The richness and variety of sound in field recordings has inspired numerous electro-acoustic and soundscape compositions, but what about the traditional composition realm? Is there a way to translate for and combine soundscapes with another medium? “How can field recordings be used as a source for instrumental compositions?” is the main research question under investigation here, which developed out of my creative pursuits in composing for instruments and field recordings. The first method I personally applied was to transcribe a field recording by ear for a mixed ensemble for Train, which simultaneously played the transcription with the original audio. The process and results of this piece prompted me to think and read more about mimesis in music, and how the two worlds of electro-acoustic/soundscape and instrumental music can combine. This research paper contains a short introduction to the historical context of mimesis in music (vocal/instrumental and electro-acoustic) to provide the connection of current trends to the past. To investigate the main approaches I proceeded to analyze and categorize music of field recordings with instruments. Using these analysis tools and categories, I investigated examples within roughly the past sixty years of pieces that use field recordings as source for instrumental music, be it for transcription, score, background, or for live interaction. The research results are detailed in four chapters, “Analysis Tools”, “Five Categories”, and two chapters on original compositions. The concepts of place and live versus pre-recorded sound were interesting to investigate as well.
This page contains media that is intended to start playback automatically on opening. This may include sound. Your browser is blocking automated playback. Please click here to start media.
Moving the mouse cursor over the top of the page will display the menu bar.