Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





David Olan

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Music


collage, electonic music, electroacoustic music, found sounds


This dissertation contains a historical analysis of the emergence of found sounds or everyday noises as a compositional strategy in Western art music through the first half of the 20th century. Pioneering works are examined to determine the motives and aesthetic goals that first led composers to bring noise to the musical surface, including the avant-garde collaboration Parade, Futurist noise experiments, and Pierre Schaeffer's early work with musique concrète. These early works are used to create two analytical spectra with which to analyze contemporary pieces that incorporate founds sounds with instrumental music: one spectrum that considers the level of integration of a noise with the instrumental or pitched material, and another that measures the degree to which the everyday noises have been defamiliarized from their original context. This mechanism for analysis is employed in four case studies: Steve Reich's Different Trains, Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes II, DJ Spooky's Zeta Reticulli/If I Told Him a Complete Portrait of Picasso, and The Books' The Lemon of Pink I.