Electroacoustic Composition Process as Com-position


This article introduces a framework for a socio-sonic composition model, informed by feminist, non-anthropocentric and new-materialist strands of thought. The model is interested in cultivating a practice that is informed by social connections, sympoietic relations, non-essentialist processes, and embodied practices for listening, performance, and interpretation that feeds into composition. The aim of the model is to empty-out prescriptive ways to think and respond; invite uncertainty, tension, and fragility into the practice of composition that paves way for heightened forms of relational listening-responding. 

Keywords: Composition; Response-ability; Intra-action; Polite practice; Sympoiesis; Séquence-jeu; Situated knowing; Improvisation. 

1. Introduction

The article proposes a poietic posture for an electroacoustic composition process. This posture diverges from the poietics pertaining to the historical convention of the 18th-19th century Eurogenetic[1] practices: the cult of centralised, essentialist, solitary, and disembodied composer practices that make up most of our written discourses around musico-poietics.[2] The article re-imagines and traces a possible path for a composition practice model based in social, non-essentialist, multicentred, and embodied processes. In doing so, it looks for some fruitful ways to make these processes traceable, adoptable, and adaptable by others, and to pave way for further dialogues and negotiations.

The playful and somewhat-provocative title of this article: ‘Electroacoustic Composition Process, as Com-position’, gestures towards the relationality of the poietic process. The word composition comes from the Latin componere. The prefix com- is an archaic version of con- in Latin, which means: together, with, and in-combination. The suffix -poneremeans to position, and to place. Composition then, means to put together, to collect, and make a whole from several different parts. I use the hyphen in the word to foreground relationality within the composition process and to symbolise multivalence within the network of connections between several agents and between various acts. 

The relationality proposed in the model draws on connections between various strands of feminist, post-anthropocentric, new materialist approaches together with poietic sound practices. The model works with the following terms and concepts proposed by Karen Barad (theoretical physicist and feminist theorist) and Donna Haraway (biologist, scientist, philosopher, and feminist scholar): response-ability, intra-activity, polite inquiry, and situated knowing. Along with these, the model works with embodied practices and with new materialist views on material agency in exploring instrument-human relations.

The model is devised to afford overthrowing conventional-habitual human experience by abandoning fixed and stable paths and introducing experimental processes. The aim in doing this is to empty-out prescriptive ways to think and respond; to invite uncertainty, tension, fragility through non-linear processes, paving way for heightened forms of listening-responding. The goal is to cross a line, and to make the crossing a workable and implementable path for others. I will start by introducing key terms for the com-position model, and then tie them to a composition posture and process through an exemplary framework. 

Let us begin with Barad’s neologism intra-action. In the more common term interaction, entities exist before they encounter one another; they maintain a level of independence. In Barad’s intra-action, these entities emerge within their relationship, not outside of it. This puts forth the understanding that becoming starts from within relational movements and acts. Here relation and action are entangled factors determining that agencies are not fixed and separable ontologically. This perspective affords getting rid of a static and essentialized understanding of self/other as well as active/passive roles. Such a stance presupposes that entities come into existence through their ability to act, underlining action, movement, and performance. Within this article, I understand this ability to act through response-ability introduced by Haraway (1992, 1997, 2008, 2016) and Barad (2003, 2007, 2010, 2014). Response-ability is the opportunity, ability, capacity, and responsibility of oneself to respond to and with others; it entails knowing that one’s actions have consequences, and to hold oneself accountable of them. 

Feminist epistemology conceives knowers as situated. What is known, and how it comes to be known reflects the situation and perspective of the knower. Therefore, knowing is always tied to bodies, geographies, cultures, economies, and historically specific perspectives. The production of knowledge in both Barad and Haraway’s work is situated and relational. How we come to know about someone/something, shapes our posture for listening-acting in response. For an epistemic stance, the com-position model visits and implements Donna Haraway’s polite inquiry (Haraway, 2016). The politeness Haraway talks about is not about manners but rather an epistemological posture for engaging with others. A polite practice rejects perspectives of objectification, where the listener, gazer, doer projects and imposes one’s own desires and fantasies onto the listened and gazed, which assigns hierarchical relations, and more importantly static active/passive roles and boundaries to agents. 

It could be said that polite inquiry is about becoming a facilitator for things to come up from within relations: it is about bringing forward—to let be, to offer, and to enable, rather than to tame, control, and manipulate—and cultivating an attentive, caring, and response-able listening-responding practice. In polite engagements, the self[3] is always aware of two sides of the relation: if the self is in relation with the other, the other is in relation with the self. 

Holding a dissonance with the primal reflex to domesticate and control the unfamiliar into the point of familiarisation, a polite practice entails inviting levels of unknown into the relational process and avoids jumping into simplistic definitions. Maintaining the unknown, uncertainty, non-standard, unrepresentative, and the multiple, through forms of fragility, tension, and dissonance, invites these factors to be driving forces in relations. This in return, affords one to explore intra-active, response-able, and polite sonic engagements within the com-position practice. 

Exploring how a composition practice might be realised through postures proposed by the concepts introduced, let us move into a possible path for implementation.[4] In the next section, I introduce a com-position model that I began developing two years ago through my individual practice; it is still evolving as a part of my ongoing research.[5]

2. A Posture for Com-position

The practice suggested by the com-position model relies on socially, bodily, and sonically entangled explorations for listening, analysing, performance and evaluation. By introducing some unconventional, generative, and experimental strategies, the model aims to open a plane for the composer to move beyond habitual ways to think and respond. Such posture affords experimenting and investigating possibilities for polite inquires, intra-active and response-able sonic acts.

Within the confines of this article, I focus on two main categories of relations: 1) relations and engagement processes with others; and 2) relations between different modalities of production realized in three stages of the composition process. These stages are aural analysis, performance, and evaluation. I will begin by introducing the ‘other’ within the context of this article, and then move on to the relational processes through the stages of the model.

2.1. Relational Postures with ‘Others’

In this article, the ‘other’ is narrowed down to more-than-human agents and specifically to: 1) agents within fixed sound recordings, which I refer to as acousmatic agents within this article—these agents could include a wide variety of living and non-living entities, ranging from biophonic and geophonic sonic presences; and, 2) physical material agents: object-bodies that could range from conventional musical instruments to non-conventional ones. 

In the historiography of our common record, the bulk of discourses built around sound recordings[6] and material agents, describe them as passive, inert, and static things to be controlled and manipulated by humans. The language built upon these descriptions, using metaphors, symbols and images have been questioned by many scholars in the domain since the 1990s (McClary, 1991; Citron, 1993; McCartney, 2002, 2006; Massey, 2019; Rodgers, 2010, 2013; Bosma, 2012, to name a few). The perspectives and postures we use in passing information through language has a crucial role in informing our music-making practices. 

Rather than placing the composer’s agency to the centre of the composition process, the com-position model aims to create and work through a multi-centred agential system. In this process the acousmatic and material agents are not treated as the ‘objects’ of the study, but as agential forces and collaborators that actively generate information. The shared socio-sonic space then, is about co-creating and sustaining a habitat where the ‘power’ of agents constantly fluctuates between the individual and the multiple; the shared and the singular, but one that is always in flux. By privileging such posture, the whole model revolves around tracing resonances of listening and responding with agents within entangled relations. There is a sea of possible ways to think and make through such posture with these agents; this article introduces a single possibility with the com-position model. With the next section, I will unpack the stages of the com-position practice. 

3. Stages for the Com-position Practice

The stages of the practice model entail: 1) aural analysis response; 2) performance response based on moving and touching body; and finally, 3) re-evaluation response, which reads different results from within one another, further generating responses and composing. The goal of switching modalities between aural, motion-based, tactile responses, and language, is to allow exploring sonic relations through different modalities. Each modality ‘thinks’ differently, therefore, switching modalities create alternating perspectives. With the ruptures and connections produced between each modality, the self moves through multiple perspectives that are held together by entangled consequences. This is used as a tool for practicing redistributing and disorienting one’s own centre of agency, and to be in constant creative response and heightened listening with the one’s own self and others. 

The starting point of engagement within the model is with recorded sounds.[7] Recorded sounds have acousmatic agents within them. However, recordings situate, they cut, fragment, reterritorialize, and express partial information about the agent that is tied to time, space, body, and situation. Immediately, we are faced with the question: how may the self interact with acousmatic agents residing within fixed sound recordings? As the agents in the recording cannot respond back, what could be some possibilities for intra-active, response-able and polite sympoietic relations? Under the light of the question, the model begins with a contemplative response and a strategy that explores the process of engagement through acceptance and ability to relate to a world ‘without’ or ‘before’ me (the self). Starting from this posture, the model further asks: how does the self join-in as a polite inquirer and trace the effects of this joining-in, on oneself, the other, and the relation? I will begin unpacking the framework for the engagement process through the initial encounter: aural analysis response.

3.1  Aural Analysis Response 

When it comes to analysis, there is always an exhaustive list of things that could be analysed. Analysis by nature, uncovers some aspects of sound organisation and not others. Every analysis, interpretation, and translation are partial and situated; they trace the intentions of the analyst. Therefore, we start with the premise that there will never be an ‘innocent’ point of entry into listening, responding, and making with the other. 

The analysis response in the com-position model works with aural analysis (sound as heard). Working through aurality, the model aims to carry concerns of agential and embodied practice within the act of listening rather than uncovering disembodied scientific objectivities. In the com-position model listening is understood as a performative response act; and the goal is to carry this into the composition process. Recognising aural analysis as a situated knowing practice, the com-position model aims to work through a polite inquiry by asking: What does my listening reveal in this specific time, and situation? What happens the analysis response when I approach it as an act of giving and offering rather than to pin down, define and extract? How may I render the other and myself capable in responding through listening? What are the effects of what I listen on my analytical and bodily production? How can I listen both in a situated, and open way?

Through these questions, the analysis aims to generate multiple possibilities and inventive connections for what is, and what else could be. The goal here, is to develop awareness of 1) one’s own listening: tracing statements of one’s aurality in attending to the other, and 2) tracing effects of this listening on oneself, the other, and the relation. 

Following feminist perspectives, the performativity of agency lies at the heart of this model. Working with performative agents, the com-position model utilizes tools that focus listening to movement, gestures and tracing energy trajectories and motion to help guide the relational experience. When it comes to detecting agential presence in the aural domain, the most agency inducing parameter of sound is gesture; therefore, working with motion-based tools offer listening into agency that is highly linked with performativity.

Working with performativity of agency, the model utilises Temporal Semiotic Units (TSUs).[8] Each of the nineteen units express three features: 1) basic information about unit; 2) morphological descriptions; and 3) semantic meanings. The TSUs render-possible evoking narratives without imposing and asserting a particularly specific narrative, which allows working within polite postures for listening-interpreting. Furthermore, the units provide a fruitful plane for an embodied reading that focuses on bodily presences through movements, events, and behaviours. Movement and gesture in any case (physical or imaginary) require bodies, and a space in which movement happens. By directing intentionality to movement, the TSUs afford listening with a sense of shared action, opening a potential plane for embodied listening through entrainment. 

Together with the TSUs, the model works with sound-based[9] and spectromorphological[10]  frameworks that allow connecting with a wide range of sound types, sources, and contexts. A sound-based approach provides equal ground to various sound types that are more-than solely pitch-based structures. The model uses spectromorphological descriptions that afford describing sound-based sounds, allowing one to trace one’s own listening, memory, and attention. These frameworks guide the selective attention of listening, through sound-based, and movement-based engagement, and provide a general level of coherency within the engagement process. 

All these tools (sound-based, spectromorphological approach, and TSUs) diffuse monolithic ways of listening/responding and afford listening and performing with a polite posture. Moving away from scriptural and prescribed listening the tools are based on tracing one’s own interpretation and imagination in generative processes. With this stage a cartographic study begins; the aural analysis produces multiple sketches, transcription scores, graphics, and texts.

The next stage continues with generating responses with a shift in modality: from aural analysis to tactile- and movement-based response. The goal of shifting modalities is to activate relational responses that think, know and express differently, thus having potential for generating a new set of responses with answers, and questions.

3.2  Tactile- and Movement-based Response 

In this stage, the experience and thinking processes of sensory and movement-based explorations of body are invited into the composition process. The body thinks beyond language and performs pre-articulated thought through motion and touch. And so, the aim is to explore relational possibilities through the performative force of the body, and to imbue the process with sensual, and movement-based forms of listening, performing, and composing. 

The tactile- and movement-based stage is informed and situated by a set of accumulated experiences gleaned by the act of making the aural analysis. However, it is not obedient to the information created from aural analysis. Rather than trying to capture and transfer the information produced from the previous stage, tactile- and movement-based response aims to work itself out through itself. This way, it has the freedom to listen, think, explore, and express freely within its own mode of functioning. As a result, there is no smooth and linear transition from one modality into the other, a cut is a sine qua non. By making imperfect translations, the process produces connectible ends for new rhizomatic connections that have potential in informing both the previous stage as well as the future stage, functioning in a non-linear, and non-sequential way.

With the performance stage, the material agents (instruments) are introduced into the relational process. This means that in this stage the self interacts with both 1) acousmatic agents; and 2) material agents. Working with material agents, the com-position model invites new materialist thinking into the process, recognising agency in object-bodies that open possibilities for collaborating with them. Before going into the ‘how’ of the tactile- and movement-based response, let us look into how the model understands relations between human-instrument.

3.2.1      Collaborating with Material Agents: A New Materialist Perspective 

In this stage we begin with the questions: what could happen to the poietic process if we were to consider material things/instruments as lively agents? In addition, what were to change if we understood the poietic divide of object/subject, passive/active, inanimate/animate between the performer/instrument and composer/sound as failures of imagination? Here, the model takes a new materialist approach as a tool for refiguring some conventional views about instrument-human relations, and how this posture might feed the composition process. 

Simply, material agency proposes that there is an agentiality inherent within materials. There are various approaches when it comes to new materialist practices. The model proposed here follows feminist strands of thought especially focusing on Karen Barad’s (2007) approach interested in intra-active thinking of material agency. Barad’s approach brings relationality and performativity of agency to the heart of the engagement, and stresses that agency is an action: it is empirical, it is bodily production, and it is enacted through relations.

Recognising material agents as participatory things that cause changes in our action and engagement with them, allows a fresh look into questioning of how objects effect and shape one’s ideas and movements. Working through speculative thought, and overthrowing habitual human experience, such perspective allows stepping away from the conventional notion of ‘mastering the instrument’ and into collaborating with it. Today, although new materialist understanding of objects/instruments are still in its infancy within field of music, it is becoming an emerging field that offers a rich plane for relational onto-epistemologies in sound-engagements (see McLaughlin, 2014, 2022; Pickering, 1995, 2010; Ingold, 2008b; Davis, 2019).

As a possible process, the com-position model presented here proposes working with indeterminate characteristics of instruments. The chance-based, unstable, and unpredictable sounds and behaviours of instruments produce resistances to one’s intentions. The self then, rather than controlling the instrument to give the responses that one envisions or anticipates, learns to participate with an instrument that has the capacity to resist intentions of the self; which throws-off the centralized role of the self. In such engagement, there is a form of surrender to the aspects of the unknown. However, the form of surrender is not inaction, or inexpression; on the contrary, it is a responsive and active form of letting go, to be with the other. 

Working with a contingent instrument, is about flexibility and openness to move through a threshold of balance between stability/instability, predictability/unpredictability. The unstable elements are attractors, and the system is set up to move with unpredictable elements. The tension that arises from such practice, constantly challenges the self to stay in constant generative and creative response with the instrument, which opens a heightened field of attention to listening to sounds, senses and movements of bodies-in-relation. Co-creation with contingent materiality opens a field for cultivating ways to stay in response-able co-creation by sustaining the relation with material agents, politely, lively, and playfully. 

The tactile- and movement-based response takes place through instrument/human collaboration as they respond ‘with’, ‘in’ and ‘by’ acousmatic agents in sound recordings. Let us continue with the practice framework for the tactile- and movement-based response.

3.2.2      Practice Framework for Tactile- and Movement-based Response 

In the tactile- and movement-based response with material agents, the model adopts and adapts a practice introduced by Guy Reibel called séquence-jeu (play-sequence). Reibel devised play-sequence in his electroacoustic composition classes at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMD) in 1975. In play-sequence the performer explores various sound types and gestures with an object-body and a microphone.[11] The sonic possibilities are explored through the capacities and affordances of the object, microphone, and the performer. With play-sequence, Reibel’s goal was to introduce intentionality that links gestural and bodily listening within the process of electroacoustic composition. The com-position model shares this interest of Reibel and utilises play-sequence to somewhat pump-life into the process of electroacoustic composition with kinetic energy through moving/touching bodies.

Carrying a new materialist perspective into séquence-jeu—where the self switches perspectives of material from static object to a participatory body—invites agential capacities of both the material and the human to emerge on the aural domain. The goal is to imbue the sound recordings of instrument-human interactions with movement and agential performativity, and to carry it into the organization of electroacoustic compositions. 

In this stage the performer explores various relational affordances of both bodies (human and instrument). To further focus the relational ground, the model uses two response-types: a similarity and a difference response. The similarity response focuses on mimicking the other and searching for modes of entrainment. However here, the mimesis is not practiced with the aim of becoming (like) the other, rather it is concerned with engaging through an empathetic lens, questioning might becoming-the-other be like. The difference response on the other hand, is about expressing differences within relation. Without falling into continual disruptive patterns, the goal is to figure forms of differential co-existence in a shared sonic habitat; one that expresses contrasts, oppositions and divergences from the sound types and behaviours of the acousmatic agents. This two-fold form allows switching perspectives and to fuel generative and creative forms of listening and making with agents. The responses do not aim to represent and pin down what an ideal similarity or difference response would be i.e., it is not interested in finding absolute translations and interpretations of these perspectives. Although sounding like an all too simplistic division, the two-fold tool functions to create complex modulations between the two positions. 

Firstly, the boundaries of similarity and difference are difficult to define precisely, as each include forms of the other within it. For example, the response might differentiate from the gestures of the acousmatic agent yet might share similarities with its’ sound types. Or on a different meaning making mechanism: if the acousmatic agents’ source/body is recognisable, say of a bird, and similarity response imitates and mimics the sound types and behaviours of the bird sound, the difference between the real/synthetic, original/imitation, on the basic level really functions to differentiate them. There is an exhaustive list of possibilities for what a similarity and difference response might mean sonically, and what types of leakages could be specified between the two. Therefore, the goal of responding with the other through postures of similarity (I am like you), and difference (I am not like you), is not to scripturally interpret an ‘either/or’ position. It is to guide the self in generating an expanded understanding of multivalent possibilities for engagement, producing expressions of difference-in-relation. 

Secondly, the two responses are not understood as opposing forces and so, one response does not function to negate the other or lead to the collapse of one another; both are valid and necessary parts of the relational experience. Enacting both responses provide a ground to generate and overcome one’s own reflexes, habits, and inclinations. By stabilising the unstable, and un-stabilising the stable through relations paves way for new insights, along with providing a field to trace attentional dynamics along the way for cultivating a relational, self-reflective practice. This way, the practice affords flexibility, resists closure, invites conversation, fostering a continuum between two poles of relational reference. The connectible ends become detachable, connectable, reversible, modifiable, producing various non-linear and modular perspectives. By switching between different relational postures, the goal is to be able to maintain the potential for complex web of meanings emerging in sonic relations and create connectible ends for further discourses within the relational poietic process. In the end, looking at contradictory differences from a positive angle, rejects an all-too simplistic and singular definitions; it implies there is more to discover about agents, processes, and concepts. 

Just like the analysis response, the tactile- and movement-based response process produces multiple results in a generative and non-linear process. The goal is to reiteratively rehearse possible relations generating, exploring, and producing multiple results. From within this multiplicity, the self looks for idiosyncrasies emerging from gestures, sound types, and behaviours, that are unique to the instrument, to the self, and the relation. This stage asks the same set of questions of the first stage: What does my response reveal in this specific time, and situation? What happens to my response when I approach it as an act of giving and offering rather than to pin down, define and extract? How may I render the other and myself capable in our performance? What are the effects of my actions on my analytical and bodily production? Working through these questions and processes, carry potential to broaden both definitions of performer and composer, as well as the capacities of relations between instrument and human. 

The final stage of the model is the re-assessment response. The re-assessment response stage moves against the grain of previous stages of the practice where the incentive was all about generating multivalent possibilities. Although this stage may generate more information, it does so with the intent to produce an evaluated, distilled and situated account of the lived experience. 

3.3  Re-assessment Response 

The reassessment stage is about evaluating all the field notes, sketches, scores, and sound recordings accumulated from previous stages, and to reflect on one’s own experiences. The goal is to move back and forth between the lived experience (1st person) and objective account (3rd person) of what had happened. The evaluation process might result in producing further responses by either re-analysing and re-performing material that were expressed in previous stages, or further editing and shaping the already-gleaned material towards a situated composition using electroacoustic means. 

In this stage, the self looks at the analyses and personal notes, listens into the sound recordings, and weaves various arrival points of the practice into two distilled results: similarity and differential responses. The goal is not to simplify the generated material, but to trace through self-reflection, what had mattered and meant something to the self. The intent of doing this is to understand the epistemic position of oneself, its limitations as clearly as one can, and to make it clear. 

With each of the three stages, the com-position practice moves out of linear as well as top-down thinking/doing and aims to create complex modulations between them. Although initially each stage comes after the other, the stages do not affect each other sequentially but consequentially. The modular, and consequential approach of moving between stages, deliberately subverts simple and singular processes of composition. These processes aim to question and refigure habitual and conventional paths, aim to pave way for processes that lead into new ways of relational thinking, listening, and acting, and creating spaces for re-negotiation. Finally, let us look into the two possible forms for presenting the results.

4. Ontology of the Results

Within the com-position model, two possible forms for representation are produced through the evaluation stage. One position is presenting the process as the work itself. This mode of representation privileges making the process available for others by providing sketches, notes, scores, analysis videos, sound recordings, contextual information, and further information regarding the thought and act processes. By making the process available for others, the goal is to produce connectible ends for dialog and negotiation.  

The other position is about producing a single and partial perspective of the lived experience. This position produces a situated, and distilled account of the process. In my practice, the distilled works are composed versions of similarity and difference responses. The resulting two com-positions are meaningful musical entities in and of themselves and therefore could be presented as they are without any external context. Although, in this case the processes where connections and relations are made, are mostly not apparent on the surface of the audible level. These two distilled results are not taken in hand as static objects of representation; they might very well be representations of questions themselves. With either position for representation, the goal is to leave the final work to become a potentiality that may open to other possibilities.[12]

5. Conclusion

In re-thinking and re-imagining an ‘otherwise’ for the poietic process, we inevitably move through larger questions: What ‘makes it’ into the common record that shapes and impacts our sound cultures socially, aesthetically, and politically? What are the accepted norms, assumptions, values, and limitations of this record? For whom is this common record being created? How does this in return re-shape and re-frame the record itself? What does this say about us? These questions are just a few connectible ends as I conclude this article.

As the model traces a possibility for re-thinking and re-imagining a poietic process through a feminist epistemology, I would like to end by gesturing towards situated knowing, as it affords holding plural views and postures together without being torn by them. Donna Haraway’s (1988) understanding of situated knowledge provides a valuable entry point for imagining an otherwise. Haraway states: 

Situated knowledges are about communities, not about isolated individuals. The only way to find a larger vision is to be somewhere in particular […] Its images are not the products of escape and transcendence of limits (the view from above) but the joining of partial views and halting voices into a collective subject position that promises a vision of the means of ongoing finite embodiment, of living within limits and contradictions-of views from somewhere.

Haraway, 1988, p. 590

Staying in-relation and in-response socio-sonically with others through a poietic practice, allows cultivating practices that are in active negotiation and generative creation with oneself, and with the other. This article proposes that joining partial and situated views that hold both resistances and accommodations on multiple ends, function to pave way for expanded modes of perceptive and responsive capacities. It does this through exploring possibilities for holding two or more disparate things together through becoming-with difference-in-relation; affirming that there is no separation without joining-in, and no joining-in without separation.

The com-position model is about pursuing the continual search for engaged practices for learning to live, create and negotiate in a world of multiplicity and difference. This includes resisting the tendency to look for compatibility and uniformity with one another, and to live and respond within spaces that holds us without ever being only about us. In closing, the epistemological postures proposed in this article invites processes of noticing, caring, giving attention, and offering, which I believe have potential to contribute to thoughtful processes for our sound practices, and open-up negotiations; always together-apart[13].


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Smalley, D. (1986) ‘Spectro-morphology and Structuring Processes.’ in Emmerson, S. (eds) The Language of Electroacoustic Music. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 

Uçanok, F. (2022) Towards a Response-able Com-position Practice: Entangling with Humans, More-than-humans and Materials. [Doctoral thesis, Istanbul Technical University].

Vande Gorne, A. (2018) Treatise on Writing Acousmatic Music on Fixed Media. Ohain, LIEN, Musiques & Recherches.

About the author

Fulya Uçanok is an electroacoustic musician and pianist; composing, performing and improvising. Her current interests include response-able sonic practices with humans, more-than-humans, and materials; practices with musical instruments as material agents (human-instrument collaborations) and; sympoietic practices in multivalent, immanent spaces within electroacoustic composition and performance.


[1] The term “Eurogenetic” is coined by Robert Reigle (2004). He suggests the term as a neutral and accurate way to describe musics and practices that originated in Europe, carrying one or more of its components. He offers the term instead of the more value-laden alternatives like Western, Non-Eastern, Pan-European, Eurocentric. See: Reigle, R. (2014). 

[2] In Eurogenetic music practices, with the advent of 20th century this cult was already being questioned and re-figured, and today one of the prominent characteristics of 21st century music practices lie in the interest of refiguring, transforming, and re-imagining roles of composers, interpreters, audience, instruments, and works. This article’s incentive is aligned with this interest.

[3] In this article I use the word ‘self’ to talk about any person who ventures into the practice proposed within this article. The word ‘other’ is used for agents the self co-creates with. It is important to point to the apparent contradiction here: that every living being is a ‘self’. I do not in any way, aim to undermine agencies within ‘others’. I simply use the terminology to make the distinction between, 1) a person who undertakes the practice of the suggested model (as self), and 2) each entity s/he/them interacts with, which inevitably becomes an ‘other’.

[4] This article shares and builds on some of the tools and processes presented earlier in 1) My paper presented in EMS Proceedings: Uçanok, Fulya. (2021). Towards a Response-able Electroacoustic Composition Practice in Search of Sympoietic Multivalence: Entangling with More-Than-Humans. Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference 2021: Future Directions of Electroacoustic Music Studies. 2) My Ph.D. dissertation: Uçanok, Fulya. (2022). Towards a Response-able Com-position Practice: Entangling with Humans, More-than-humans and Materials [Doctoral thesis, Istanbul Technical University]. The model continues to develop as a part of my ongoing research.

[5]As a practitioner, I work within the fields of composition, performance, and improvisation. I am not a musicologist, at least not from an analytical and historical understanding. The observations and conclusions presented in this article are arrived-through my ongoing practice. 

[6] Recorded sound is historically expressed as ‘sound object’: L’objet sonore, a term coined by Pierre Schaeffer in his Traité des objets musicaux, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1966; 2nd ed., 1977.

[7] If the sound recording is done by the self, the relational process begins with act of recording: through the relations between the self, the other, the environment, the recording machine etc. Within the scope of this article, the starting point is looking into relations with the already-recorded sound—asking: how may the self co-create with the acousmatic agents once the recording is done?

[8] Les Unités Sémiotiques Temporelles (UST): Developed in Music and Informatics Laboratory of Marseille/France (MIM) in 1992, by a group of composers and artists led by François Delalande.

[9] The term sound-based is coined by Leigh Landy (2007).

[10] Spectromorphology is a term coined by Denis Smalley (1986) for describing sound shapes, based on an interaction between the sound spectra and the ways they change through time. It is a descriptive tool for aural perception, aiding the listening situation, seeking to explain and analyse sounds, sound events, structures, and space through an accessible set of descriptions.

[11] Annette Vande Gorne, in her book Treatise on Writing Acousmatic Music on Fixed Media introduces Reibel’s séquence-jeu along with another series of gesture archetypes to serve as tools within electroacoustic composition (Vande Gorne, 2018, pp.10).

[12] This article is a brief introduction that only scratch the surface of the overall framework. To look into various implications of the model and observe what has come so far, see my Ph.D. dissertation and research catalogue expositions. 1) Dissertation: https://tez.yok.gov.tr/UlusalTezMerkezi/tezSorguSonucYeni.jsp and visit 2) Research Catalogue exposition: https://www.researchcatalogue.net/profile/show-exposition?exposition=1511494.

[13] A term used by Karen Barad (2014) to explain that in intra-actions there is always a movement of ‘differentiating-entangling’ that happens in one move simultaneously. This points to the understanding of intra-action that everything starts from relation (from inseparability), and that differences and separations are enacted and performed by agents, in-relation, as they figure and express phenomena.