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Sound CommitmentsAvant-Garde Music and the Sixties$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336641.001.0001

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The Politics of Presque rien

The Politics of Presque rien

Chapter:
(p.145) 7 The Politics of Presque rien
Source:
Sound Commitments
Author(s):

Eric Drott

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336641.003.0008

Luc Ferrari's 1970 tape composition Presque rien no. 1—an apparently unretouched recording of daybreak on the Black Sea—has long been characterized as a transgressive work, breaking with established notions of compositional craft. However, statements made by the composer in the late 1960s point to a different way of reading Presque rien, one that situates it within contemporaneous debates concerning cultural democratization in France. The use of familiar, recognizable sounds to make experimental music accessible to a mass audience, along with the composer's stated desire that Presque rien might serve as a model for a new kind of amateur musique concrète, are read as responses to contemporaneous calls to reconcile avant‐garde music and popular culture.

Keywords:   Luc Ferrari, tape music, soundscape, cultural democratization, France, experimental music, 1960s

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