Musique Concrète using Audacity software

Musique Concrète was one of the original approaches to electronic music composition, pioneered by Pierre Schaeffer in the 1940s. It relied on recording natural sounds and manipulating them on tape, and its techniques have been incorporated into a wide variety of music ever since, from John Cage to hip-hop DJing/scratching. Today, free audio editing software such as Audacity allows this practice to be explored by anyone with a computer.

In this introductory hands-on workshop, participants:

  • Learn about the history and original tape techniques of traditional Musique Concrète
  • Listen to examples Musique Concrète
  • Learn how to install and configure the free Audacity software
  • Learn the basic techniques of audio editing (cutting, splicing, mixing) and manipulation (pitch/time shifting, reverse, effects)
  • Create our own compositions using found sounds, the aesthetic principles of Musique Concrète, and the editing capabilities of Audacity
  • Learn about how to extend these techniques in other contexts, and about other software and educational resources available to expand our practice of electronic music

Participants will need to have their own laptop computer capable of running Audacity — Windows 7, 8, 10, or Vista; Mac thru OS10.14 (MacOS 10.15 (Catalina) does not yet support Audacity); or Linux.

Originally presented at the Fuse Factory, Columbus