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An Electroacoustic Studio of One’s Own


Of Mlle Germaine Tailleferre one can only repeat Dr. Johnson’s dictum concerning a woman preacher, transposed into terms of music. “Sir, a woman’s composing is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”


In 1928, Virginia Woolf cites the above phrase, from the recently published A Survey of Contemporary Music, by one of her contemporaries Cecil Grey, in her own essay entitled A Room of One’s Own. In this article, Woolf encourages women to gain financial independence and to create for themselves an individual space for their own artistic expression.

This phrase has haunted me since the first time I read it. In the world of electroacoustics, there are so few women composing that I often feel like somewhat of a curiosity:

When I have expressed concern that so few compositions by women are played in concerts, I have already heard the response: “Little girls aren’t interested in technology.” I feel, therefore, obliged to unveil part of my abnormal childhood, to perhaps explain the normalcy of the fact that I compose electroacoustic music, and I am a woman!


I receive, as a gift, a fantastic red firetruck.

First musical experience: I explore my grandmother’s piano (an object of desire as we didn’t have one at home), under the disapproving and tormented regard of the famous bust of Beethoven, a symbol of a world which has for centuries excluded women.


First encounter with electroacoustic music: It’s a children’s party and someone plays Pierre Henry’s Variations pour une porte et un soupir on the record player. All the children laugh because these sounds seem so unusual and funny.


First electroacoustic studio:

I began to record the stories I told (a maze, a castle, extraterrestrials…) using the B-side (Henry’s La Reine verte) as a soundtrack, along with homemade sound effects (wind: blowing into the microphone, etc.).


I come to the realization that the heroes in most of the books I read are men, and the role of the women in them is to admire their feats. Subsequently, I abandon my musical pursuits.


Finding myself (accidentally) in an electroacoustic course at university, where I rediscover the pleasures of playing with sound and technologies.


Audio 1 (3:09). Pascale Trudel — Flamingo! (1996).

Studio Dragon, my electroacoustic studio. A dream finally realized after many years of hard labour. Now autonomous, I can continue to explore without constraint, as when I was a young girl.


Studio Dragon, my website. A creative space, new methods in sound diffusion — imperfect yet offering many possibilities for the future. A space that belongs to me.


Pascale Trudel en 1997. | [Cliquer sur l’image pour l’agrandir]

I look forward to the day that the announcement of a concert in which many women’s works are present will not cause me to wonder if the concert is scheduled for the 8th of March. I look forward to the day we will be referred to as “composers,” and not as “women composers.”

20 March 1998. Translation: jef chippewa (1998, 2022).


Pascale Trudel lives in Montréal. She is a composer, new technologies artist, programmer and green roof gardener.

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