Pierre Schaeffer

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GRM team in the studio 54 at Bourdan centre, 1972. Photo: Laszlo Ruszka. [1]
With Marshall McLuhan, 1973. Video.

Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer (14 August 1910 – 19 August 1995) was a French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician. His innovative work in both the sciences—particularly communications and acoustics—and the various arts of music, literature and radio presentation after the end of World War II, as well as his anti-nuclear activism and cultural criticism garnered him widespread recognition in his lifetime.



Pierre Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux, 1966.


(in French unless noted otherwise)


  • À la recherche d'une musique concrète, Paris: Seuil, 1952.
  • Traité des objets musicaux, Paris: Seuil, 1966; 2nd ed., 1977.
    • Tradato de los objetos musicales, trans. Araceli Cabezon de Diego, Madrid: Alianza, 1988, 337 pp; 2003. Trans. of an abridged version. (Spanish)
    • Includes the essay "Acousmatics"; trans. Daniel W. Smith, in Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, eds. Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, Bloomsbury, 2004, pp 76-81. (English). Trained as a radio engineer and announcer, Schaeffer was fascinated by the fact that radio and recording made possible a new experience of sound--what he called "reduced listening" or "acousmatic listening"--that disclosed a new domain of sounds--objets sonores or sonorous objects, the objects of "acousmatic listening".
    • Treatise on Musical Objects: An Essay across Disciplines, trans. Christine North and John Dack, University of California Press, 2017, 616 pp. [2] (English)
  • with Guy Reibel, Solfège de l'objet sonore, 1967; Paris: Ina-GRM, 1998. With 3-CD. [5]
  • with Sophie Brunet, Pierre Schaeffer par Sophie Brunet suivi de Réflexions de Pierre Schaeffer, Paris: Richard-Masse, 1969. [6]
  • De la musique concrète à la musique même, ed. Sophie Brunet, Paris: La Revue musicale, 1977, 252 pp; repr., pref. Henri Dutilleux, intro. Sophie Brunet, postf. Sylvie Dallet, Paris: Mémoire du livre, 2002, 397 pp. Special triple issue of the journal (303-305). [7]
  • Polychrome Portraits, Paris: Institut national de l'audiovisuel, 2009. TOC.
  • Essai sur la radio et le cinéma, Paris: Allia, 2010, 128 pp. [8]



  • Sylvie Dallet, Sophie Brunet, Itinéraires d'un chercheur: bibliographie commentée de l'oeuvre éditée de Pierre Schaeffer / Pierre Schaeffer, a Career in Research: a Commented Bibliography of Published Works, Montreuil: Centre d'Études et de Recherche Pierre Schaeffer, [1997]. (in French/English) [9]
  • Pierre Schaeffer: A Survey of the Literature, compiled by Carlos Palombini, 2001.


  • Marc Pierret, Entretiens avec Pierre Schaeffer, Paris: Pierre Belfond, 1969. [10]