Luigi Russolo's Imagination of Sound and Music

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis examines the imagination and function of noise within the Futurist movement, specifically within the work of Luigi Russolo. It starts from the publication of his manifesto L’Arte dei rumori in 1913, goes through his process of conceptualisation, design and construction of his intonarumori (noise-intoners) and questions why he chose to create these instruments using pre-industrial technologies. The thesis examines in close detail the fragment of Russolo’s intonarumori composition, Risveglio di una città (The Awakening of the City) to gain an understanding of what Russolo sought to create and realise through the employment of specific intonarumori fulfilling specific functions in performance, and the reasons for his perceived failures within the live arena.

It analyses Russolo’s legacy as the author of a flawed concept of Sound Art, examining the reasons behind his advocation of the assimilation of a noises section within the conventional symphony orchestra. This thesis also touches upon the relationship between Russolo, Marinetti and Balilla Pratella in the events leading up to and beyond the publication of L’Arte dei rumori, and questions the perception amongst contemporary researchers that Russolo was indebted to Marinetti’s concept of Parole in Libertà (Words in Freedom) for his concept of noise art, by making the argument that each proved influential to the other.

Finally, this thesis examines the lexicon of Futurist aurality and investigates whether the evolution of meaning for specific terms, throughout the twentieth century, has resulted in later misconceptions regarding the nature of the ideas conveyed, and the works produced, by Futurists and Futurist inspired practitioners in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Hegarty, Paul, Supervisor, External person
  • Pieri, Giuliana, Advisor
Award date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


  • Futurism
  • Russolo
  • Marinetti
  • Intonarumori
  • Words in Freedom
  • Art of Noises
  • Serate

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