Spectral World Musics



Written from a variety of perspectives by experts in such fields as Composition, Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology, Performance, and Improvisation, this collection of papers sheds new light on the history of timbre and spectral thinking. As Robert Reigle explains in his important Introduction, “Some musics around the world clearly foreground timbre, and these may unambiguously be called ‘spectral musics’.” The Istanbul Spectral Music Conference, at which these papers were presented, therefore redefined “spectral music” to encompass any music foregrounding timbre as an important element of structure or musical language. The organizers initiated this holistic approach to the idea of spectral music to make explicit the importance of timbre as a near-universal concern of music-making, and to establish timbre as a central and applied component of musical discourse. By including ethnomusicologists, they acknowledged the vital role of timbre throughout the world history of music, while at the same time recognizing the importance of the Spectral School that originated in Romania and France, as both a catalyst spurring dialogue across disciplines and one of the major aesthetic movements of our time.

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