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Documenting acousmatic music interpretation: Profiles of discourse across multiple dimensions

Guillaume Boutard (École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada)
François-Xavier Féron (Laboratoire Sciences et Technologies de la Musique et du Son, CNRS-IRCAM-Sorbonne Université-Ministére de la culture, Paris, France)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 28 August 2018

Issue publication date: 7 January 2019




Extending documentation and analysis frameworks for acousmatic music to performance/interpretation, from an information science point of view, will benefit the transmission and preservation of a repertoire with an idiosyncratic relation to performance and technology. The purpose of this paper is to present the outcome of a qualitative research aiming at providing a conceptual model theorizing the intricate relationships between the multiple dimensions of acousmatic music interpretation.


The methodology relies on the grounded theory. A total of 12 Interviews were conducted over a period of three years in France, Québec and Belgium, grounded in theoretical sampling.


The analysis outcome describes eight dimensions in acousmatic performance, namely, musical, technical, anthropological, psychological, social, cultural, linguistic and ontological. Discourse profiles are provided in relation to each participant. Theory development led to the distinction between documentation of interpretation as an expertise and as a profession.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection is limited to French-speaking experts, for historical and methodological reasons.

Practical implications

The model stemming from the analysis provides a framework for documentation which will benefit practitioners and organizations dedicated to the dissemination of acousmatic music. The model also provides this community with a tool for characterizing expert discourses about acousmatic performance and identifying content areas to further investigate. From a research point of view, the theorization leads to the specification of new directions and the identification of relevant epistemological frameworks.


This research brings a new vision of acousmatic interpretation, extending the literature on this repertoire’s performance with a more holistic perspective.



The authors would like to thank all participants as well as the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. This research was funded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) – Humanités – Mathématiques – Sciences de l’Information (PEPS HuMaIn) projects.


Boutard, G. and Féron, F.-X. (2019), "Documenting acousmatic music interpretation: Profiles of discourse across multiple dimensions", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 1, pp. 99-119.



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