The art of music is no longer limited to the sounding models of instruments and voices. Electroacoustic music opens access to all sounds, a bewildering sonic array ranging from the real to the surreal and beyond. For listeners the traditional links with physical sound-making are frequently ruptured: electroacoustic sound-shapes and qualities frequently do not indicate known sources and causes. Gone are the familiar articulations of instruments and vocal utterance: gone is the stability of note and interval: gone too is the reference of beat and metre. Composers also have problems: how to cut an aesthetic path and discover a stability in a wide-open sound world, how to develop appropriate sound-making methods, how to select technologies and software. This article is also available in French (1995b) and Italian (1996).
Spectromorphology: Explaining sound-shapes
Organised Sound 2(2): 107-126.