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Acousmatic sound

Sound that is heard without an originating cause being seen.

Acousmatic sound is sound that is heard without an originating cause being seen. The word acousmatic, from the French acousmatique, is derived from the Greek word akousmatikoi (ἀκουσματικοί), which referred to probationary pupils of the philosopher Pythagoras who were required to sit in absolute silence while they listened to him deliver his lecture from behind a veil or screen to make them better concentrate on his teachings. The term acousmatique was first used by the French composer and pioneer of musique concrète Pierre Schaeffer. In acousmatic art, one hears a sound from behind a "veil" of loudspeakers, the source cause remaining unseen. More generally, any sound, whether it is natural or manipulated, may be described as acousmatic if the cause of the sound remains unseen. The term has also been used by the French writer and composer Michel Chion in reference to the use of off-screen sound in film. More recently, in the article Space-form and the acousmatic image (2007), composer and academic Prof. Denis Smalley has expanded on some of Schaeffers' acousmatic concepts. Since the 2000s, the term acousmatic has been used, notably in North America to refer to fixed media composition and pieces.

Key Terms

acousmatic sound
akousmatikoi
definition
french acousmatique
greek word akousmatikoi
originating
sound
usage
veil
word

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Acousmatic sound
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Last modified on June 15 2020
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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