On Tuesday December 17 at the Academiegebouw Leiden, Rapenburg 73, Cathy van Eck defended her thesis: Between Air and electricity. Microphones and loudspeakers as musical instruments.
Cathy van Eck's research takes the artistic use of the devices that bring sound waves into electricity and back as its central focus point; they are commonly called microphones and loudspeakers. From the 1950s on, microphones and loudspeakers started to play a crucial role not only in the mere reproduction of sound, but also in the creation of music. Composers and musicians often described these new possibilities of using microphones and loudspeakers as musical instruments. This resulted not only in many pieces and performances that used microphones and loudspeakers in unusual ways but also in many new possibilities for musical composition. Confronted with microphones and loudspeakers through her own practice as a composer using electro-acoustic media, Van Eck investigated how microphones and loudspeakers could become musical instruments. This resulted in 28 compositions and a written dissertation in which van Eck elaborates upon unique features of music composed with microphones and loudspeakers.