Composing With Sounds : all sounds can lead to music


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Welcome to

Welcome, Dear Reader, to our humble abode; our idyllic oasis in cyberspace dedicated to enjoying, understanding, appreciating and creating Musique Concrète...

But ... What is this Musique Concrète stuff?

Musique Concrète is music crafted from recorded sounds


everyday sounds


strange sounds


found sounds


weird and abstract


played as they were
not meant to be played


all sorts of sounds



What defines a sound for us?

The only real requirement is that you can hear it!  If you can hear it, if you feel inspired to do something with it, if you have the right to use the recording of it [or better still, you made the recording yourself], then it's a sound you can work with.  Just to contradict that a little, we can use silense as well ...

Let's settle for 'anything we can capture with a microphone' - that'll do nicely at this stage.

Who is this site for?

This site is for aspiring electroacoustic musicians, those with a passion for music technology, and those curious about making music from recorded sounds.  All sorts of sounds.  Everyday sounds; strange noises from musical instruments 'played' in unusual ways; weird, abstract sounds - in fact, making music from just about any sound you can imagine - and then a few you can't imagine- yet.

But - can't I use a synth?

There are two ways to look at this question:

Some composers will tell you it's not allowed; that all the sounds you use should be created naturally, and recorded with a microphone;

Others will say: 'it's OK to use sounds created by a synth, provided that you record it first, and then manipulate the recorded sound.'.

Pierre Schaeffer did not like the use of synthesizers to create all of the music, but accepted that they could be used to generate a kind of source-sound to work from.  We need to be careful here that our work really is musique concrète rather than simply synth music.

But a synthesiser with parametrical control was something Pierre Schaeffer was against, since it favoured the preconception of music and therefore deviated from Schaeffer's principal of 'making through listening'*

In other words, Schaeffer wanted us to play with sounds by recording them, listening to the recordings, then changing what we hear to create our music.

We could strike a balance here - and say that synth is OK provided we use it in great moderation.  We need to keep our mind on creating something more than just synth music!

Does this fit with 'anything we can capture with a microphone'?  Well, if we were to play our synth sound through a loudspeaker, we could point a microphone at it ... so yes, we have created a sound; we have a recording of it; we can now manipulate it.  What is important is that we listen to the sounds we are creating, when we create them, after we have recorded them, and while we are changing them to make music with them.

So it's really 'playing with sounds'?

Yes!  That's the idea.  Pierre Schaeffer was very keen on the double-meaning of the verb to play; we should play our music in the way a conventional musician plays their instrument; we should also have fun playing-around with our sounds, listening to what we get, and being creative with the new sounds we produce along the way.  We could say organising sounds to create a new work of sonic art.


So, who is this Pierre Schaeffer?

You'll have to look at our history page to get the answer to that one!

… and who is Delia? (What is she?)

You'll have to look at our introduction to Delia page, but be sure you're ready…


* Quoted from Daniel Teruggi (2007). "Technology and Musique Concrète: The Technical Developments of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales and Their Implication in Musical Composition". Organised Sound 12, no. 3:213–31.
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