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Sound CommitmentsAvant-Garde Music and the Sixties$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336641.001.0001

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The Politics of Presque rien

The Politics of Presque rien

(p.145) 7 The Politics of Presque rien
Sound Commitments

Eric Drott

Oxford University Press

Luc Ferrari's 1970 tape composition Presque rien no. 1—an apparently unretouched recording of daybreak on the Black Sea—has long been characterized as a transgressive work, breaking with established notions of compositional craft. However, statements made by the composer in the late 1960s point to a different way of reading Presque rien, one that situates it within contemporaneous debates concerning cultural democratization in France. The use of familiar, recognizable sounds to make experimental music accessible to a mass audience, along with the composer's stated desire that Presque rien might serve as a model for a new kind of amateur musique concrète, are read as responses to contemporaneous calls to reconcile avant‐garde music and popular culture.

Keywords:   Luc Ferrari, tape music, soundscape, cultural democratization, France, experimental music, 1960s

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