As part of FON2013 Dr John Dack presented a talk on the work of composer Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1995), drawing on his translation of “In Search of a Concrete Music” (“A la recherche d’une musique concrete”), long 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. Schaeffer has also become increasingly relevant to DJs and hip-hop producers as well as sound-based media artists.
John’s principal research area is the relationship between the practices and theories of composers and sound artists working in the electroacoustic medium. This research is, therefore, historical as well as musical/analytical. His doctoral dissertation (completed in 1989 under the supervision of Denis Smalley) compared the theoretical framework of Pierre Schaeffer (the ‘inventor’ of musique concrète) with contemporary developments in German elektronische Musik (particularly serial thought).