Sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective on Experimental Music  book cover
1st Edition

Sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective on Experimental Music

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 9, 2021
ISBN 9780367676933
September 9, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $32.00
was $160.00
USD $128.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

What does a one-hour contemporary orchestral piece by Georg Friedrich Haas have in common with a series of glitch-noise electronic tracks by Pan Sonic? This book proposes that, despite their differences, they share a particular understanding of sound that is found across several quite distinct genres of contemporary art music: the Ecstatic-Materialist perspective. Sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist perspective is considered as a material mass or element, unfolding in time, encountered by a listener, for whom the experience of that sound exceeds the purely sonic without becoming entirely divorced from its materiality. It is "material" by virtue of the focus on the texture, consistency, and density of sound; it is "ecstatic" in the etymological sense, that is to say that the experience of this sound involves an instability, an inclination to depart from material appearance, an ephemeral and transitory impulse in the very perception of sound to something beyond – but still related to – it. By examining musical pieces from spectralism to electroacoustic domains, from minimalism to glitch electronica and dubstep, this book identifies the key intrinsic characteristics of this musical perspective. To fully account for this perspective on sonic experience, listener feedback and interviews with composers and performers are also incorporated. Sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective is the common territory where composers, sound artists, performers, and listeners converge.

Table of Contents


A Multi-faceted Approach


Notes and limitations

I Sound in 20th Century Music

I.1 Scelsi and the centrality of sound

I.2 Key aspects of sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist perspective

I.3 From music to sound

I.3.1 From the beginning of the century up to 1980: a plural emancipation

I.3.2 From the 1980s onward: a non-linear expansion

I.4 Sonic Map

I.4.1 Case studies: selection of pieces

BOX – I – Selected Composers

I.5 Closing Remarks

II Morphology and Structure of Musical Works

II.1 Starting points of the analysis

II.2 Sequential method

II.3 Results

Low-level Attributes

High-Level Attributes

Specific Piece: in vain

II.3.1 Perceptual Grammar

II.4 Closing Remarks

III Listening

III.1 Listening to Experimental Music

III.1.1 The experimental music blind spot in studies on musical perception

III.1.2 The auditory process of E-M music

III.1.2.1 Early Stage of Perception

III.1.2.2 Late-stage Perception

III.2 Listening Survey

BOX – III – Listening Survey - Method

III.2.1 Results

Music Training Discrimination

Cross-Genre Connections

III.3 Modes of Listening

III.3.1 The internal-external immanent domain

III.3.2 Towards a multifaceted listening mode

III.3.3 The aesthetic attitude

III.4 Closing Remarks

IV Composers and Performers

BOX – IV – Composers and Perfomers Interviewed

IV.1 Dialogues

Musical Contexts and Genres

Perception and the Space of Listening

Compositional practice

Sound and Time

IV.2 Closing Remarks

V The Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective

V.1 The Ecstatic and the Materialist

Phenomenological materiality: The imprint of sound

Ecstatic potential: sound-as-trace


V.2 Sound in the Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective

V.2.1 Space-Matter: the materiality of space in sound

Box – V – Space-Matter in Two Circles by Alvin Lucier: The Locus of the Non-External Properties of Sound

V.2.2 Vertical time: the ecstatic potential of space-matter

V.2.3 Musical Communication

V.3 Closing Remarks

VI Going Beyond Sound-in-itself

VI.1 The Conceptual and the Sensorial-Perceptual Paradigms

VI.2 Sonic Materialism and the philosophical debate around sound

VI.3 The Materiality of the Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective

VI.4 Going Beyond Sound Through Sound

Epilogue: the ecstatic-materialist perspective in context

VII.1 The Ecstatic-Materialist Context

VII.2 Empowered Listening

VII.3 Closing Remarks




View More



Riccardo D. Wanke is musician, academic, and member of the Centre for the Study of Sociology and Aesthetics of Music at NOVA University of Lisbon. His interests cover experimental music, sound perception, electronic sound manipulation. He has performed live worldwide and published for international labels.