Bennett - The Canterbury Scene Sound: How Keyboards and their Players defined a Genre [Nov. 20, 2020]


Colloque international et interdisciplinaire

Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt et la scène de Canterbury: un regard différent sur le rock dans les années 1960 et 1970

Strasbourg, 20 novembre 2020


Organisation : Pierre Michel, (professeur à l'Université de Strasbourg, saxophoniste), Jacopo Costa (docteur de l'Université de Strasbourg, percussionniste), Elsa Grassy (MCF à l’Université de Strasbourg, Etudes américaines)

Comité scientifique : Jacopo Costa, Philippe Lalitte, Pierre Michel, Nicolò Palazzetti

Support technique : Arnaut Zeller, Vincent Kuster, Alexandre Freund-Lehmann

Mise en ligne des vidéos : Ruben Marzà


Stephen Bennett - The Canterbury Scene Sound: How Keyboards and their Players defined a Genre

While it is true that the ‘Canterbury Scene’ is diverse in its stylistic approach,
ranging from jazz to folk, psychedelic to blues and progressive to pop, there is a
commonality of ‘sound’ and tonal approach that pervades the genre. This sound, I
contend, is mainly derived from the use of electronic keyboards and effects, specifically
the distinctive use of the fuzz box and wah-wah pedal along with the organ and the Fender
Rhodes electric piano.
My paper will attempt to provide an ontological study of the use of these
instruments in the ‘scene’ by undertaking a technical and musicological analysis of the
instruments and effects used by the musicians. I will also provide a contextual and critical
study of useful insights direct from the musicians who were instrumental in defining the
‘sound’ of the Canterbury Scene.



Stephen Bennett is a Lecturer in Humanities, specialising in Media Practice,
located in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities at UEA. In the Institute,He
teaches the Media in Practice, Creative and Cultural Industries modules on the
Foundation year course. He also teaches a level5 module VIDEOGAMES: THEORY,
PRACTICE AND RECEPTION and supervises level 6 creative practice students. He is
also the academic lead for the faculty's Media Suite.
Stephen has had a varied career in the music, music technology, television, and
film and multimedia fields prior to his work at UEA, as well as a background in research
science. A long-term contributor to the UK’s most popular monthly music technology
magazine, Sound on Sound, he’s also written several books and other articles on the same
subject. His name has appeared on the credit list of albums alongside Steven Wilson
(Porcupine Tree), Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine), David Torn (David Bowie), Tim
Bowness (No-Man), Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Roger Eno.
His current interests include Digital humanities, the history of recorded sound, the
ephemera of digital and the interface of physical controllers, open source hardware and
computers to manipulate and play ‘old school’ analog synthesisers. His work also covers
the use of emerging VR/AR technologies in the humanities and the use of machine
learning and expert systems (AI) in video game sound.



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