawing on acoustics, physics, and physiology, but also on philosophy and the relationship between subject and object, Schaeffer’s essay summarizes his theoretical and practical work in music composition.G21
#4 Tratado De Los Objetos Musicales: (ISBN13: 9788420685403)
· Synopsis: In Tratado of the musical objects Pierre Schaeffer brought forth the general principles of the perception music and its components. Schaeffer’s treatise is a monumental, groundbreaking investigation into listening, considering in depth not only the sounds of music but the whole sound world. At last English-speaking readers can discover the seminal research of this unique personality, which remains a classic fifty years after its initial publication.G22
· Read it for: this seminal text is still absolutely crucial for those curious about music, sound, composing, and the experience of listening. Schaeffer’s astonishing book is at last available in English thanks to the wonderful work of John Dack and Christine North.
· Don’t read it for: Pierre Schaeffer’s text in a definitive form in English is invaluable to a wide range of communities of scholars, practitioners, and general readers. It will have the effect of ‘rewriting history’ as well as stimulating and informing current discussions on the state of sound, music, and media in the age of smart technology which many readers may not inculcate in them.
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: This landmark text, not for one but for several disciplines: electroacoustic composition, sound studies, media theory, music theory, to name but a few. To have an English translation of this volume at long last is a cause for celebration. Christine North and John Dack have shown tremendous skill, patience, and care in rendering Schaeffer’s often challenging style into English, doing justice to both the content of his ideas and the style in which they are expressed.
#5 A la recherche de la musique concrete (ISBN13: 9782020025720)
· Synopsis: By 1949 Schaeffer’s compositional work was known publicly as musique concrète (Palombini 1993, 14). Schaeffer stated: “when I proposed the term ‘musique concrète,’ I intended … to point out an opposition to the way musical work usually goes. Instead of notating musical ideas on paper with the symbols of G23 solfege and entrusting their realization to well-known instruments, the question was to collect concrete sounds, wherever they came from, and to abstract the musical values they were potentially containing” (Reydellet 1996, 10). According to Pierre Henry, “musique concrète was not a study of timbre, it is focused on envelopes, forms.G24 G25
· Read it for: The development of musique concrète was facilitated by the emergence of new music technology in post-war Europe. Access to microphones, phonographs, and later magnetic tape recorders (created in 1939 and acquired by the Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète (Research Group on Concrete Music) in 1952), facilitated by an association with the French national broadcasting organization, at that time the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, gave Schaeffer and his colleagues an opportunity to experiment with recording technology and tape manipulation.
· Don’t read it for: In 1948, a typical radio studio consisted of a series of shellac record players, a shellac record recorder, a mixing desk with rotating potentiometers, mechanical reverberation, filters, and microphones. This technology made a number of limited operations available to a composer. Which today’sG26 composers would not find interestingG27
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: Almost seventy years after the invention of musique concrète, this seminal text is still absolutely crucial for those curious about music, sound, composing, and the experience of listening. Schaeffer’s astonishing book is at last available in English thanks to the wonderful work of John Dack and Christine North.
#6 Machines a communiqué (ISBN13: 9782020026208)
· Synopsis: Schaeffer’s early experiences in the radio medium – specifically in the practice of so-calledG28 radiophonic art – prefigure these later writings devoted to music theory. The conclusion must be that radiophonic art played a role of central importance in inspiring and consolidating Schaeffer’s ideas can be seen in Machines a communiqué.
· Read it for: Schaeffer’s reaction to the new listening environment created by radio technology was not simply to accept the situation but to investigate the relationship between the listening subject and the object of his/her perception. This human dimension, “man as the measure of all things”, the human capacities for knowledge and perception seemed a dominating factor in his thinking. A man was now placed in a new relationship with sounds. G29 G30
· Don’t read it for: When Schaeffer speaks of the “transcendence of the object,” he means it in the sense that the object I intend is not immanently contained in the stream of perceptual adumbrations which stats that the author has lead music to an exuberant level.
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: This is the background to Schaeffer’s claim that “it is in my experience that this transcendence is constituted. . . .To each domain of objects corresponds thus a type of intentionality. Each of their properties depends on acts of consciousness that are ‘constitutive,’ and the object perceived is no longer the cause of my perception. It is ‘the correlate with which author aims at achieving a transcendence of music.
#7 Prelude choral et fugue (ISBN13: 9782080645517)
· Synopsis: The final decades of the 20th century witnessed a marked change in the attitude to instrumental music and an interest in experiencing a broader range of expressivity in music. Anaesthetics of “sentiment and yearning” with regard to music is found in novels of the period as presented by author Prelude choral et fugue.
· Read it for: It is important to emphasize, however, that the work-concept does not regulate all musical practice; this aesthetic is not an ahistorical key to understanding all music; in her final chapter, Goehr notes that failing to keep this in mind “leads to our alienating music from its various socio-cultural contexts”
· Don’t read it for: the artists having the niche in music and its G31 contemporaryG32 art will able to link the instances mentionedG33 in it by an author. G34 G35 G36 G37
· What Makes This Book Stand Out: Structuralists (Claude Lévi-Strauss, for example) seek to explain social phenomena in terms of underlying, unconscious, universal patterns – deep structures, which are taken to be static, and examined synchronically. Although author embraces certain aspects of structuralism, his analysis is decidedly historical.
#8 Excusez-moi, he G38 meansG39 (ISBN13: 9782080643674)G40 G41
· Synopsis: He developed the concept of including any and all sounds into the musical vocabulary. At first, he concentrated on working with sounds other than those produced by traditional musical instruments. Later on, he found it was possible to remove the familiarity of musical instrument sounds and abstract G42 them further by techniques such as removing the attack of the recorded sound.
· Read it for: He was among the first to manipulate recorded sound in the way that it could be used in conjunction with other such sounds in the making of a musical piece. This could be thought of as a precursor to contemporary sampling practices.
· Don’t read it for: Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of play (in his terms, jeu) in the creation of music which is not much common in other parts of the world which leads to being secluded in specifically in G43 G44 FranceG45 .G46
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