Di Scipio, Agostino

1997

The Problem of 2nd-order Sonorities in Xenakis' Electroacoustic Music

Organised Sound: Vol. 2, no. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 165-178.

URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_OSO

Language(s): English

Keyword(s):

Indeterminacy Stochastic Music Granular Synthesis and Resynthesis Analysis Algorithmic Music Timbre

Abstract:

Working on Analogique B in the late 1950s, Xenakis formulated the ‘hypothesis of a second order sonority’. This paper focuses on this concept, and shows its crucial meaning in the composition of a number of pieces, such as Concret PH, Analogique B and the very recent Gendy3 and S709. The perspective taken is twofold: on one side, the problem of 2nd-order sonorities is seen as a problem in modelling perceptual attributes (or timbre) of sound in terms of ‘emergent properties of organised sound structure’. This is also related to the composer’s pioneering work with granular sound representations and nonstandard methods of sound synthesis. On the other, the issue is discussed in conjunction with Xenakis’ attempt at implementing thoroughly formalised ‘mechanisms’ or ‘systems’ based on the mathematics of stochastic processes. The paper shows that the issue touched on here is essential to the aesthetics of Xenakis’ electroacoustic music. It also questions whether the formalisation of stochastics is a suitable means to let 2nd-order sonorities emerge from the internal life of the sound matter. The limitations of Xenakis’ ‘mechanisms’ are described in terms of their cybernetics, and are situated in the context of artistic and scientific paradigm shifts concerning the relationship between order, disorder and chaos.

All references of the same author:

(English)

DI SCIPIO, Agostino (1991). Caos deterministico, composizione e sintesi del suono (Deterministic chaos, composition and souns synthesis)
Di Scipio, Agostino (1994a). Formal Processes of Timbre Composition Challenging the Dualistic Paradigm of Computer Music: A Study in Composition Theory (II)
Di Scipio, Agostino (1994b). Micro-time Sonic Design and Timbre Formation
Di Scipio, Agostino (1995a). Inseparable Models of Materials and of Musical Design in Electroacoustic Music
Di Scipio, Agostino (1995b). Centrality of Techné for an Aesthetic Approach on Electroacoustic Music
Di Scipio, Agostino (1995c). On Different Approaches to Computer Music as Different Models of Compositional Design
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (1995d). Riflessioni sull'analisi della musica elettroacustica e informatica
Di Scipio, Agostino (1996). Interactive Composing with Granular Time-shifting of Sound
Di Scipio, Agostino (1998). Compositional Models in Xenakis's Electroacoustic Music
Di Scipio, Agostino (2000). An Analysis of Jean-Claude Risset's Contours
Di Scipio, Agostino (2001a). Clarification on Xenakis: The Cybernetics of Stochastic Music
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (2001b). Uno scenario post-digitale? Riflessioni ambivalenti sul suono in Internet (A post-digital scenario? Ambivalent thought on Internet sound)
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (2002). Tecnologia dell'esperienza musicale nel Novecento (The technology of musical experience in the 20th century)
Di Scipio, Agostino (2002a). A Story of Emergence and Dissolution: Analytical Sketches of Jean-Claude Risset's Contours
Di Scipio, Agostino (2002b). Systems of Embers, Dust, and Clouds: Observations after Xenakis and Brün
Di Scipio, Agostino (2003). ‘Sound is the Interface': From interactive to ecosystemic signal processing
Di Scipio, Agostino (2004). The Orchestra as a Resource for Electroacoustic Music: On some works by Iannis Xenakis and Paul Dolden

(Italiano)

DI SCIPIO, Agostino (1991). Caos deterministico, composizione e sintesi del suono
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (1995d). Riflessioni sull'analisi della musica elettroacustica e informatica
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (2001b). Uno scenario post-digitale? Riflessioni ambivalenti sul suono in Internet
DI SCIPIO, Agostino (2002). Tecnologia dell'esperienza musicale nel Novecento