Digital scenographies of contemporary music
Between didactics and spectacularization
By rejecting the notion of polarized notes and clear pulsation, contemporary music has experienced, for about fifty years, a rupture with the public that has never been seen before in the history of music. In response, the young generation of composers seems to us today to want to affirm with vigour a new path, driven by the desire to compose complex, demanding, adventurous music, without however giving up on opening up to new and wider audiences. This double equirement results in a reformulation of two aspects of their work: one aesthetic, the other communicative: the aesthetic dimension is played out in the continually redefined relationship between scholarly and popular arts as well as in the multiple influences, hybridizations, mutations favoured, throughout the 20th century, by storage and distribution media and multiplied today by digital dematerialization and the Internet; the communicational dimension concerns how to rethink the relationship between contemporary music and audiovisual media and more particularly the possibilities offered by digital image and sound technology to reformulate the situation together. Today, several international ensembles take into account this dimension of digital scenography, offering composers creative and technical support in this field. This staging is in fact a mediation that facilitates the work’s access to the public, which is now entirely part of the work (according to Antoine Henion’s analyses defining music as a sum of mediations). This mediation can have pedagogical and/or performance dimensions that underlie a redefinition of “musical”. Indeed, we see the emergence of new forms of multi-modal works where the relationships between the different modalities are continually being reexamined. Thus, in some cases, the image or spectacularization can take precedence over the music and become a screen to listen to and in others facilitate and explain it.
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