Étude Noire [Black Study] (by Pierre Schaeffer)

About the Piece

One of the ‘Five Studies of Sounds’, this piece was made out of recorded and edited piano sounds.

Why do you think that Schaeffer chose this title for the piece?

Does it sound dark to you?

About the Composer

Pierre Schaeffer worked as a radio technician for the French national radio and whilst working there began to experiment with recorded sounds.

In 194? he convinced the radio station to develop a studio and research group to properly investigate recorded sounds. This group later became the GRM (Musical Research Group).

He made his first solo compositions in 1948, the ‘Five Studies of Sounds’.

Pierre Schaeffer made many further musical works and wrote extensively on the subject of creating music with recorded sounds. His ideas have influenced many, many composers who followed him. He was one of the first people to recognise that the envelope of a sound (ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release)) can greatly affect the way that it is heard.