Edgard Varese: Organizer of Sound Essay

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EDGARD VARÈSE: ORGANIZER OF SOUND

Edgard Varèse, a French composer born in 1883, was a leader in the realm of

electronic music, and one of a group of musicians important in the time immediately

following WWII. These, often called, avant-garde musicians challenged the public and

other musicians to think about music in new ways, including incorporating electronic

elements into acoustic compositions, creating entirely electronic compositions and

reinventing the way acoustic music was composed. Credited with inventing the term,

“organized sound,” Varèse recorded live sounds including percussion instruments,

organs, vocalists, and from less conventional sources such as factories, ironworks and

aircrafts,
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EDGARD VARÈSE: ORGANIZER OF SOUND

Edgard Varèse, a French composer born in 1883, was a leader in the realm of

electronic music, and one of a group of musicians important in the time immediately

following WWII. These, often called, avant-garde musicians challenged the public and

other musicians to think about music in new ways, including incorporating electronic

elements into acoustic compositions, creating entirely electronic compositions and

reinventing the way acoustic music was composed. Credited with inventing the term,

“organized sound,” Varèse recorded live sounds including percussion instruments,

organs, vocalists, and from less conventional sources such as factories, ironworks and

aircrafts, thus his foray into the boundaries of musique concrète. His works rank among

the most important in the genres of electronic and electroacoustic music.

Born to modest means in Paris, Edgard Varèse’s early life was marked with

instability. Moving early to Turin, Italy, he soon became interested in music lessons, but

his tyrannical father had other plans. Deciding early that Edgard would follow in his

footsteps, Henri discouraged music lessons in favor of an engineering career-track.

Rebelling, secretly he sought out music lessons, and eventually ended up studying with

Bolzoni after the tragic death of his mother, aged 31. His mother implored that Edgard

take care of his siblings after her departure. After a fight
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