Friday, March 27, 2009

Perceptual Music



What in the world is that? It is a question that has come up and it is one that is important to me as it is what I believe I will devote my PhD and possibly many more years to developing and understanding.

The thumb nail sketch is music that address the perceptual organs as the recipients of a piece, not the human. What I am trying to differentiate between is the social, cultural and personal factors that shape perception versus the "absolute" (meant in the sense that they are probabilistically similar across humans) parameters of sound that the human ear and brain perceive.

The goal is music that is based on a deep understanding of the perceptual routine and from here creating things that take advantage of and explore the range of possibilities. This is in opposition to notions of constructing music that is based on rule sets that are concerned with a specific language or notion of what music is. In the end it is sound and beginning from this starting point and mastering sound in terms of it's attributes and the how it is then perceived seems to me a more fruitful approach.

Certainly there is a great deal that contributes to this knowledge base; acoustics, psychoacoustics, psychology, music traditions, philosophy, communications, etc. This list is not clear in my head yet, nor is the manner in which what I am advocating will combine these various disciplines. The notion that does resonate though is beginning with auditory illusions as they indicate limitations and are a place to work from. What I have mind here are; shepard tones and acoustic beats because they show how a limitation can be utilized toward aesthetic investigations of the human condition.

I suppose the most important music trend for me is music that I consider to timberal composition. This is in fact how I often think about my work. Here I am thinking of works of Scirrino, Lachenmann, Debussy, Barlow, Roads, Risset, Tenney, Chowning, Vaggione and others. There is a use of the parameters of sound in order to achieve constructs that are timberal evolutions and explorations predominantly, while there are certainly other aspects to these works, the sound seems first and foremost. It is vague and I have not found the correct manner to indicate my notions, but then that is what I have the rest of my life for.


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