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Compositional Languages Fall 2012. Instructor: Prof. SIGMAN Tuesday 13:00-15:00 Lecture XII (LAST LECTURE!). End-of-Semester Schedule. 12/04: Musical “ Timbre ” 12/11: Final Project Presentations; Study Guide distributed 12/18: FINAL EXAM ( 시험 ). Assignment III. DUE TODAY! ( 오늘 ).

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Compositional Languages Fall 2012

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compositional languages fall 2012

Compositional LanguagesFall 2012

Instructor: Prof. SIGMAN

Tuesday 13:00-15:00


end of semester schedule
End-of-Semester Schedule
  • 12/04: Musical “Timbre”
  • 12/11: Final Project Presentations; Study Guide distributed
  • 12/18: FINAL EXAM (시험)
assignment iii
Assignment III
  • DUE TODAY! (오늘)
  • I. Musical Timbre Defined (?)
  • II. Musical Timbre Structured: Klangfarbenmelodie
  • III. Musical Timbre Classified: Musique concrète
  • IV. Musical Timbre Analysed I: Melody-Harmony-Timbre-Orchestration
  • V. Musical Timbre Analysed II: Cross-Synthesis
  • VI. Noise
a dictionary definition
A. Dictionary Definition
  • “the character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from pitch and intensity”
  • Origin: French (timbre); Greek (tumpanon) = “drum”
what does this mean
What does this mean?

Timbre is:

  • NOT pitch/harmony (but related)
  • NOT rhythm
  • NOT intensity
  • NOT register
  • So what is it?
imprecise timbre descriptors
(Imprecise) Timbre descriptors
  • Rough/smooth
  • Rich/poor
  • Thick/thin
  • Complex/simple
  • Nasal
  • Flute-ish, Violin-ish, etc.
  • Stable/unstable
  • Attack-oriented/resonant
  • ???
helmholtz fourier definition
Helmholtz/Fourier Definition
  • Complex tone = sum of sinusoids
problem with helmholtz theory
Problem with Helmholtz’ Theory
  • Timbre defined as time-constant (or “steady-state”) spectrum
  • Most sounds are time-varying (change in time)
2 spectral envelope
2. Spectral Envelope
  • Unfolding of a sound’s spectrum over time

e.g., brass instruments: high harmonics rise later than lower ones

3 other sources of time variation
3. Other Sources of Time Variation
  • Vibrato (frequency variation) and tremolo (amplitude variation)
  • Crescendo: gradual shift in spectral energy, tuning, resonance, pitch-to-noise ratio
d j k randall three lectures to scientists 1967
D. J.K. Randall, “Three lectures to scientists” (1967)

“It seems to me that any psycho‐acoustician who forges ahead blithely out of touch with current concerns in musical analysis and musical composition is putting himself in an excellent position to produce silly science, silly music, or silly both.”

e composer definitions
E. Composer Definitions
  • 1) timbre as distinct and mobile “parameter”?
  • 2) as reducible to quantifiable, atomic parameters?
  • 3) timbre-harmony-pitch (+ rhythm) continuum/ambiguity/fusion? In Ravel, Wagner, Scelsi, spectral music…
  • 4) as determined by human “modes of production” and/or anatomy of the instrument (e.g., scordatura)
  • 5) as multi-dimensional and constantly in flux
a klangfarbenmelodie
A. Klangfarbenmelodie
  • “The evaluation of tone color, the second dimension of tone, is in a much less cultivated, much less organized state than is the aesthetic evaluation of pitch…Now, if it is possible to create patterns out of pitches, patterns we call ‘melodies,’ progressions, whose coherence evokes an effect analogous to thought processes, then it must be also possible to make progressions out of…tone color, progressions whose relations to one another work with a kind of logic entirely equivalent to that logic which satisfies us in the melody of pitches.” –Schönberg, Harmonielehre, 1911
  • “tone colour” progressions = structured like chord progressions and melodies
  • Tone colour = “the second dimension of tone”
b a sch nberg farben
B. A.Schönberg, “Farben”
  • 5 Orchestra Pieces, op. 16, no. 3 (1909)
  • Use of Klangfarbenmelodie
  • Process: harmony changes slowly
  • Canon between 2 groups of instruments
  • Tone colour “progression” as second layer to harmonic progression
score analysis recording
a musique concr te
A. Musique concrète
  • 1940s: Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry experiment with transforming recorded sounds using analog equipment in Radio France studios
  • Sources: sounds from the outside world
  • Processes: Classical forms and phrase structure applied
musique concr te example etude aux chemins de fer 1948
Musique concrète example: Etude aux chemins de fer (1948)
  • Sources: train (railroad) sounds
  • “Unnatural” ordering and repetition
  • Source sounds -> SOUND OBJECTS (objets sonores), separated from their original CONTEXT
b pierre schaeffer trait des objets musicaux 1968
B. Pierre Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux (1968)
  • “Treatise on musical objects”
  • Treatise on the classification (분류하기)of all timbres into a solfège
1 reduced hearing
1. “Reduced Hearing”
  • Separation of objet sonore (sound object) from its source
  • Elimination of source-bonding (pairing of source with sound object)
  • Reduction of universe of sounds to sound-object categories
  • Psychological, rather than acoustic classification system
2 schaeffer s sound classification scheme
2. Schaeffer’s sound classification scheme
  • 2 main criteria: mass and treatment
  • M1 = pure tones
  • M2 = complex pitched sounds
  • M3 = complex, non-variable sounds
  • M4 = slightly varying sounds
  • M5 = highly varying sounds
treatment facture
Treatment (facture):
  • F1-F3: Continuous
  • F4: Impulsive
  • F5-F7: Discontinuous
schaeffer and the objet musical
Schaeffer and the Objet musical
  • Musical contexts for sound objects
  • Class: musical morphology
  • Genus: musical character
  • Species: musical character, intensity, etc.
  • This classification system encourages analytic and intimate listening experience of sounds
schaeffer introduction solf ge de l objet sonore 1967
Schaeffer Introduction: Solfège de l’objet sonore (1967)
  • Can the sound really be separated from its source? Does the sound not contain its source?
  • As sounds change in time, are they best described as objects?
example jean claude risset mutations 1969
Example: Jean-Claude Risset, Mutations (1969)
  • For electronics
  • Melody-> harmony-> bell timbre
  • Steady-state (time-constant) timbre
  • Inharmonic partials
  • Similar to harmonies and orchestration based upon trombone spectrum in Grisey’s Partiels
score and recording excerpt
Score and Recording Excerpt

a cross synthesis defined
A. Cross-Synthesis Defined
  • Creation of hybrid sound by combining spectral or temporal properties of time-constant OR time-varying sounds
  • E.g.: a violin with a trumpet amplitude envelope
  • E.g.: A bell with a voice spectral envelope
b jonathan harvey b 1939 mortuous plango vivos voco 1980
B. Jonathan Harvey (b. 1939): Mortuous plango, vivos voco (1980)
  • What’s going on here?
a definitions
A. Definitions
  • 1) loud, unpleasant disturbance
  • 2) confusion
  • 3) irregular fluctations (변동) in a signal
b acoustic reality
B. Acoustic Reality
  • Random amplitude fluctuations
  • No regular integer harmonics: all frequencies present
c types of noise
C. Types of Noise
  • White
  • Pink
  • Brown
d noise tone continuum
D. Noise-Tone Continuum
  • There is no place where tone ends and noise begins
  • Therefore: tone and noise fall along a continuum
e peter ablinger der regen das glas das lachen 1992
E. Peter Ablinger: Der Regen, das Glas, das Lachen (1992)
  • Explores continuum between pure tone and white noise
너무 감사합니다!
  • Next week: PRESENTATIONS! 