Issue thematic title: Perceptual Issues Surrounding the Electroacoustic Listening Experience
Date of Publication: April 2019
Publishers: Cambridge University Press
Issue co-ordinator: Sven-Amin Lembke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: 15 May 2018
The great diversity in compositional and stylistic approaches in electroacoustic music yields listening experiences that touch on a wide array of issues related to auditory perception. From the early days of musique concrète, the roles of different modes of listening have been discussed. While proponents of écoute reduite were concerned with approaches to sever the bond between sound and its physical source or cause and with how to develop auditory skills to achieve this ‘reduced’ listening mode, other electroacoustic practitioners have remained sceptical of its general feasibility in real-world listening conditions, instead embracing ‘source bonding’ as central to their own work with recorded/found sounds. Even among the members of the latter approach, the palette ranges from unrestrained recontextualisation of sounds into imaginary settings to the stricter adherence to acoustic ecology found in soundscape composition. But note, not only the sound source carries meaning.
Under the assumption of écoute reduite, i.e., involving a focus on sound qualities as opposed to sound identities, the concept of spectromorphology sets the scene to numerous auditory parameters, related to either traditional musical parameters or more recent electroacoustic notions of spectral and spatial categories with their respective dimensionalities. Furthermore, the vocabulary used for expression and narration commonly employs analogies to extra-sonic phenomena, such as gestures, shapes, motion or growth, with these analogies involving any of the musical parameters. The combinatorial possibilities arising from these pairings result in manifold musical options as well as perceptual outcomes. Alongside the evolution of electroacoustic music, some practitioners have attempted to develop theoretical or conceptual frameworks regarding electroacoustic vocabulary and language. Some offer greater detail, some are less specific in terms of their perceptual implications, while all would still benefit from further perceptual validation. Where do these theories currently stand concerning the perceptual reality of contemporary listening experiences, for instance, when source identification does play a role, and where may they still be headed?
With regard to the performance or diffusion of electroacoustic works, the established convention of the acousmatic experience clearly emphasises the auditory realm by obscuring visual cues but also by expanding into the spatial dimension, thus achieving greater immersion of listeners. Even a good percentage of performed electroacoustic music retains this acousmatic character. Within this physical realm of spectrum, space, and time, how are musical parameters used effectively, taking into account potential differences in the nature and origin of sounds (synthesis, samples, treatment)? What can be said about perceptual constraints or affordances along the physical dimensions or about the necessity of more perceptually balanced dependencies or scales? Indeed, electroacoustic practice has continually involved experimentation and innovation, at times having made effective use of auditory illusions or trompes d’oreilles (e.g., Risset’s infinite glissando), and reminding ourselves of the perceptual issues involved may reinforce this trend in the future.
We invite contributions with the aim to contextualise electroacoustic practice into relevant perceptual constraints and affordances, by drawing on past experience, contemporary practices or sketching out future endeavours. This should ideally consider and incorporate established knowledge from psychoacoustics or related issues on the perception and cognition of music. This Organised Sound issue welcomes a dialogue between the disciplines of electroacoustic music and psychology, including empirical work, but we kindly ask for submissions to address an audience of electroacoustic music studies, i.e., an audience not necessarily versed in standard methods of psychological research.
Contributions can address or be oriented toward, but not restricted to, the following themes:
- Listening modes, e.g., how they still inform contemporary composition; the need for listening training or evidence regarding its success
- The role of source bonding, e.g., embracing vs. avoiding, if not even ignoring
- Spectromorphology, e.g., its musical parameters such as texture, gesture, their psychoacoustic correspondences; how auditory scene analysis (Bregman, 1990) may serve as a perceptual framework for the listening experience
- Physical dimensions spectrum (frequency, amplitude), space, and time, their use in perceptually and musically effective ways; explorations of psychoacoustically informed dependencies, scales or control strategies
- Cross-modal perceptual analogies of audition to vision (e.g., shape), to proprioception (e.g., gesture, motion), to tactition (e.g., texture) and their possible extrinsic links and surrogacies
- Auditory illusions or trompes d’oreilles
- Does intention-reception equal intention-perception? To what extent do intentions align with the perceptual realities?
As always, submissions related to the theme are encouraged; however, those that fall outside the scope of this theme are always welcome.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 15 May 2018
Notes for Contributors and further details can be obtained from the inside back cover of published issues of Organised Sound or at the following url:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayMoreInfo?jid=OSO&type=ifc (and download the pdf)
Properly formatted email submissions and general queries should be sent to: email@example.com, not to the guest editors.
Hard copy of articles and images and other material (e.g., sound and audio-visual files, etc. – normally max. 15’ sound files or 8’ movie files), both only when requested, should be submitted to:
Prof. Leigh Landy
De Montfort University
Leicester LE1 9BH, UK.
Accepted articles will be published online via FirstView after copy editing prior to the paper version of the journal’s publication.
Editor: Leigh Landy
Associate Editors: Ross Kirk and Richard Orton†
Regional Editors: Ricardo Dal Farra, Jøran Rudi, Margaret Schedel, Barry Truax, Ian Whalley, David Worrall, Lonce Wyse
International Editorial Board: Marc Battier, Manuella Blackburn, Joel Chadabe, Alessandro Cipriani, Simon Emmerson, Kenneth Fields, Rajmil Fischman, Eduardo Miranda, Rosemary Mountain, Tony Myatt, Garth Paine, Mary Simoni, Martin Supper, Daniel Teruggi