HMVK0431KU Musicology/Theater: Sound Art

Volume 2019/2020

Sound art as a more narrowly defined artform is about 100 years old. Sound art as a widely recognized artform, present in galleries, exhibitions, festivals and museums did not develop before there were various technological and cultural options for reproducing, analyzing, crafting, and reworking sound as a material substance.


In this course we will explore together the main theoretical and artistic approaches that defined sound art in its inception in the 20th century - and that will determine its further development in the 21st century.


We will therefore explore for a start the technologies, the avantgarde aesthetics and the political goals in sound art from the early to late-20th century; and we will then progress into the wider range of contemporary artistic practices in sound from the early 21st century: including for instance building media instruments, postcolonial transformations, intimate encounters, institutional critique, and sonic thinking as forms of sound art.


We will be listening to examples of sound art and we will be discussing their aesthetics and their artistic practices.

Basic Literature


Cobussen, Marcel, Vincent  Meelberg, and Truax, Barry (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Groth, Sanne Krogh & Schulze, Holger (eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.

Kahn, Douglas, Noise Water Meat, Cambridge/Mass. MIT-Press 1999.

Kim-Cohen, Seth. In the Blink of an Ear. Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009.

LaBelle, Brandon. Background Noise. Perspectives on Sound Art. New York: Continuum, 2006.

Motte-Haber, Helga de la Klangkunst—Tönende Objekte und Klingende Räum, Handbuch Der Musik Im 20. Jahrhundert. Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1999.

Truax, Barry. Soundscape Composition as Global Music: Electroacoustic music as soundscape. Organised Sound13 (2008), Issue, 103-109, 2008.

Wishart, Trevor. On Sonic Art, Amsterdam/NL: Overseas Publishers Association/Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH, 1996

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Course Preparation
  • 143
  • Exam Preparation
  • 42
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Total
  • 210
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment