Towards a Philology of Electroacoustic Music - Xenakis’s Tape Music as Paradigm

Friedl, Reinhold. 2019. Towards a Philology of Electroacoustic Music - Xenakis’s Tape Music as Paradigm. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Towards a Philology of Electroacoustic Music - Xenakis’s Tape Music as Paradigm)
COM_thesis_FriedlR_2019.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (12MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This research focuses on the electroacoustic tape music of the French-Greek composer Iannis Xenakis as a case study for a philology of electroacoustic music. It is shown that most commercially released versions of his three most well-known pieces contain major faults. Persepolis (1971) and La Légende d’Eer (1979) have been released with incorrect sample rates.

In light of these facts, the work of Xenakis serves as a good subject for the discussion of a philology of electroacoustic music. A systematic philological research method for electroacoustic music is developed. Thus, philology of electroacoustic music is an ideal field to apply newer tendencies in philology; critique génétique widens the focus on the development of the compositional process, and material philology broadens the view of the text and its support. In the case of electroacoustic music, it encompasses not only paper, but also magnetic tape, digital media, etc. It will be shown that a philological research approach allows a new holistic view of Xenakis's work and ideas. Philological research in the field of electroacoustic music is urgent, as a vast number of possible sources will soon disintegrate. It will enable us to critically discuss the sources of electroacoustic music in the light of the changed technology.

In the practical part of the thesis Xenakis's textural approach is extended: I developed the computer programme TTM (Texture Transformation Machine) that facilitates the construction of non-symmetrical, probability-controlled transitions between given musical textures. The software and the realisation of two compositions, String Quartet No. 3 and KRAFFT for orchestra, are discussed in detail.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Xenakis, Iannis Xenakis, electroacoustic music, tape music, electronic music, music philology, philology of electroacoustic music, critical edition

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 November 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Dec 2019 12:13

Last Modified:

30 Nov 2022 02:26


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)