To musikkulturer - én institution: Forskningsstrategier og text-ljudkompositioner ved det svenske elektronmusikstudie EMS i 1960'erne og1970'erne

Translated title of the contribution: Two music cultures – one institution. .: Research strategies and text sound composition at the Swedish electronic music studio EMS during the 1960s and 1970s

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch


This dissertation explores the Swedish electronic music studio EMS from the establishment in 1964 to the late 1970s. The aim is to describe and discuss the complex milieu which is found in relation to the studio within this timeframe. EMS was established with the intent to create an international centre for research in sound and sound perception, and to build one of the world’s most advanced hybrid studios. The principal creators of the studio were rooted in Swedish modernism, and had the EMS-project shaped in accordance to the social democratic cultural policy of the time. This enabled the project to achieve continuous financial support e.g. to purchase a computer in 1969. The construction of the large studio was a complicated and prolonged process. Whilst the building was underway many composers worked in EMS’s in principle provisional studio ’the sound workshop’, where they among other sound pieces created the so called text sound compositions. Over time this studio was worn, and the composers asked for new analogue equipment. The board of directors opposed the composers’ whishes because they preferred to continue the original stake at digitally controlled analogue apparatus and the planned research project. On these grounds many disagreements and conflicts occurred in the beginning of 1970s.
In this dissertation EMS is considered as a field in which two positions are established: The position ’science’, and the position ’text sound’. Within the position ’science’ focus is on the planned research project, which is explored partly in relation to Pierre Schaeffer’s theories and partly as a rhetorical tool in a political strategy of legitimation. As an opposed position to ’science’ the position ’text sound’ is established. Text sound is a cross-aesthetic genre, which falls between literature and music. This position is discussed in reference to international electro acoustic music and to Avantgardistic genres such as sound poetry and concrete poetry. A selection of these works are analyzed on the basis of the themes: 1. Concrete poetry and text sound, 2. Extreme reductions, 3. Technology and science in text sound, 4. Political text sound pieces. The agents within the position of ’text sound’ were also the major critics of EMS’s management (the position ’science’). In addition to exploring the characteristics of the respective positions, mutual conflicts, similarities and diversities between the two positions are also discussed.
Translated title of the contributionTwo music cultures – one institution. .: Research strategies and text sound composition at the Swedish electronic music studio EMS during the 1960s and 1970s
Original languageDanish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavns Universitet
Number of pages224
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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