About sound spatialization and spatial music

Since the early 60’s, electroacoustic music composers have been concerned about spatializing sound.

Spatializing sound mainly consists of using several speakers and sending the right signal to each of them.

Their purposes were and still are different:
– Immerse the listener inside sound
– Distribute sound in large spaces for better quality, intelligibility and homogeneity
– Separate different music parts in the space
– Add live performance and interpretation dimensions to a fixed on media music
– Give the best rendering to a sound work according to the particularities of the place where it is performed
– Make audio scenes more realistic or more effective
– Modify the acoustics of venues and simulate different architectural responses
– Produce distribution and motion special effects

According to these needs, different skills and tools were developed by artists, researchers and engineers. Some electroacoustic music composers became good specialists in composing music in the aim of being performed on spatial devices and good music performers on diffusion systems such as the Gmebaphone, the Acousmonium and others. The most important part of these works where initiated in France from 1960 to now. Therefore their is an important sound spatialization art school in France represented mainly by the IMEB (closed in 2010), the INA/GRM. The Ircam has also been an important part of this work, but is more concerned about instrumental music and simulation of acoustic spaces than spatial electoacoustic music.

Among the composers who dedicated part of their works to create(d) committed spatial music one could quote:

François Bayle
Christian Clozier
Roland Cahen
Hans Tutschku
Alain Savouret
Françis Dhomont
P-Alain Jaffrenou
Jean-Marc Duchenne
Patrick Ascione
Luc Martinez
Cécile Le Prado
Bertrand Merlier
Pierre Boeswillwald
Eric Mulard
Serge de Laubier
Robert Normandeau
Annette Vande Gorne


This website intends to introduce a more specific concept of sound spatialization: spatial or kinetic music. The main difference between spatial music and spatialization of sound and music is that spatial music postulates spatial and kinetic content to be an essential part of the musicality itself, and not only a mean to enhance a music which could be appreciated without sound spatialization.





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