Statistical Listening

Musicology of Electroacoustic Music [MEM]  >  Listening Experience  ]

The concept of statistics is taken from mathematics and is used in a sense analogous to the statistical surveys that give the average values present in any given complex. In musical terms this means that from the listener’s point of view there will be elements, partial forms and individual groups which fuse into a whole from which they can no longer be disentangled. The composer establishes such statistical criteria beforehand and proceeds to work with them; thus he does not regard the form as a mere aggregation of the individual elements with all their properties, but rather he proceeds from the organising principle itself-from statistical criteria. In a kind of music in which the individual note plays a subordinate part in a conglomeration or pile-up of notes, something which in itself may be very complicated becomes a matter of simplicity. The criteria of statistical composition are determined by the boundaries of the clouds of density and by their proportional frequency of occurrence. One cannot account for the whole on the basis of the individual part, for the whole is conceived as the probable result of many components. (Source - Reduced from Karl H. Wörner (1973). Stockhausen: Life and Work. (Hopkins, B. ed., trans.) Faber and Faber.)

 

See also:

Listening Strategy

 

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