In this newly revised book On Sonic Art, Trevor Wishart takes a wide-ranging look at the new developments in music-making and musical aesthetics made possible by the advent of the computer and digital information processing. His emphasis is on musical rather than technical matters. Beginning with a critical analysis of the assumptions underlying the Western musical tradition and the traditional acoustic theories of Pythagoras and Helmholtz, he goes on to look in detail at such topics as the musical organization of complex sound-objects, using and manipulating representational sounds and the various dimensions of human and non-human utterance. In so doing, he seeks to learn lessons from areas (poetry and sound-poetry, film, sound effects and animal communication) not traditionally associated with the field of music.

    Introduction to the Series, Editor's Introduction, Preface, Acknowledgements, PRELUDE, Chapter 1: What is Sonic Art?, PART 1: THE SONIC CONTINUUM, Chapter 2: Beyond the pitch/ duration paradigm, Chapter 3: Pythagoras, Fourier, Helmholtz: towards a phenomenology of sound, Chapter 4: The nature of sonic space, Chapter 5: Sound structures in the continuum, Chapter 6: Gesture and counterpoint, PART 2: LANDSCAPE, Chapter 7: Sound landscape, Chapter 8: Sound-image as metaphor: music and myth, Chapter 9: Is there a natural morphology of sounds?, Chapter 10: Spatial motion, PART 3: UTTERANCE, Chapter 11: Utterance, Chapter 12: The human repertoire, Chapter 13: Phonemic objects, Chapter 14: Language stream and paralanguage, Chapter 15: The group, CODA, Chapter 16: Beyond the instrument: sound models, Bibliography, Music Examples, Music References, Index


    Trevor Wishart is a composer, living and working in the North of England. His musical works cover a wide range, from environmental music events staged in specific outdoor locations (Beach Singularity, 1977) through musical theatre works using props, staging and effects (Tuba Mirum, Gaudeamus prizewinner, 1979) to major electroacoustic works (Red Bird, prizewinner, Bourges, 1978) and the exploration of extended vocal techniques (Anticredos, 1980).

    A co-author of the book Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Languages, he has also been involved in developments in creative music education and recently designed and realized the 54-channel Soundscape of the Jorvik Viking Centre multimedia museum, the first of its kind in the UK. He is currently developing a software package to control the motion of several sound-sources in space.