Spectromorphology

Musicology of Electroacoustic Music [MEM]  >  Analysis  >  Aural Analysis  ]

Spectromorphology is an approach to sound materials and musical structures which concentrates on the spectrum of available pitches and their shaping in time.

The concepts and terminology of spectromorphology are tools for describing and analysing listening experience. The two parts of the term refer to the interaction between sound spectra (spectro-) and the ways they change and are shaped through time (-morphology). The spectro- cannot exist without the -morphology and vice versa: something has to be shaped, and a shape must have sonic content. Although spectral content and temporal shaping are indissolubly linked, we need to conceptually to be able to separate them for discursive purposes - we cannot in the same breath describe what is shaped and the shapes themselves.

Each component of the term belongs to other disciplines (visual, linguistic, biological, geological), which is fitting since musical experience radiates across disciplines.

A spectromorphological approach sets out spectral and morphological models and processes, and provides a framework for understanding structural relations and behaviours as experienced in the temporal flux of the music. (Sources - Denis Smalley (1986). Spectro-morphology and Structuring Processes, in Simon Emmerson, ed. The Language of Electroacoustic Music. Basingstoke: Macmillan); Denis Smalley (1997). Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound-shapes. Organised Sound Vol. 2, No. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.)

 

See also:

Aural Analysis, Causality, Discourse within Electroacoustic Music, Gesture, Indicative Fields and Networks, Listening Experience, Modes of Listening, Morphology, Schaefferian Theory, Spectral Analysis, Spectrum, Surrogacy

 

Bibliography:

English - Español - Français - Deutch - Italiano

Alphabetical order - Chronological order

Bernardini, Nicola, Rudi, J°ran (2002). Compositional Use of Digital Audio Effects
Ferreira, Giselle Martins dos Santos (1997). A Perceptual Approach to the Analysis of J. C. Risset’s {Sud}: Sound, structure and symbol
Fischman, Rajmil (1997b). Analysis of {Crosstalk}: A work by Michael Vaughan
Gates, Philippa, Rudy, Paul (2005). Spectromorphology Hits Hollywood: Morphology, Objectification and Moral Messages in the Sound Design of ‘Black Hawk Down’
Harchanko, Joseph (2003). Spectro-morphology and Structure. An Analysis of Gilles Gobeil’s {Le Vertige Inconnu}
Kendall, Gary S. (2006). Juxtaposition and Non-motion: VarŔse bridges early modernism to electroacoustic music
Landy, Leigh (2007a). Understanding the Art of Sound Organization
Menezes, Flo (1997). To Be and Not To Be: Aspects of the Interaction Between Instrumental and Electronic Compositional Methods
PATTON, Kevin (2007). Morphological notation for interactive electroacoustic music
Smalley, Denis (1982a). Problems of Materials and Structure in Electro-Acoustic Music (part 1)
Smalley, Denis (1982b). Problems of Materials and Structure in Electro-Acoustic Music (part 2)
Smalley, Denis (1986). Spectro-morphology and Structuring Processes
Smalley, Denis (1991). Spatial Experience in Electro-acoustic Music
SMALLEY, Denis (1992a). Can electroacoustic music be analysed? (La musica elettroacustica pu˛ essere analizzata?)
Smalley, Denis (1993). Defining Transformations
Smalley, Denis (1995b). La spectromorphology: une explication des formes du son
Smalley, Denis (1996). La spettromorfologia: una spiegazione delle forme del suono.
Smalley, Denis (1997). Spectromorphology: Explaining sound-shapes
Smalley, Denis (1999). ╔tablissement de cadres relationnels pour l’analyse de la musique postschaefferienne
Thoresen, Lasse, Hedman, Andreas (2007). Spectromorphological analysis of sound objects: an adaptation of Pierre Schaeffer’s typomorphology
Truax, Barry (1982). Timbral Construction in {Arras} as a Stochastic Process
Vaggione, Horacio (1996b). Articulating Microtime
Whalley, Ian (1999). Beyond Pitch/Duration Scoring: Towards A System Dynamics Model Of Electroacoustic Music
Wyatt, Scott A. (1999). Investigative Studies on Sound Diffusion/Projection
Young, John (2002a). The Interaction of Sound Identities in Electroacoustic Music
Young, John (2004). Sound Morphology and the Articulation of Structure in Electroacoustic Music

 

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