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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Abstract for a Ph.D. dissertation

Electronic music and electronic musical instruments by Erkki Kurenniemi: A framework for technologically oriented music production and composition processes

 

My PhD research project is focused on the history and analysis of Finnish electroacoustic music and electronic musical instruments. The project can be introduced by three main threads; music history (the historical and cultural context in the Nordic countries in the 60s and the 70s), music technology (the electronic musical instrument design and use) and electroacoustic music (aesthetics and musical analysis). The study belongs to the domain of music technology research and its scientific stance is interdisciplinary. On the one hand, for analysing and describing the cultural and historical context of electroacoustic music I employ music analysis and the concepts of the modern historiographical paradigm, ethnography and aesthetic theory. On the other, for describing the technological development and social networks I employ the concepts from the framework of the social construction of technology as well as from the actor network and innovation theories.

At a core of the project are musical instruments and music of a Finnish instrument designer and composer Erkki Kurenniemi (1941-2017). At the time when technology dedicated to electronic music production was practically non-existent and the studios of the genre were rare and expensive to design, Kurenniemi’s designs enabled and facilitated the work of several composers. In addition to his Finnish collaborators Kurenniemi worked also with many Nordic composers and artists. His visionary ideas and technical know-how had its influence on the works of many of his contemporaries – and vice versa. Kurenniemi’s work serves here as a lens through which I am observing also the broader picture of cultural and historical circumstances of electroacoustic music – even beyond the Finnish scene. Instead of concentrating on the canonical works and central actors in the field electroacoustic music, the focus of this research is on Helsinki-based small community which had active links to Sweden and Norway as well as frequent connections even to the central European studios. The research sheds light also on these less studies social connections.

Beyond the temporal and geographical frames, the works by Kurenniemi and his Nordic collaborators provide also more general viewpoints to the interaction of music and technology. For example, static and detailed descriptions of musical instruments are not enough to depict the impact of music technological development on musical aesthetics. To further study this aspect Kurenniemi’s instruments are examined in the hands of their users. By analysing the use of Kurenniemi’s instruments the study aims to show how technological artifacts develop in complex interaction between the original designer, the users and the technological artifact itself rather than in an isolated laboratory by the lonely designer. Kurenniemi’s own musical output, on the other hand, provides an example of music making process where the works are created in a close – and often real time – interaction with the production technology. In the most extreme case, the role of the technology is strongly emphasized and can even be the most important factor of music making. This type of technologically oriented music production and composition process challenges the traditional concept of a musical work, questions the typical intention of a composer and anticipates many production methods which have emerged especially in many popular music productions.

 

Technologically oriented music production processes

Due to the development of technology used in musical sound recording and processing, a wide range of new means of musical expression and sonic experiences has emerged during the 20th century. The continual changes in technology enable new musical genres to emerge. In addition, technological developments can also be seen to challenge the traditional concept of musical work. For example, along with the emergence of electroacoustic music, non-predetermined music production became possible. It was no longer necessary to plan things beforehand or write a score for a piece; the entire composition process could be done in close interaction with technology. The studio has become a compositional tool and the purpose of the tape recorder has broadened from that of a storage and recording device to a creative tool. In the very core of these processes are different listening modes and the composer's or producer’s creative decision making. In this research, I will build a framework that can be applied when studying and analysing certain types of electroacoustic and technologically oriented popular music composition and production processes. What drives this technological change and how does this ever-evolving process alter music production processes and listening experiences?

Keywords

  • 613 Arts
  • electronic music
  • electroacoutic music
  • studio technology
  • music technology
  • sound art
  • sonic art
  • synthesizers
  • sound installations
  • music history
  • 611 Philosophy

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Selected Publications 2001 2019

Tutkimusdatan määrittelyn ja aineistonhallinnan ongelmat ihmistieteissä

Ojanen, M., 2016, In : Informaatiotutkimus. 35, 3, p. 57-58 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

Open Access
File

Mastering Kurenniemi’s Rules (2012): the role of the audio engineer in the mastering process

Ojanen, M., 2015, In : Journal on the Art of Record Production. 10

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access
File

Jukka Ruohomäen ensimmäisen sävellyskauden elektroakustinen musiikki

Ojanen, M., 2014, In : Musiikki. 44, 1-2, p. 146-183 38 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access
File

Electroacoustic concert and happening performances of the ‘60s and early ‘70s in Finland

Ojanen, M., 2014, EMS Proceedings and Other Publications: EMS14 - Electroacoustic Music Beyond Concert Performance. Berlin: Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, p. 1-13 13 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific

Open Access
File

DIMI-6000: An Early Musical Microcomputer by Erkki Kurenniemi

Lassfolk, K., Suominen, J. & Ojanen, M., 2014, Proceedings ICMC SMC 2014: Music technology meets philosophy: From digital echos to virtual ethos. Georgaki, A. & Kouroupetroglou, G. (eds.). Athens: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, p. 1538-1541 4 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Open Access
File

Erkki Kurenniemi's electronic music studio

Ojanen, M., 31 Oct 2013, Erkki Kurenniemi: a man from the future. Mellais, M. (ed.). Helsinki: Valtion taidemuseo, Kuvataiteen keskusarkisto, p. 99-128 30 p. (Kuvataiteen keskusarkisto / Central Art Archives; no. 25).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific

Open Access
File

Material tape as a piece of art: Case studies of an inconstant work-concept in Erkki Kurenniemi’s electroacoustic music

Ojanen, M. & Lassfolk, K., 2012, EMS Proceedings and Other Publications: EMS12 - Meaning and Meaningfulness in Electroacoustic Music - Stockholm. Stockholm: Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, p. 1-12 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific

Open Access
File

Selected Projects 2018 2018

FinEARS: Finnish ElectroAcoustic Research Sources

Ojanen, M. I.

01/01/2018 → …

Project: Research project

Selected Activities 2007 2019

Digital escapees seminar

Mikko Ojanen (Speaker: Presenter)
6 Apr 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

File

Mutual Learning Exercise on Open Science - Altmetrics and Rewards

Mikko Ojanen (Speaker: Presenter)
31 May 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

File

Miten ohjeistat panelisteja ja päättäjiä aineistojen hallinnasta ja avaamisesta (Suomen Akatemian koulutus)

Mikko Ojanen (Speaker: Presenter)
16 Dec 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

File

Sähköisku 2016: musiikkiteknologian ja sähkömusiikin teemapäivä

Mikko Ojanen (Speaker: Presenter)
13 Mar 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

CTM Festival 2014 / The Music and Machines of Erkki Kurenniemi

Mikko Ojanen (Speaker: Presenter)
30 Jan 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

Musiikin suunta : Suomen etnomusikologinen seura ry:n julkaisema musiikkialan tieteellinen mielipidelehti (Journal)

Mikko Ojanen (Editor in chief)
20122015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Selected Press / Media

Avaruusromua

Mikko Ilmari Ojanen

07/06/2015

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Elektronisia soittimia, YLE TV1, Strada

Mikko Ilmari Ojanen

15/10/2013

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media