The Twentieth Century has witnessed fundamental changes in the ways that musics are presented to society. Mechanical recording from 100 years ago allowed the capture of sound and for its presence in the home, but music had always been available in the home, by the choice and inclination of the family.
Realtime electronic distribution of sounds, chosen by other people, introduced new ways of listening, and by the mid-60s had provoked interest among composers to create 'sound works' that would be played in the home, which like the concert, were not under the control of the listener.
Broadcasting, both radio and television, placed objects in the home, that would continue to be presented, regardless of the presence of the listener, but unlike recorded media, were not under the control of the receiver.
In many cases, this shifted a mode of thinking for the creative artist. While the nineteenth century paradigm of the closely argued artistic statement is a possibility in a concert (because the composer knows that most listeners will be there to the end of the piece), the radiophonic composer knows that the listener may come into the piece in the middle, not be able to hear parts in the middle, and may miss the ending. While the limitations of this model of public presentation are not taken into account by all radiophonic pieces, it is a critical limitation that the creator carries to the sound canvas.
A seminal point in the production of radiophonic works is the Solitude Trilogy of the Canadian pianist and radiophonic composer, Glenn Gould. The Trilogy presents a series of quilted pieces, every part of which is important, the whole of which makes sense, but with the knowledge that portions may be listened to with varying degrees of attention.
It is the composer's acceptance of the possibility of patchwork listening that separates 'radiophonics' from concert works, or works designed for narrowcasting, or 'on-demand' presentation (such as is available via CD or cassette at home or in the car).
It is with these basic ideas in mind that in 1998 the CEC invited the international sound art / radiophonic community members to submit works for inclusion in this project. The site, now started, will remain an archival resource and will be updated periodically.
Stay tuned takes on a whole different meaning.
For the *PeP* production team