Bill Manaris : Spring 2013 / HONS 381 Homework 4

Assigned Date: Friday, April 5, 2013
Due Date: Monday, April 15, 2013
Due Time: 10:50am

NOTE: No late days can be used for this assignment.

Last modified on April 16, 2013, at 05:08 PM (see updates)

This is a solo assignment (i.e., you must work on your own). You may discuss the assignment only with the instructors.

Assignment created by Prof. Vassilandonakis.


This assignment aims to:


Study the history, development, main representative composers, stylistic features and selected musique concrète pieces, and respond to the general posed topic questions. Finally, select a particular piece and analyze it following proposed guidelines.


Begin by accessing the following, in the order presented:

  1. Musique Concrète Documentary
  2. Musique Concrète: History and Figures
  3. Antonkoletz, Elliott: Electronic Music chapter
  4. Luigi Russolo: The Art of Noise

Afterwards, carefully listen to the following representative pieces, in any order. Plan for intense, dedicated listening sessions, with headphones, or through quality speakers (do not listen through your computer speakers), and listen at least twice to each piece.

Topic Questions

  1. What are the most important subgenres of early electronic music, where were they introduced and by whom, and how do they distinguish themselves?
  2. Describe the main technical tools of musique concrète.
  3. Musique concrète is meant to be experienced through speakers or headphones. How does that affect its effectiveness in communicating with the listener?
  4. Describe the general process of creating music using tape machines. What are the techniques/processes involved?
  5. How do you think the creative process differs between composing a piece for instruments and composing a piece with recorded sounds?
  6. Do you find that composers tend to use sounds with shorter or longer durations more? What do you think is the usefulness of each?
  7. How do you perceive the aesthetic values of this style? What are the composers after, and why are they so interested in this style, which is so labor intensive, when they could have been composing instrumental music much faster and easier?
  8. Mainstream pop music genres have been profoundly influenced by the aesthetics and techniques of musique concrète. Can you think of any additional examples of such influences, beyond those listed in the Musique Concrète: History and Figures article?
  9. Poeme Electronique and Concrete PH were developed in the same studio, at the same time, for the same project. Can you trace similarities and differencies in them?
  10. Listen to the electronic works of Ligeti and Reich, and then compare them to their instrumental pieces (two of Ligeti’s are provided above, and we have examined Reich’s Piano Phase in class). How have the electronic works influenced their approach to composing for instruments?

Piece Analysis

Select a piece from the list of Essential Works (VI) in Musique Concrète: History and Figures, find a recording of it on YouTube, and provide a detailed analysis of it, addressing the following topics:



Your grade will be based on how well you followed the above instructions, and the depth/quality of your work.

Be prepared to present your analysis in class.

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