Teaching electronic music – journeys through a changing landscape

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  • Simon Emmerson De Montfort University




In this essay, electronic music composer Simon Emmerson examines the development of electronic music in the UK through his own experience as composer and teacher. Based on his lifetime experiences, Emmerson talks about the changing landscape of teaching electronic music composition: "˜learning by doing' as a fundamental approach for a composer to find their own expressive voice; the importance of past technologies, such as analogue equipment and synthesizers; the current tendencies of what he calls the "˜age of the home studio'; the awareness of sonic perception, as opposed to the danger of visual distraction; questions of terminology in electronic music and the shift to the digital domain in studios; among other things. [note by editor].


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Biografia do Autor

Simon Emmerson, De Montfort University

Simon Emmerson studied at Cambridge University and City University London. Composer and writer on electronic music since the early 1970s, he is now Professor of Music, Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University, Leicester. He founded the electroacoustic music studio at City University London in 1975 where he remained until 2004. He was founder Secretary of the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (EMAS) in 1979 as well as later Board member of Sonic Arts Network (to 2004) and Sound and Music (2008-2013). He was Edgard Varese Visiting Professor at TU, Berlin (2009-10) and Visiting Professor and Composer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth) in November 2016. Recent commissions include: GRM (Paris), Inventionen (Berlin), Sond-Arte Ensemble (Lisbon), BEAST (Birmingham) and for soloists Darragh Morgan (violin), Philip Mead (piano), Carla Rees (flute) and Heather Roche (clarinet). Recordings: Sargasso. Writings include: The Language of Electroacoustic Music (1986), Living Electronic Music (2007), The Routledge Research Companion to Electronic Music (2018), coeditor Expanding the Horizon of Electroacoustic Music Analysis (CUP, 2016). Keynotes include: ACMC 2011 (Auckland), ICMC 2011 (Huddersfield), Music Science Technology 2012 (São Paulo), WOCMAT 2012 (Taiwan), Alternative Histories of Electronic Music 2016 (London). E-mail: s.emmerson@dmu.ac.uk


EMMERSON, Simon. (1989), 'Composing Strategies and Pedagogy', Contemporary Music Review 3(1), pp. 133-144

______. (1991), 'Live Electronic Music in Britain: three case studies', Contemporary Music Review 6(1), pp. 179-195

______. (1994), "˜"˜Live"™ versus "˜real-time"™"™, Contemporary Music Review 10(2), pp. 95-101

______. (2001), "˜New spaces/new places: a Sound House for the performance of electroacoustic music

and sonic art"™, Organised Sound 6(2), pp.103-105

______. (2007), Living Electronic Music, Aldershot: Ashgate (now Routledge).

______. (2009), "˜Personal, local, universal – where are we?"™, Proceedings of the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference 2009 (EMS09), Buenos Aires. http://www.ems- network.org/ems09/papers/emmerson.pdf

______. (2013), "˜Rebalancing the discussion on interactivity"™, Proceedings of the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference 2013 (EMS13), Lisbon. http://www.ems-network.org/spip.php?article384

______. (2017), "˜Performance with Technology: Extending the Instrument – From Prosthetic to Aesthetic"™, in The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art (Marcel Cobussen, Vincent Meelberg and Barry Truax eds.), New York: Routledge, pp.427-437.

______. (2018), The Routledge Research Companion to Electronic Music: Reaching out with Technology (editor and contributor), Abingdon: Routledge




Como Citar

Emmerson, S. (2020). Teaching electronic music – journeys through a changing landscape. Revista Vórtex, 8(1), 12. https://doi.org/10.33871/23179937.2020.8.1.12