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Hardcover | $40.00 Text | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780262122924 | 320 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 1 b&w illus| August 2007

Understanding the Art of Sound Organization


The art of sound organization, also known as electroacoustic music, uses sounds not available to traditional music making, including pre-recorded, synthesized, and processed sounds. The body of work of such sound-based music (which includes electroacoustic art music, turntable composition, computer games, and acoustic and digital sound installations) has developed more rapidly than its musicology. Understanding the Art of Sound Organization proposes the first general foundational framework for the study of the art of sound organization, defining terms, discussing relevant forms of music, categorizing works, and setting sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts.

Leigh Landy's goal in this book is not only to create a theoretical framework but also to make sound-based music more accessible—to give a listener what he terms "something to hold on to," for example, by connecting elements in a work to everyday experience. Landy considers the difficulties of categorizing works and discusses such types of works as sonic art and electroacoustic music, pointing out where they overlap and how they are distinctive. He proposes a "sound-based music paradigm" that transcends such traditional categories as art and pop music. Landy defines patterns that suggest a general framework and places the study of sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts, from acoustics to semiotics, proposing a holistic research approach that considers the interconnectedness of a given work's history, theory, technological aspects, and social impact.

The author's ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS,, the architecture of which parallels this book's structure, offers updated bibliographic resource abstracts and related information.

About the Author

Leigh Landy is a composer and scholar. He is Director of the Music, Technology, and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, U.K.


"Leigh Landy's book is more than a book. It's an illuminating exploration ofa new world of sound. He begins by defining 'sound-based music' as any typeof music that uses sounds (instead of notes) as its basic material. He thenlooks at sound-based music from two complementary perspectives: the intentof the composer and the receptivity of the listener. His lucid discussionsof composers' intent, largely centered in musique concr'te, are inthemselves well worth the purchase of the book. His discussions oflisteners' receptivity are provocative and fascinating. It's worth notingthat the book is linked in its concerns and structure to the EARS(ElectroAcoustic Resource Site) website that Landy supervises, and that thewebsite - - provides an ongoing and invaluable knowledgeresource for anyone interested in electronic music."
Joel Chadabe, Founder and President, Electronic Music Foundation

"Landy expertly charts the complex world of sound-based (as distinct fromnote-based) music in all its contemporary forms, visiting its majorcontinents as well as exotic islands en route. Supported by the EARSwebsite, he proposes a scholarly framework for understanding innovative workin this area, and provocatively calls for increased attention to listenerreception, the accessibility and dramaturgy of such works, and theirvalorization as organized sound art forms."
Barry Truax, School of Communication, and School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University

"The contribution of Leigh Landy to the understanding of recent developmentsin music technology is paramount. Landy's thoughts on electroacoustic musicaddress the essence of this musical genre. This book is a captivating readfor those of us who appreciate navigating the sea of new sounds."
Marc Battier, Professor of Musicology, University Paris-Sorbonne