Synthèse (Synthesis)

Musicology of Electroacoustic Music [MEM]  >  Schaefferian Theory  ]

Analysis and synthesis are the two final stages of the experimental Solfège programme.

Analysis brings morphological criteria into the dimensions of the perceptual field, in order to estimate their capacities to emerge as musical values, and possibly to be used in échelles. To do this, it studies the sites and calibres of the criteria in relation to these three dimensions : this leads to the determination of different species for each criterion, which define the different positions it occupies in the perceptual fields.

As for synthesis, it aims to create musical objects, made of “bundles of criteria” which “placed together may display (. . .) a structure of easily perceptible values”. To do this, it has to conceive of a new lutherie, or “tablature”, adapted to a new theory of musical structures.

In the T.O.M. the stage of analysis is only just sketched out ; this is even more true for synthesis which is very briefly set out as a working hypothesis. Moreover, whereas some hypotheses for analysis are summed up in the TARSOM (columns 4-9) where they occupy an important place, the results of synthesis do not appear, and for good reason : there is only a practical stage, merely postulated. The author doe not hide that he will perhaps need years to complete the whole enterprise, and wants to suggest a method rather than results.

Whereas typology, morphology and characterology aim to identify and describe sound, analysis and synthesis seek to effect the transition from sound to the musical.

Analysis uses the pair Criterion/Dimension, to try to describe structures of criteria in the musical perceptual field, and to see if these positions in the field can give rise to échelles ; it occupies sector 4 of the 4 listening modes.

Synthesis uses the two pairs : Value/Characteristic and Variation/Texture, according to whether it is considered from the point of view of a discontinuous or a continuous relationship ; it occupies sector 1 (of the 4 listening modes).

(Source –Michel Chion (1983). Guide des Objets Sonores. Eds. Buchet/Chastel, Paris. 1995 translation by John Dack/Christine North.)



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