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Electroacoustic Composition

Field, A. E. (1999). Electroacoustic Composition. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The aesthetics of composing electroacoustic music that includes both environmental and digitally processed sounds were studied. This was accomplished by practical means, resulting in a folio of creative work. Compositional methods and techniques relating to the interaction between environmental and processed sounds are detailed in this written dissertation. The dissertation also explores compositional applications for theories derived from the discipline of acoustic ecology. The context a sound might exist in, as well as the timbral characteristics of the sound itself, are shown to be vital in developing a coherent compositional approach for the integration of natural sounds into complex musical hierarchies. Simulated sonic environments are identified as being effective in this aim, as it is possible for the composer to exert considerable control over the development of their individual sounding elements. The characteristics that define simulation, and the interaction between sound sources and spaces were analysed. The notion of context bonding was introduced, which aims to link Smalley's concept of surrogacy' to a sound's extrinsic connotations. Discovery strategy is a practical methodology that was developed whilst composing the creative work that accompanies this dissertation. By using a set of structural devices called steering processes, it aims to assist first-time listeners in decoding the structural characteristics of a work. Steering processes couple simple and easily recognisable rhetorical codes of communication to a clear underlying sub-structure. Discovery strategy techniques do not attempt to simplify works for easy listening. Moreover, they allow the potential for more listeners to access the inner structural details of a piece. As the creative folio demonstrates, this can result in a musical surface that is highly distinctive and energetic.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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