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Welcome to eContact! 8.4, Educational Resources!

Education in music technology / electroacoustic studies is in its infancy, and there are lots of ideas concerning the “what” and the “how”, but little in the way of solid information that can be used as a guide for curricular and academic construction.

A major problem is that the field is not very old and there are as yet few unified texts that address the wider issues of electroacoustic studies. The “problem” (although certainly an interesting one!) becomes apparent as educators try to make lists of the “essentials”, which quickly expand to cover areas such as acoustics and psychoacoustics, history and repertoire, æsthetics, perception, linguistics, analysis and composition, to name only most of the “knowledge-based” parts. It is noted that this approach goes far beyond the “technical school” approach of learning the technical aspects of hardware and software.

In the past 50 years, a number of individual attempts have been made to gather or assemble collections of existing sources, but there is no easy way for one individual (or organization) to effectively and “completely” represent a field of such enormous depth. Nonetheless, several individuals and teams have begun to address this issue and there has been considerable success in some areas, notably with EARs (England) and with Joel Chadabe’s book, Electric Sound (1997, ISBN 0133032310). Electric Sound is about the only relatively current text on ESA (electronic sound art) history, however, in such a rapidly changing discipline, the text is headed to being out of date well before copies arrive in the classroom.

Part of the CEC’s mandate, and vision, is to assist others (and to do it ourselves!) in collecting and freely distributing information on a wide range of voices. This has taken place firstly through the publication of eContact!; a much wider range of creators has also been exposed to a larger public through SONUS, the CEC’s online “Jukebox”. jef chippewa and Yves Gigon have been instrumental in moving the CEC one step forward on this wider path by the creation and utilization of a WIKI (1) in order to efficiently gather information from a wide international knowledge base.

This issue of eContact! is to be understood as an open-ended educational resource that will develop continuously with the input and contributions of a number of collaborators: CEC administrators, EA educators, electroacousticians, and the general public. The CEC’s WIKI has been set up as an experiment to benefit from and measure the impact of such contributions. Some of the topics addressed in the WIKI include the aforementioned Bibliography, EA in Film, and EA Techniques. Many works in SONUS are used as sonic examples of the EA techniques.

Clearly this issue is not the work of “just one person”: the possibilities for a wide, inclusive research area through the utilization of the WIKI is increasingly apparent.

Educators, students, and new initiates alike will derive great benefit from the various educationally-oriented materials available in this issue. Seasoned electroacousticians, while likely quite familiar with examples of technique and sound processing examples, will however find the Bibliography quite useful, and will also enjoy listening to new materials made available here they might not have already heard. (Educators may find it useful to subscribe to an RSS feed to monitor new materials.)

The success of this issue has been made possible by the hard work and ideas of a small number of people, but the “real work” has come from a large number contributors, and the commentary and additions of a larger number of people.

On behalf of the CEC, we would like to heartily thank these people, not only for the participation in the present issue of eContact!, but also for the services they have rendered to the international electroacoustic community over the years.

Kevin Austin and jef chippewa, August 2006.

  1. Web-based collaborative tool allowing contributions, editing and more from a large number of persons, and viewable by the general public. Contributors contact the CEC to receive a password to allow them permission to edit the pages.

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