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Sonorism is an approach to musical composition associated with a number of notable Polish composers. As a movement, sonorism was initiated in the 1950s in the avant-garde of Polish music (Granat 2008, §i). Music that emphasises sonorism as a compositional approach tends to focus on specific characteristics and qualities of timbre, texture, articulation, dynamics, and motion in an attempt to create freer form. The style is primarily associated with an experimental musical movement which arose in Poland in the mid 1950s and flourished through the 1960s.

Sonorism emphasizes discovering new types of sounds from traditional instruments, as well as the creation of textures by combining different, often unconventional instrumental sounds in unusual and unique ways. The term "sonoristics" is used to describe this novel approach, which went beyond merely injecting individual color, quirks, and experimentation. It aimed to establish new structural functions in a composition, such as employing non-functional chords for sonorous effects, and emphasizing the sonic aspect of texts in vocal music (Granat 2008).

Composers associated with sonoristic composition[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Granat, Zbigniew. 2008. "Sonoristics, Sonorism". Grove Music Online, edited by Deane Root (22 October).

Further reading[edit]

  • Droba, Krzysztof. 2005. "Sonoryzm polski". In Kompozytorzy polscy 1918–2000: praca zbiorowa. 1: Eseje, edited by Marek Podhajski.[page needed] Prace Specjalne / Akademia Muzyczna im. Stanislawa Moniuszki w Gdansku 66. Gdańsk and Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Akademii Muzycznej im. S. Moniuszki. ISBN 9788389444820.
  • Granat, Zbigniew. 2009. "Rediscovering 'Sonoristics': A Groundbreaking Theory from the Margins of Musicology". In Music's Intellectual History, edited by Zdravko Blažeković and Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, 821–33. New York: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale. ISBN 978-1-932765-05-2.
  • Gwizdalanka, Danuta. 2009. Historia muzyki: podrecznik dla szkól muzycznych. Cz. 3, XX wiek. Kraków: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne SA. ISBN 9788322408926.
  • Harley, Maria Anna. 1998. "The Polish School of Sonorism and Its European Context". In Crosscurrents and Counterpoints: Offerings in Honor of Bengt Hambræus at 70, edited by Per F. Broman, Nora Engebretsen, and Bo Alphonce, 62–77. Skrifter från Musikvetenskapliga Avdelningen 51. Göteborg: Göteborgs Universitet. ISBN 91-85974-45-5.
  • Lindstedt, Iwona. 2006. "On Methods of Analysing Sonoristic Music in the Context of Musical Sonology of Józef M. Chomiński". Musicology Today 3:93–125.
  • Mirka, Danuta. 2003. "Penderecki’s Sonorism Against Serialism". Studies in Penderecki 2 (Penderecki and the Avant-garde):199–209.
  • Skowron, Zbigniew. 2003. "Trends in European Avant-garde Music of the 1950s and 1960s". Studies in Penderecki 2 (Penderecki and the Avant-garde): 179–89.
  • Witkowska-Zaremba, Elżbieta (ed.). 2008. Sonoristic Legacies—Towards New Paradigms in Music Theory, Æsthetics and Composition, with an introduction by Zbigniew Granat. Muzyka: Kwartalnik poświęcony historii i teorii muzyki 53, no. 1; no. 208:1-139.

External links[edit]