FAQ Soundart

- frequently asked questions concerning Soundart

Question: What is "soundart"?

Answer: Sound art is the art of organizing sound (instrumental, vocal or synthetic or recorded with the microphone from our sounding environment) into a musical composition. Text, sound or music are material in the hands of the sound composer. The result bears numerous names: Ars Acustica, Audio Art, digital radio art, soundscape, sound composition, etc.

Question: So sound art is music?

Answer: yes and no. This acoustic art form is so open that it excludes conceptual limitation. It is the musical side of radio art. It is the laboratory, in which new acoustic forms are developed. It is story telling using the means of sound, noise, music and voice.

Question: Is sound art a radio-form?

Answer: Sound art also exists as concert, performance or sound installation outside of radio, but radio is a central medium for sound art. Deutschlandradio awards 12 composition commissions for sound compositions a year, and together with the freelance author's productions about 25 new pieces are broadcasted every year.

Question: How long has there been sound art at Deutschlandradio?

Answer: Since the station was founded in 1994. First under the somewhat misleading name “HörspielWerkstatt”.

Since 2006 its name tells what it is: "Soundart", weekly at midnight 55 minutes of sound compositions, without borders, unheard-of.

Question: How did you get into sound art as a radio play director and editor? And why is sound art part of the radio play program?

Answer: Radio play and sound art tell stories and both work with the same materials: voice, sound, music. With one crucial difference: in radio play, music and noise serve the word - while in sound art all these elements are fundamentally equivalent as material in the hand of the sound composer. Stories can be told with music, sound or words. Most of the time, however, the work is an individual mixture of all these elements.

For me as a radio play director, the discovery of sound art was a kind of liberation from the dominance of the word, the text, which everything has to serve, and at the same time from the illustrative function of the music and the sounds. I asked myself why I usually only wanted to listen to a radio play once, but music - whether Mozart, Penderecki or the Rolling Stones - again and again. The answer I found in sound art as radio art: ideally it has the same openness and complexity as a poem or piece of music in which my listening imagination can move freely.

Question: Does one need previous knowledge to understand sound art?

Answer: Sound art should not be understood but experienced - and that is accessible to every listener. Its roots lie not only in new music (such as the Musique concrète), but also in pop music. Elements of this can be found at The Beatles or Pink Floyd and quite a few of my sound composers work as DJs in clubs. However, sound art also presupposes the increasingly rare art of listening from the listener.

Question: Why do so many works in your program have English titles?

Answer: The broadcast 'Klangkunst' at Deutschlandradio is a broadcast for international sound art. Unlike the radio play, sound is not limited by national languages. That is why almost 50% of my show also presents masterpieces by foreign sound composers.

Question: Do you have personal preferences among your programs?

Answer: As much as I look forward to the broadcasts of new works - my heart is still attached to the quarterly newcomer workshop, which is not dedicated to the masters of sound art, but to the unfinished, talented seekers, the young noisemakers and troublemakers. Don't you call unrest the particle that keeps the clock going?

Question: What advice do you have for anyone interested in getting to know sound art?

Answer: Switch on Deutschlandradio Kultur and go on an audio journey. Every week in the night from Thursday to Friday from 0.05 a.m. to 1 a.m.


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