The Art of Noises


On Monday 7th December between 1 – 3pm in room G202 we’ll be discussing Luigi Russolo’s ‘The Art of Noises’.

The original manifesto is in the form of a letter from futurist painter Luigi Russolo to futurist composer Pratella from 1913.

The manifesto seems to presage the ‘Musique Concréte’ movement of Pierre Schaeffer of the late 1940s and 50s. Not only that, some of the technology of tapes, synthesisers and later digital sampling technologies also seem to be anticipated. As a manifesto, it seeks to sweep away the established practices of orchestral music.

The issues raised in the piece impact upon subsequent discussions of making a distinction between music, sound, noise, and ultimately sonic (or sound) art.

Participants are also invited to read an introduction, written by Barclay Brown, to a volume of Russolo’s essays including the manifesto itself published in 1983. All of these essays were written in the 3 or 4 years following the manifesto. This introduction gives more context for Russolo’s work after this letter was written, including descriptions of the noise machines, the intonurumori, he constructed and used for performances. It also discusses some of the difficulties Russolo had in attempting to realise his vision.

We can draw our own conclusions about the success (or otherwise) of Russolo’s cause and its influence on 20th century Music and Sonic Art.

Everyone is welcome!

(Text introduced by Dave Crossen.)

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