Pierre Schaeffer

Pierre Schaeffer

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Pierre Schaeffer'
Start a new discussion about 'Pierre Schaeffer'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer was a French composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, writer, broadcaster
Presenter
A presenter, or host , is a person or organization responsible for running an event. A museum or university, for example, may be the presenter or host of an exhibit. Likewise, a master of ceremonies is a person that hosts or presents a show...

, engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

, musicologist and acoustician of the 20th century. His innovative work in both the sciences —particularly communications and acoustics
Acoustics
Acoustics is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics...

— and the various arts of music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 presentation after the end of World War II, as well as his anti-nuclear activism and cultural criticism garnered him widespread recognition in his lifetime.

Amongst the vast range of works and projects he undertook, Schaeffer is most widely and currently recognized for his accomplishments in electronic
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 and experimental music
Experimental music
Experimental music refers, in the English-language literature, to a compositional tradition which arose in the mid-20th century, applied particularly in North America to music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. Its most famous and influential exponent was John Cage...

, at the core of which stands his role as the chief developer of a unique and early form of avant-garde music
Avant-garde music
Avant-garde music is a term used to characterize music which is thought to be ahead of its time, i.e. containing innovative elements or fusing different genres....

 known as musique concrète
Musique concrète
Musique concrète is a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as "musical"...

. The genre emerged out of Europe from the utilization of new music technology
Music technology
Music technology is a term that refers to all forms of technology involved with the musical arts, particularly the use of electronic devices and computer software to facilitate playback, recording, composition, storage and performance. This subject is taught at many different educational levels,...

 developed in the post-Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 era, following the advance of electroacoustic and acousmatic music.

Schaeffer's writings (which include written and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

-narrated essays, biographies, short novels, a number of musical treatises and several plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

) are often oriented towards his development of the genre, as well as the theoretics
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

 and philosophy of music
Philosophy of music
Philosophy of music is the study of fundamental questions regarding music. The philosophical study of music has many connections with philosophical questions in metaphysics and aesthetics.Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are:...

 in general.

Today, Schaeffer is considered one of the most influential experimental, electroacoustic and subsequently electronic musician
Electronic musician
An electronic musician is a musician who composes or plays music from synthetic sounds generated with synthesizers, samplers, drum machines or music sequencers....

s, having been the first composer to utilize a number of contemporary recording
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording...

 and sampling
Sampling (music)
In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrète and electroacoustic music, who physically...

 techniques that are now used worldwide by nearly all record production companies. His collaborative endeavors are considered milestones in the histories of electronic and experimental music.

Early life and education


Schaeffer was born in Nancy, in 1910. His parents were both musicians (his father a violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist; his mother, a singer), and at first it seemed that Pierre would also take on music as a career. However his parents discouraged his musical pursuits from childhood and had him educated in engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. He studied at several universities in this inclination, the first of which was Lycée Saint-Sigisbert located in his hometown of Nancy. Afterwards he moved westwards in 1929 to the École Polytechnique
École Polytechnique
The École Polytechnique is a state-run institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, Essonne, France, near Paris. Polytechnique is renowned for its four year undergraduate/graduate Master's program...

 in Paris and finally completed his education in the capital at the École supérieure d'électricité, in 1934.

Schaeffer completed his education with a diploma in radio broadcasting from the École Polytechnique. He may have also received a similar qualification from the École nationale supérieure des télécommunications
École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications
Télécom ParisTech is one of the most prestigious and selective grandes écoles in France and one of the finest institutions in the field of Telecommunications...

, although it is not verifiable as to whether he ever actually attended this university.

First experimentations and work in broadcasting and engineering; marriage and fatherhood


Later in 1934 Schaeffer entered his first employment as an engineer, briefly working in telecommunications in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

. In 1935 he began a relationship with a woman named Elisabeth Schmitt, and later in the year married her and with her had his first child, Marie-Claire Schaeffer. He and his new family then officially relocated to Paris where he joined the Radiodiffusion Française (now called Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française was the French national public broadcasting organization established on 9 February 1949 to replace the post-war "Radiodiffusion Française" , which had been founded in 1945...

; French for French Radio and Television Broadcasting) in 1936 and began his work in radio broadcasting and presentation. It was there that he began to move away from his initial interests in telecommunications and to pursue music instead, combining his abilities as an engineer with his passion for sound. In his work at the station, Schaeffer experimented with records and an assortment of other devices—the sounds they made and the applications of those sounds—after convincing the radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

's management to allow him to use their equipment. This period of experimentation was significant for Schaeffer's development, bringing forwards many fundamental questions on the limits of modern musical expression
Musical expression
Musical expression is the art of playing music with communication. The elements of music that comprise expression include dynamic indications, forte or piano, phrasing, differing qualities of touch and articulation, color, intensity, energy and excitement all at the service of the composer's...

.

In these experiments, Pierre tried playing sounds backwards, slowing them down, speeding them up and juxtaposing them with other sounds, all techniques which were virtually unknown at that time. He had begun working with new contemporaries whom he had met through RTF, and as such his experimentation deepened. Schaeffer's work gradually became more avante-garde, as he challenged traditional music style with the use of various devices and practices. A unique variety of electronic instruments—ones which Schaeffer and his colleagues created, using their own engineering skills—came into play in his work, like the chromatic, sliding and universal phonogenes, Francois Bayle
François Bayle
François Bayle is a composer of Musique concrète or acousmatic music.In the 1950s he studied with Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1960 he joined the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française, and in 1966 was put in charge of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales...

's Acousmonium
Acousmonium
The Acousmonium is the sound diffusion system designed in 1974 by Francois Bayle and used originally by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales at the Maison de Radio France. It consists of 80 loudspeakers of differing size and shape, and was designed for tape playback...

 and a host of other devices such as gramaphones and some of the earliest tape recorders.

Beginnings of writing career


In 1938 Schaeffer began his career as a writer, penning various articles and essays for the Revue Musicale, a French journal of music. His first column, Basic Truths, provided a critical examination of musical aspects of the time.

A known ardent Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

, Schaeffer began to write minor religiously-based pieces, and in the same year as his Basic Truths published his first novel: Chlothar Nicole — a short Christian novel
Christian novel
A Christian novel is any novel that expounds and illustrates a Christian world view in its plot, its characters, or both, or which deals with Christian themes in a positive way.-The tradition of Christian fiction:...

.

Club d'essai & the origin of musique concrète


By that time in his life, Schaeffer had co-founded La Jeune France
La Jeune France
La jeune France was the name of two related French societies in the 1930s and 1940s.- Musical organization :Jeune France was founded in 1936 by André Jolivet along with composers Olivier Messiaen, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, Pierre Schaeffer and Yves Baudrier, who were attempting to re-establish a...

, which had interests in theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 and the visual arts, as well as in music and certain aspects of mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

. In 1942, he created the Studio d'Essai
Studio d'Essai
The Studio d'Essai, later Club d'Essai, was founded in 1942 by Pierre Schaeffer, played a role in the activities of the French resistance during World War II, and later became a center of musical activity....

(later known as the Club d'Essai), which played a role in the activities of the French resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and later became a center of musical activity. It was from d'Essai that he successfully recorded his first work, which itself appeared on Dix ans d'essais radiophoniques du Studio au Club d'Essai: 1942–1952, a compilation of his personal concrète, along with many other artists' experimental pieces, released later in his life – 1953. The compilation has since become valued as a notable publication of the experimental music
Experimental music
Experimental music refers, in the English-language literature, to a compositional tradition which arose in the mid-20th century, applied particularly in North America to music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. Its most famous and influential exponent was John Cage...

 genre.

With the rise of nuclear power after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Pierre became a notable activist in the anti-nuclear movement, one of the main factors associated with his personal life, other than his work in the field of music.

Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète


In 1949, Schaeffer met the percussionist-composer Pierre Henry
Pierre Henry
Pierre Henry is a French composer, considered a pioneer of the musique concrète genre of electronic music.-Biography:...

, with whom he collaborated with on many different musical compositions, and in 1951, he founded the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète (GRMC) in the French Radio Institution. This gave him a new studio, which included a tape recorder
Tape recorder
An audio tape recorder, tape deck, reel-to-reel tape deck, cassette deck or tape machine is an audio storage device that records and plays back sounds, including articulated voices, usually using magnetic tape, either wound on a reel or in a cassette, for storage...

. This was a significant development for Schaeffer, who previously had to work with phonographs and turntables
Turntablism
Turntablism is the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer.The word 'turntablist' was coined in 1995 by DJ Babu to describe the difference between a DJ who just plays records, and one who performs by touching and moving the records, stylus and mixer...

 to produce music. Schaeffer is generally acknowledged as being the first composer to make music using magnetic tape
Magnetic tape
Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic. It was developed in Germany, based on magnetic wire recording. Devices that record and play back audio and video using magnetic tape are tape recorders and video tape recorders...

. His continued experimentation led him to publish À la Recherche d'une Musique Concrète
À la recherche d'une musique concréte
In Search of a Concrete Music , written and published in 1952, is a French language publication which forms a major part of the experimental composer and theoretician Pierre Schaeffer's collection of works written to record his own undertakings on the development of musique concrète.The collection...

(French for "In Search of a Concrete Music") in 1952, which was a summation of his working methods up to that point. His only opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, Orphée 53 (Orpheus 53), premiered in 1953.

Schaeffer left the GRMC in 1953 and reformed the group in 1958 as the Groupe de Recherche Musicale[s] (GRM) (at first without "s", then with "s"), where he briefly mentored the young Jean Michel Jarre
Jean Michel Jarre
Jean Michel André Jarre is a French composer, performer and music producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient and New Age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and...

, among other students. His last "etude" (study) came in 1959: the "Study of Objects" (Etudes aux Objets).

In 1954 Schaeffer founded traditional music label Ocora
Ocora
Ocora is a French record label specializing in authentic recordings of world music. It was founded in 1957 by composer, pianist and musicologist Charles Duvelle, alongside musician Pierre Schaeffer. Ocora is part of Radio France....

 ("Office de Coopération Radiophonique") alongside composer, pianist and musicologist Charles Duvelle, with a worldwide coverage in order to preserve African rural soundscapes. Ocora also served as a facility to train technicians in African national broadcasting services. Today, it is still run by Duvelle.

In 1988, Schaeffer appeared in a New York Times article on the 1988 Spitak earthquake. Schaeffer had led a 498-member rescue team in Leninakan to help find survivors in the aftermath of the quake.

Later life & death


Schaeffer became an associate professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1968 to 1980 after creating a "class of fundamental music and application to the audiovisual." He suffered from Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 later in his life, and died from the condition in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence
Aix , or Aix-en-Provence to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, is a city-commune in southern France, some north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, of which it is a subprefecture. The population of Aix is...

 in 1995. He was 85 years old.

Schaeffer was thereafter remembered by many of his colleagues with the title, "Musician of Sounds".

Musique concrète




The term musique concrète (French for "real music", literally "concrete music"), which was coined by Schaeffer in 1948, can be misunderstood as simply referring to music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 made from "real-world" audibles or other naturally occurring sounds
Natural sounds
Natural sounds include animal sounds, from the chirruping of crickets to the vocalisations of mammals. They also include the sounds of other natural phenomena, such as water sounds; for example, the sound of rain falling on the ground or on water, the sound of a waterfall, a rushing river, waves...

 that do not include an instrumental/human interface. While this aspect of musique concrète is a major factor according to how Schaeffer had developed it, it should predominantly be seen as a term describing more than simply the recording and manipulation of everyday noises. In a broader sense, the phrase embodies new sensibilities of musical expression and entails a reconceptualized framework for the long-established "organized" sound of the world, one that does not rely on familiar descriptors of rhythm and timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

, or tone and tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

. Schaeffer believed traditionally classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 (or as he called it, "serious") music begins as an abstraction (musical notation) that is later produced as audible music. Musique concrète, by contrast, strives to start with the "concrete" sounds that emanate from base phenomena and then abstracts them into a composition. The term musique concrète is then, in essence, the breaking down of the structured production of traditional instruments, harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

, and even music theory
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

 itself, in an attempt to reconstruct music from the bottom up.

From the contemporary point of view, the importance of Schaeffer's musique concrète is threefold. He developed the concept of including any and all sounds into the vocabulary of music. At first he concentrated on working with sounds other than those produced by traditional musical instruments. Later on, he found it was possible to remove the familiarity of musical instrument sounds and abstract them further by techniques such as removing the attack of the recorded sound. He was among the first musicians to manipulate recorded sound for the purpose of using it in conjunction with other sounds in order to compose a musical piece. Techniques such as tape looping and tape splicing were used in his research, often comparing to sound collage
Sound collage
In music, montage or sound collage is a technique where sound objects or compositions, including songs, are created from collage, also known as montage, the use of portions of previous recordings or scores...

. The advent of Schaeffer's manipulation of recorded sound became possible only with technologies that were developed after World War II had ended in Europe. His work is recognized today as an essential precursor to contemporary sampling practices. Schaeffer was among the first to use recording technology in a creative and specifically musical way, harnessing the power of electronic
Electronic musical instrument
An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces its sounds using electronics. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an electrical audio signal that ultimately drives a loudspeaker....

 and experimental instruments in a manner similar to Luigi Russolo
Luigi Russolo
Luigi Russolo was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifesto The Art of Noises . He is often regarded as one of the first noise music experimental composers with his performances of "noise concerts" in 1913-14 and then again after World War I, notably in Paris in 1921...

, whom he admired and from whose work he drew inspiration.

Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of "playing" (in his terms, jeu) in the creation of music. Schaeffer's idea of jeu comes from the French verb jouer, which carries the same double meaning as the English verb play
Play (activity)
Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment...

: 'to enjoy oneself by interacting with one's surroundings', as well as 'to operate a musical instrument'. This notion is at the core of the concept of musique concrète, and reflects on freely improvised sound
Free improvisation
Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right....

, or perhaps more specifically electroacoustic improvisation
Electroacoustic improvisation
Electroacoustic improvisation is a style of music that incorporates aspects of both electroacoustic music and free improvisation.-Origins:Live electronics has been part of the sound art world since the 1930s with the early works of John Cage...

, from the standpoint of Schaeffer's work and research.

Influences on music



Pierre's aforementioned student in GRM, Jean Michel Jarre
Jean Michel Jarre
Jean Michel André Jarre is a French composer, performer and music producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient and New Age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and...

, went on to great international success in his own musical career. Jarre's 1997 album, Oxygene 7-13
Oxygene 7-13
Oxygène 7–13 is a 1997 album of instrumental electronic music by Jean Michel Jarre, his ninth overall studio album. It is the sequel to his 1976 album Oxygène, and is dedicated to Jarre's former mentor, experimental musician Pierre Schaeffer...

, is dedicated to Schaeffer. Pierre Henry
Pierre Henry
Pierre Henry is a French composer, considered a pioneer of the musique concrète genre of electronic music.-Biography:...

 also made a tribute to the man, composing his Écho d'Orphée, Pour P. Schaeffer alongside him for Schaeffer's last work and second compilation, L’Œuvre Musicale. His other notable pupils include Joanna Bruzdowicz
Joanna Bruzdowicz
Joanna Bruzdowicz is a Polish composer.-Life:Bruzdowicz studied at the Warsaw Music High School, at the State Higher School of Music ; she earned her M.A. in 1966...

, Bernard Parmegiani
Bernard Parmegiani
Bernard Parmegiani is a composer best known for his electronic or acousmatic music.-Biography:Between 1957 and 1961 he studied mime with Jacques Lecoq, a period he later regarded as important to his work as a composer...

, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux
Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux
Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux was a Canadian composer and music educator who played an important role in the contemporary classical music scene of Canada and France from the late 1960s through the mid 1980s...

, Armando Santiago
Armando Santiago
Armando Santiago is a Canadian composer, conductor, music educator, and university administrator of Portuguese birth. A member of the Canadian League of Composers, his compositional output includes a considerable amount of orchestral works and chamber works...

, Elzbieta Sikora.

Research legacy



The writers Martial Robert and Carlos Palombini have mentioned Schaeffer frequently in their works, and have penned a number of books on or referring to his life and legacy. Schaeffer being a writer himself, he coauthored several works with a number of his colleagues, such as Sophie Brunet, Marc Pierret and Michel Chion
Michel Chion
Michel Chion born in 1947 in Creil, France, is a composer of experimental music. He teaches at several institutions within France and currently holds the post of Associate Professor at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle where he is a theoretician and teacher of audio-visual...

, among others. Today Schaeffer's work is still being published.
Many of Schaeffer's works have become rarities. As recently as 2006 a coauthored work of his, Sur les traces de Pierre Schaeffer, was published post-mortem.

Other


Today, in his honor, the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards
Qwartz Electronic Music Awards
Qwartz Electronic Music Awards is a promotional and supportive program dedicated to new and electronic music. It recognizes and awards grants to independent labels and artists. It brings together the different waves of new and electronic music, from the most demanding to the most festive, from ...

 has named several of its past events after Schaeffer. Pierre himself was a prize winner at the awards more than once.

Music


All of Schaeffer's musical compositions (concrète or otherwise) were recorded before the advent of the CD, either on cassettes or a more archaic form of magnetic tape
Magnetic tape
Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic. It was developed in Germany, based on magnetic wire recording. Devices that record and play back audio and video using magnetic tape are tape recorders and video tape recorders...

 (therefore the term "discography
Discography
Discography is the study and listing of the details concerning sound recordings, often by specified artists or within identified musical genres...

" cannot be appropriately used here; rather his music in general). Mass-production for his work was limited at best, and each piece was, by Schaeffer's terms, intended to be released foremost as an exposé to the masses of what he believed was a new and somewhat revolutionizing form of music. The original production of his marketed work was done by the "Groupe de Recherches Musicales" (a.k.a. GRM; now owned and operated by INA or the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel
Institut national de l'audiovisuel
The Institut national de l'audiovisuel , is a repository of all French radio and television audiovisual archives. Additionally it provides customers with a free and immediate access to archives of countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia...

), the company which he initially had formed around his creations. Other music was broadcast live (Pierre himself being notable on French radio at the time) and/or done in live "concert". Some individual tracks even found their way into the use of other artists, with Pierre's work being fronted in mime performances and ballets. Now after his death, various musical production companies, such as Disques Adès and Phonurgia Nova have been given rights to distribute his work.

Below is a list of Schaeffer's musical works, showing his compositions and the year(s) they were recorded.
  • Concertino-Diapason (1948; collaboration with J.J. Grünewald)
  • Cinq études de bruits
    Cinq études de bruits
    Cinq études de bruits is a collection of musical compositions by Pierre Schaeffer. The five études were composed in 1948 and are the earliest pieces of musique concrète, a form of electroacoustic music that utilises recorded sounds as a compositional resource.The five études were composed at the...

    (1948)
  • Suite pour 14 instruments (1949)
  • Variations sur une flûte mexicaine (1949)
  • Bidule en ut (1950; collaboration with Pierre Henry
    Pierre Henry
    Pierre Henry is a French composer, considered a pioneer of the musique concrète genre of electronic music.-Biography:...

    )
  • La course au kilocycle (1950; radio score, collaboration with Pierre Henry)
  • L'oiseau r.a.i. (1950)
  • Symphonie pour un homme seul
    Symphonie pour un homme seul
    Symphonie pour un homme seul is a musical composition by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, composed in 1949–1950. It is an important early example of musique concrète....

    (1950; collaboration with Pierre Henry; revised versions in 1953, 1955, and 1966 (Henry))
  • Toute la lyre (1951; pantomime, collaboration with Pierre Henry. Also known as Orphée 51)
  • Masquerage (1952; film score)
  • Les paroles dégelées (1952; music for a radio production)
  • Scènes de Don Juan (1952; incidental music, collaboration with Monique Rollin)
  • Orphée 53 (1953; opera)
  • Sahara d'aujourd'hui (1957; film score, collaboration with Pierre Henry)
  • Continuo (1958; collaboration with Luc Ferrari
    Luc Ferrari
    Luc Ferrari was of an Italian heritage but French born composer, particularly noted for his tape music.-Biography:...

    )
  • Etude aux sons animés (1958)
  • Etude aux allures (1958)
  • Exposition française à Londres (1958; collaboration with Luc Ferrari)
  • Etude aux objets (1959)
  • Nocturne aux chemins de fer (1959; incidental music)
  • Phèdre (1959; incidental music)
  • Simultané camerounais (1959)
  • Phèdre (1961)
  • L'aura d'Olga (1962; music for a radio production, collaboration with Claude Arrieu)
  • Le trièdre fertile (1975; collaboration with Bernard Durr)
  • Bilude (1979)

Broadcasted narratives


Apart from his published and publicized music, Schaeffer conducted several musical (and specifically musique concrète-related) presentations via French radio. Although these broadcasts contained musical pieces by Schaeffer they cannot be adequately described as part of his main line of musical output. This is because the radio "essays", as they were appropriately named, were mainly narration on Schaeffer's musical theories philosophies rather than compositions in and of themselves.

Schaeffer's radio narratives include the following:
  • The Shell Filled With Planets (1944)
  • Cantata to Alsace (1945)
  • An Hour of the World (1947)
  • From Claudel to Brangues (1953)
  • Ten Years of Radio Essays by the Studio at Club Essay: 1942-1952 (1955)

Selected bibliography


Schaeffer's literary works span a range of genres, both in terms of fiction and non-fiction. He predominantly wrote treatises and essays, but also penned a film review and two plays. An ardent Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

, Schaeffer wrote Chlothar Nicole (French: Clotaire Nicole; published 1938)—a Christian novel
Christian novel
A Christian novel is any novel that expounds and illustrates a Christian world view in its plot, its characters, or both, or which deals with Christian themes in a positive way.-The tradition of Christian fiction:...

 or short story—and Tobias (French: Tobie; published 1939) a religiously-based play.
Novels and short stories
  • Chlothar Nicole (1938)
  • The Guardian of The Volcano (1969)
  • Prelude, Chorale and Fugue (1981)

Non-fiction

  • America, We Ignore You (1946)
  • The Non-Visual Element of Films (1946)
  • In Search of a Concrete Music (1952)
  • Music and Acoustics (1967)

Further reading


External links



  • PierreSchaeffer.com — Official website
  • Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales at the Institut national de l'audiovisuel
    Institut national de l'audiovisuel
    The Institut national de l'audiovisuel , is a repository of all French radio and television audiovisual archives. Additionally it provides customers with a free and immediate access to archives of countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia...

     
  • Club d'Essai — Unofficial website of Club d'Essai
  • Les Machines à Communiquer — Unofficial website by French historian Elizabeth Antebiel
  • Pierre Schaeffer at the online alumni community of the École Polytechnique
    École Polytechnique
    The École Polytechnique is a state-run institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, Essonne, France, near Paris. Polytechnique is renowned for its four year undergraduate/graduate Master's program...

     
  • Pierre Schaeffer at the Electronic Music Foundation
    Electronic Music Foundation
    Electronic Music Foundation is a not-for-profit 501 organization that produces events, publishes and disseminates media and information, and provides access to materials relevant to the history and creative potential of electronic music....

  • Pierre Schaeffer at Last.fm
    Last.fm
    Last.fm is a music website, founded in the United Kingdom in 2002. It has claimed 30 million active users in March 2009. On 30 May 2007, CBS Interactive acquired Last.fm for UK£140m ....

  • Pierre Schaeffer at BBC Music
    BBC Music
    BBC Music is a team working in the department of Audio and Music Interactive at the BBC. Responsible for the BBC Music website - the portal site to music content across the BBC website....

  • Pierre Schaeffer at Discogs
    Discogs
    Discogs, short for discographies, is a website and database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are...

  • Pierre Schaeffer at Artistdirect
    ARTISTdirect
    Founded in 1994, Artistdirect, Inc. is an online digital media entertainment company. It owns several websites including Artistdirect.com, UBL.com and the Artistdirect Network...