Composition by physical determinism

My first composition, “Gorged“, had no great compositional intent in it. It was more of a simple exploration of the possibilities of the interface I have built. ‘Learning to use the instrument’ so to speak.

My next composition has very strong compositional intent. It will be the first composition created by a set of rules I am calling ‘physical determinism’. There may be a better name. These rules, and an associated manifesto, will form the core of my doctoral thesis.

The initial concept of ‘physical determinism’ is:

Sounds can only be produced and processed by techniques which mimic the behaviour of sound in space.

The first compositional idea is to create one large mass of sounds, and position them very far (500m) from the listener. The sounds are fixed and cannot move. The listener will then slowly be moved towards the sounds until they are inside the mass… then move through it and away … all in one straight movement.

The idea is that it is the path of the listener moving through the fixed sounds that structures the composition in time.

The associated spatial sound effects that this will create are described by the diagram below:

A large mass of moving objects eventually envelopes the listener

There are 2 interesting things that will occur:

  1. The width of sound image will be very thin to start with then, as the mass moves towards the listener, it will slowly widen out until it totally surrounds the listener.
  2. The relative volumes of individual sound sources within the sound mass will vary dramatically as it gets closer to the listener.

Initially, all sounds will have the same volume but when close to the listener, some sounds will be up to 10 times louder than others.

The challenge is to come up with some form of sonic structure, melodic, harmonic, timbral or other, that can exploit these two phenomena.

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2 Responses to Composition by physical determinism

  1. Pingback: Quintessentially electroacoustic | Etienne Deleflie

  2. Pingback: Composition by physical determinism (2) | Etienne Deleflie

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