Ryoki Ikeda and the Prioritising of Space over Time in Musical Discourse

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No art form so rigorously organises time as music. Whereas all art in some sense exists in time, music could be said to be of time. This article, however, questions implicit assumptions about the fundamental nature of time to music. In contrast, an alternative approach to the discourse of composition and analysis is proposed in which space rather than time is privileged. Russolo, Stockhausen, Cage and Agostino Di Scipio are cited as historical precedents where the status of time in music is questioned but a more detailed consideration is given to Ryoji Ikeda, a contemporary sound-art practitioner who, it is argued, represents a turn towards the privileging of space in contemporary music practice. This article argues that an approach to composition that implicitly accepts the primacy of time tends to privilege sounds that are more easily described symbolically, such as notated pitched sounds or materials with clear spectromorphological design. In contrast, an approach that places greater concern with the work in space facilitates the greater use of materials that could be considered ‘noise’, in the sense of both a broadband spectrum and signal disruption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-384
Number of pages7
JournalOrganised Sound
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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