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NEXT WEEK. Techniques workshop 1, MacLab (CC-213) Everyone must bring their own set of headphones (1/8” jack) Bring your laptop if you have one with audio editing and montage software

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NEXT WEEK

Techniques workshop 1, MacLab (CC-213)

  • Everyone must bring their own set of headphones (1/8” jack)

  • Bring your laptop if you have one with audio editing and montage software

  • Most students will work in groups of two; although there are 20 workstations, there are only 10 software licenses available; headphone splitters will be provided

  • Topics to be covered over the series of workshops include:

    • Building textures / layering schemes

    • Making transitions between textures

    • Using and constructing gestural sound objects

    • Structuring sound objects and textures

    • Conceptual / contextual manipulations

  • Everyone will work from the same set of sounds, which will be in a shared folder on the hard drives of the various workstations

  • Lab work is evaluated in the EAMT 203 portfolio

mikep@alcor.concordia.ca http://alcor.concordia.ca/~mikep/eamt203


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Spectrum of possibilities between…

Range of choices from…

Composition Process

  • Points to be included in:

  • Portfolio documentation

  • Listening assignment reviews

  • Concert reports

  • Acousmatic aesthetic as favoring:

  • Non-pitched sounds or unstable/complex pitches

  • Arhythmic or unmetered time organization

  • Inharmonic sound layering

  • Heavy processing of recognizable timbres

  • Unstylized dynamic contrasts

  • Avoidance of known styles

  • Subtle & transformative treatment of form

  • Para-musical dichotomy: abstract/conceptual

  • Music defined as containing:

  • Clear, stable pitches & pitch systems

  • Pulse-based, metered rhythms

  • Harmonic systems (chords, keys, etc.)

  • Pitch/rhythm producing timbres

  • Stylized dynamic fluctuations

  • Recognizable styles

  • Large scale forms and structures

  • Para-musical factors (gestures, concepts)

  • DECISION AREA #1: BASIC APPROACH AND MATERIALS FOR:

  • SOUND OBJECTS

  • TEXTURES

  • ENTIRE PIECES

  • Conceptual framing:

  • Calculated

  • Left brain

  • Intuitive construction

  • Flexible & spontaneous

  • Right brain

Acousmatic materials

  • Recognizable materials

  • Nature

  • Culture

  • Music


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DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept

Composition Process

1. Spectrum

2. Amplitude


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Sonogram A:

Harmonicmultiples of

the fundamental

Fundamentalfrequency

Sonogram B:

Thick clustersof partials not reinforcing anyparticular frequency

3. Frequency - pitched & unpitched sounds

Sonograms show us if a sound has a stable, organized pitch, or not:

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 9x, 10x, 11x, etc.

2nd harm. 2 x 450 = 900 Hz

3rd harm. 3 x 450 = 1350 Hz

4th harm. 4 x 450 = 1.8 kHz

1st harmonic ~450 Hz

3. Frequency - pitched & unpitched sounds

Pitched sounds have ordered harmonics, onlycover specific parts of spectrum

Unpitched sounds (e.g. ‘hits’, hiss in this file) cover full stretches of spectrum

6

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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(A regularly repeating wave cycle such as this one will generate a stable pitch)

(This irregular waveform, which contains little of no repetition, will not generate a stable pitch)

Frequency - pitched & unpitched sounds

Parts of a zoomed-in oscillogram (not the attack) can give us clues about whether the sound is pitched or non-pitched:

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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3. generate a stable pitch)Frequency - pitched & unpitched sounds

Pitched sounds can also be stable (e.g. the examples looked at so far) or unstable (the violin note-gliss-vibrato note below):

5

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Estherhazy Palace Hall, Austria, where most of the classical composer Haydn’s works were performed in his lifetime. Reverb time: 1.2 seconds

Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, a major European concert hall. Reverb time: 2.0 seconds

Powell Hall, St. Louis Reverb time: 2.2 seconds

4. Space

Spatial behavior / perception of sound

Especially in indoor environments, the sound we hear is not only the direct vibrations made by the object, person or process, but a number of echoes and reverberations laid on top of the direct sound, the nature of which is generally referred to as (room) acoustics.

The time it takes for reverberated sound to die down to below the threshold of hearing is called the reverb decay, and is given in seconds or milliseconds

[SWP; OPCH]

Concert halls and other listening environments are / were designed to create a pleasing (but not too confusing) reverberation, in the 1.5 - 2.0 second range:

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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4. Space

Recording studios, on the other hand, are designed with shorter reverb times, because this allows for more control of recorded signals.

But contrary to what many people think, a completely ‘dead’ studio acoustic (i.e., reverb time < 0.3 sec) was only ever considered the ideal in the late 70s and 80s.

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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4. Space

Recording studios, on the other hand, are designed with shorter reverb times, because this allows for more control of recorded signals.

But contrary to what many people think, a completely ‘dead’ studio acoustic (i.e., reverb time < 0.3 sec) was only ever considered the ideal in the late 70s and 80s.

Today, most studio control rooms have reverb times between 0.5 - 0.8 sec, while recording rooms vary from 0.3 sec (e.g., booths for recording voiceovers) to rooms that can be ‘opened up’ to over 1.0 secs when carpeting and other acoustic baffling is removed.

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Speaker clusters for a stadium rock concert

4. Space

Arenas and other large concert venues not designed for sound present the challenge of very long reverb times (>3-4 seconds) that can confuse listeners with too much overlap.

This is usually dealt with by providing as much direct sound to as many parts of the venue as possible.

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Mono

=

=

Stereo

L

R

5.1 surround

8.1 surround(double diamond)

7.1 surround

8.1 surround(shoebox)

Stereo butterfly &

discrete 8-channel

possibilitiesat

HarvestMoon,

OPCHOct. 3-5 & at EUCUE (late Oct. & Nov.)

Composition Process

DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

4. Space

  • Two levels of space usage in this example:

  • channel (L-R) manipulation

  • spatial properties in the sounds themselves

7

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Composition Process

DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

5. Rhythm

  • Examples played showed a range of possibilities for rhythmic use in EA, including:

  • Metered sound objects mixed low enough that the rhythmic elements serve more as a color than a driving force

  • Metered sound objects layered with other dominant non-rhythmic elements that form a strong counterpoint

  • Rhythmic sound objects that are complex to the point of obscuring any obvious metric organization

  • Several different meters and tempos layered together in textures such that no rhythmic element dominates

  • Rhythmic sound objects or textures used as a transitory presence that sometimes comes forward but is masked or fades into the background at other points

Musical example: excerpt fromStravinsky

8

EA examples:

9-15

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Composition Process

DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

6. Layering / Texture

Musical example: excerpt fromAarvo Pärt

16

EA examples:

17-18

In workshops, different types of layering / texture schemes will be worked on: homogenous, homophonic, polyphonic, antiphonal, etc.

7. Gesture

Definition: The energy profile of any sound-producing real-world action (natural or mechanical).

Musical example: Penderecki, String Quartet no. 1

19

  • Gestural sounds often evoke conceptual elements because of the real-world contexts they may be connected to

  • Also closely linked to the use of gesture is the notion of causality

  • (i.e.,the perceived link between a gestural sound and its aftermath)

EA examples:

20-25

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Composition Process

DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

In EA, any calculated or intuitively derived level of organization at the macro- or micro- levels of a piece, texture or sound object

8. Structure

Musical example: Theme & variations, Bernard Hermann, Citizen Kane breakfast montage

26

EA examples:

27, 28

Workshop example: A-B-A structural possibilities

Unprocessed Sound - Processed Sound - Unprocessed Sound

Based on Sound Source #1 - Based on Sound Source #2 - Based on Sound Source #1

Lower Frequencies - Higher Frequencies - Lower Frequencies

Recognizable Sounds - Acousmatic Sounds - Recognizable Sounds

Thin Texture - Dense Texture - Thin Texture

Largely Static - More Rhythmic - Largely Static

Music-Based Sounds - Nature-Based Sounds - Music-Based Sounds

Vocal/Body Gestures - Machine Sounds - Vocal/Body Gestures

Soft, Crescendo - Loud - Decrescendo, Soft

Note-Like Sound Sources - Noise-Like Sound Sources - Note-Like Sound Sources

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept


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Composition Process

DECISION AREA #2: PARAMETERS (micro- and macro- levels)

9. Concept

Definition: In EA, any piece affected by sound elements carrying associations, images and ideas from wider societal and cultural contexts.

Text & speech elements are common carriers of concepts

Any recognizable sounds have the potential to evoke the imagery or associationsthat concept-driven pieces require.

It is common for concept pieces to contain narrative, reportage or documentary elements

But it is equally possible to treat the concepts touched on in an EA piece relatively abstractly, with no clear ‘message’ or story.

Musical example: any song with lyrics

EA examples:

29-33

Spectrum / Amplitude / Frequency / Space / Rhythm / Layering / Gesture / Structure / Concept