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Aesthetics & performance in electronic music

Course 2017-2018

Admission requirements

An interest in electronic music.


A Seminar which will seek inspiration for music using electronic means

Is it possible to make music without reference to an act of performance? Electronic music is perhaps the only musical genre attempting to develop without a performance practice. Though this situation is no longer the default, basic themes remain in dispute. In the last century European music was for the most committed to its own history and rationalized symbol based compositional systems, but audiences and composers are now comfortable with a wealth of musical inspiration coming from non western sources and hybrids such as Jazz all of which are rooted in hands on practice. We will look at the need for new instruments. What are the issues: the man machine interface, the novelty of synthetic sound or the changes wrought by recording and digital media?

What should we look for in this diversity towards our invention of music? Is it possible to imagine music without pleasure? Is listening a solitary activity? Human culture reveals a myriad of contexts and intentions from celebration and ritual to healing and social harmonization.

Is there a theory of electronic music? What are the real liaisons between Emu and science? How has being digital revised our relation to traditional music? Do we seek out totally new concepts or has the break with the past been greatly exaggerated? What are the obligations of music to ‘objective’ time? Or is there a specifically musical time?

The Paradigm of music creation has been under strain since the invention of recording, now it clearly fractured. Distinctions like author, score, interpretation, copy, do not produce clear lines in the mind. Copyright is a legalistic solution seldom to the benefit of creatives. Subsidy puts decision in the hands of bureaucrats. Is a composer responsible for negotiating these conditions or is music at the service of pre-established social norms of state or entrepreneurial sovereignty? Are constructions of ownership in conflict with the need for of human communication or creative desire?

Study requirements

Students from Leiden University hoping to acquire 5 ECTS will be expected to do a musical project or writing assignment.

Dates, time and location

Gehele academisch jaar 2017-2018, 1e en 2e semester.
Mondays from 16:00 - 18:00 hrs.
First class on Monday 11 September 2017.
Final class on Monday 25 June 2018.
PLEASE NOTE: no classes on: 16 October and 23 October, 25 December 2016, and 1 January, 16 April and 21 May 2018.

SON15 (Varèsezaal), Royal Conservatoire, Juliana van Stolberglaan 1, 2595 CA Den Haag, 070 315 15 15

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar


Register for this course via uSis.


Rogier Schneemann
Kees Tazelaar or

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