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The perception of timescales in electroacoustic music

Pasoulas, Aki (2011). The perception of timescales in electroacoustic music. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The purpose of this doctoral research is to explore the nature and perception of timescales in electroacoustic music, to examine modes of experiencing time, and to discover a method that uses this knowledge to the advantage of the composer. Although the main focus is on acousmatic works, much of the research presented here has a broader scope and is relevant to music and sound art in general.

This thesis is initially inspired by Deleuze’s philosophical views on time to discover relationships between the flow of time and music, and continues to investigate time perception by exploring prevalent theories in the fields of psychology and psychoacoustics. In parallel, it identifies and systematically analyses a set of factors that influence time perception and the formation and segregation of timescales. Theoretical analysis, hypotheses and reasoning were practically tested in the five electroacoustic pieces composed for this particular research.

The study revealed and reinforced the importance of psychological time in perception and interpretation of structures in music, developed the idea of using parallel temporal forms in composition, and through an exploration of timescales, it necessitated a redefinition of microsound. Moreover, an analysis of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect our perception of time and thus our interpretation of a musical work reinforced the notion of acousmatic music as a holistic experience that comprises all its surrounding elements at the time of listening.

This research is useful for both the composer and the analyst because it offers insights into time structures, and a better understanding of the listener’s response to temporal constructs.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: © 2011 Aki Pasoulas
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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