Setting the scene: Developments in Australian experimental music since the mid-1990s

Knowles, Julian D. (2008) Setting the scene: Developments in Australian experimental music since the mid-1990s. In Priest, Gail (Ed.) Experimental Music: Audio Explorations in Australia. UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 6-25.


This chapter documents the period from the mid-1990s onwards in the Australian 'experimental music scene' - a term which brackets a range of approaches, genres and hybrids held together by a network of venues, events, and a community of artists and audience members.

Beyond a more generalised notion of exploratory music practices, the use of the term 'experimental music' and its precise meaning change from writer to writer. Composer Michael Nyman defined 'experimental music' as the predominantly American reaction to the 20th century European 'avant-garde', however, both terms can be seen to define movements within the broader tradition of contemporary classical music. In this chapter it is proposed that it is more useful to define experimental music as the range of exploratory music practices that stand outside the contemporary classical music tradition. In most cases, these practices seek to extend or interrogate existing traditions. Practitioners usually avoid the instrumental, notational and performance practice traditions of classical music in favour of non-standard instrumental resources and combinations – non-instruments, objects, electronics (both hi-fi and lo-fi), modified instruments, laptop computers and contemporary media.

Addressing a 20 year gap in the writing on exploratory musical practices in Australia, this chapter focuses on live performance and festivals in the period, providing a critical survey of activity across an informal national network of legal and illegal artist-run venues.

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ID Code: 14855
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
ISBN: 9781921410079
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Musicology and Ethnomusicology (190409)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 UNSW Press
Deposited On: 15 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:48

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