Justin Kerobo

Home > Computer Music as a Dispositif- The Compositional Influence of the Dispositif on Electro-Acoustic Works

Computer Music as a Dispositif- The Compositional Influence of the Dispositif on Electro-Acoustic Works

Jan 2022 05


The term “dispositif” reflects media from a technological standpoint and the mechanisms of their perception and discourses. When thinking about a computer system, order and rules dictate everything, seen and unseen. The term “dispositif’ originates from film theorist Jean-Louis Baudry, referring to an arrangement or apparatus. Michel Foucault extended the notion of a dispositif and applied it to political power apparatuses. One can think of the “dispositif” concept as an apparatus, its direct translation from French, extending to other discourses and institutions.  In a musical sense, Gilles Deleuze classified a “dispositif” as “a tangled, multilinear ensemble … composed of lines of different nature.”  Relating to the noun disposition, “dispositif” is, by Foucault and Deleuze, parts that come together to form a whole. It factors into the design during the creation of music.  Composers use their ideas, thoughts, and experiences to create that music.

The discussion on Georg Hajdu’s and Horacio Vaggione’s compositional processes emphasizes scientific or technological influences and perspectives by looking at prominent electro-acoustic composers. Even ties to the dispositif concept are less musical than they are scientific. The idea of the dispositif in computer music is foremost throughout Vaggione’s “SCIR” (1988) and “Nodal” (1997), and Hajdu’s “Ivresse ’84” (2007) and “Schwer … unheimlich schwer” (2009) and connects through composition by affecting music’s formative elements, such as musical knowledge, action, and feeling. First, I explore the background of the dispositif, its origins, first conceptual applications, and its connection to music. Second, I examine the compositional and aesthetic approaches of Vaggione and Hajdu. I assess how the dispositif concept affects those choices musically.  Finally, I provide direct discourse on creating the pieces for both composers while also considering the formative elements of music in musical analysis binds the dispositif concept to music. In other words, compositional techniques during musical composition.


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