Electronic music as music heritage
When the future becomes a valuable past
In the past, many institutions of electroacoustic music positioned electroacoustic music as being the ‘music of the future’; in the first two decades of the 21st century, however, a focus on electroacoustic music’s past has grown, in particular with the aim to preserve this past. If pastness could once make electroacoustic music obsolete, it can now be valuable for electroacoustic music. Therefore, this article investigates how the view of electroacoustic music as music heritage has influenced the present understanding of this kind of music at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm, Sweden. By analyzing the stages through which electroacoustic music at EMS has become heritage and by conducting and analysing qualitative interviews with composers/sound artists working at EMS, this article explores electroacoustic music as heritage. Furthermore, it investigates the possible effects this understanding of electroacoustic music has on artists’ practices and reflections. The main conclusion is that the institutional history of electroacoustic music influences how it is regarded as music heritage. Furthermore, understanding electroacoustic music as heritage allows various people involved at EMS to reflect on its past, and it becomes clear that this past can influence artistic choices. At the same time, these reflections contribute to creating a many-faceted history of electronic music rather than maintaining a history with a single grand narrative.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Mischa van Kan
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