On Sonic Art

Trevor Wishart

In his ground-breaking book On Sonic Art Trevor Wishart takes a wide-ranging look at the new developments in music-making and musical aesthetics made possible by the advent of the computer and digital information processing. His emphasis is on musical rather than technical matters. Beginning with a critical analysis of the assumptions underlying the Western musical tradition and the traditional acoustic theories of Pythagoras and Helmholtz, he goes on to look in detail at such topics as the musical organization of complex sound-objects, using and manipulating representational sounds in the new music, organizing the spatial motion of sounds and the various dimensions of human and non-human utterance. In so doing, he seeks to learn lessons from areas (poetry and sound-poetry, film sound effects and animal communication) not traditionally associated with the field of music.