City Research Online

Space in electroacoustic music: composition, performance and perception of musical space

Henriksen, F.E. (2002). Space in electroacoustic music: composition, performance and perception of musical space. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This thesis concerns space as an essential element of expression and communication in electroacoustic music. It shows that musical space is a complex term which refers to many different aspects of composition, performance and perception of electroacoustic music. It is argued that space is a compound musical element which can be integrated into the compositional structure to a degree where space becomes the primary canier of meaning in the work, and that the creation and interpretation of this meaning is a result of learned cultural aspects of interpersonal communication in terms of personal space and territoriality. Furthermore, the close relationship between electroacoustic music composition and technology is acknowledged, and the influence of available technology on aesthetic choices and decision making with regard to spatial composition and performance is taken into consideration. The structure for the investigation is based on a model of musical space comprising three basic levels: 1) spatial properties of individual sounds in terms of intrinsic space, extrinsic space and spectral space, 2) the spatial arrangement of individual sounds and events into a composed space which is played in, and becomes affected by, the listening space, and 3) the perceived space, which constitutes the listening experience of the combination of composed space and listening space. A framework for describing and analysing spatial elements in electroacoustic composition is proposed. The discussion and findings are largely based on my experience as a listener, composer and performer of electroacoustic music, and in addition finds support in research on auditory perception, particularly Jens Blauert's work on spatial hearing and Albert Bregman's auditory scene theory, as well as Denis Smalley's spectromorphological theory, James Tenney's writings on perception-based music listening and analysis, and Edward T. Hall's investigations into space as an element of non-verbal communication.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Space_in_electroacoustic_music-_composition,_performance_and_perception_of_musical_space.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (20MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login