Soundscape: From Perception to Electroacoustic Composition

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Type: 
Master, Doctorate and Post-Doctorate
Main researcher: 
João Castro Pinto (100%)
Team elements (%affectation): 
Investigator: João Castro Pinto (100%); Advisor: Prof. Dr. António de Sousa Dias
Abstract: 

Soundscape is both the specific characteristics of an acoustic environment and the result of a musical composition constructed through the organisation of sounds, modified or unaltered, in their morphology through electroacoustic signal processes.
This project aims to analyse, within the scope of music computing, the phenomenological-aesthetic and technological implications of this musical genre/current with particular emphasis on the study of the perception (bearing in mind the current scientific conclusions about psycho-acoustics and phenomenology) and the technologies of creation/composition. A hermeneutic will be drawn up to contribute to a critical analysis of the main compositional technologies that are specific to this creative area.
The project is divided into two complementary components: a theoretical survey that will analyse the essential concepts regarding this area, aligning unknown points of view for an understanding of the practice of Soundscape Composition, and a technical dimension which will consider composition processes and propose new approaches of a technological nature.

Objectives: 
  1. Contribute to a reflection on perception (as a sense that involves the mental representation of the sound) as a catalyst of sensations referring to sound temporal events that provide the awareness of the soundscape. To do this we will analyse the concepts of phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger) comparing them to the new concepts of the Philosophy of Sound such as sonic realism and anti-ocular-centrism (the problem of aural perception will be equivocally explored according to the principles of visual reception) and the Philosophy of Technology (the non-neutrality of techne, for instance). We will consider a new approach of the proactive role of the reception of soundscape composition, i.e., the genesis of a reception that is more hearing than listening. In this regard we will analyse, among others, Pauline Oliveros’ concepts and practices of deep listening. We will study the musical typologies that preceded soundscape composition: concrete, acousmatic and electroacoustic music as avant-garde artistic movements, and remarkable composers, contextually framing the present investigation.
  2. Criticise the techniques / technologies associated with the compositional specificities of soundscape, exposing the most recent developments in sound recordings (field recordings + microphones / recorders) and audio signal processing, such as software and treatment algorithms / real time sound control: genetic algorithms, dynamic control via biological inputs, sensors and touchscreens. We aim to contribute to the creation of new tools for soundscape composition by designing programmes (VST – Virtual Studio Technology plugins, for example) in software such as: Max-MSP, Csound and SuperCollider. A criticism will be submitted to TAPESTREA. – Techniques And Paradigms for Expressive Synthesis, Transformation and Rendering of Environmental Audio – the only software to date especially dedicated to the composition with environmental sound.
  3. Demarcate this investigation from the main lines of acoustic ecology, promoting the functional separation between the two concepts: soundscape and soundscape composition.
Activities: 


Publications:

  • 
Publication of the paper entitled “What is a Soundscape Composition: towards a paradigmatic definition” in Emille Volume 10, journal of the Korean Electro-Acoustic Music Society, to be published in April 2013. This paper was selected, within the scope of an international call for papers, to be presented at the 2012 KEAMS conference at the University of Seoul, and was later selected for publication in the KEAMS annual review. The article is published in the proceedings of the conference and according to the above will be published in PDF and physical format, quite soon.
  • Article published in issue nº 3 of CITAR magazine, Autumn 2011, entitled “O Estatuto da Interactividade na Arte Computacional: Aporias Formais - Questionamentos e Constrangimentos Conceptuais Patentes na Produção de Obras Artísticas via Sistemas Computacionais com Dispositivos Interactivos.”

The investigator expects to take part in forthcoming conferences, namely the 2nd International Conference of the Destellos Foundation entitled: "Resonances of thought …art, science and philosophy", held at the National University of Mar del Plata in Argentina, from 3 to 5 October 2013.

State: 
Ongoing
Research group: 
Computer Music and Sound
Summary: 

Soundscape is both the specific characteristics of an acoustic environment and the result of a musical composition constructed through the organisation of sounds, modified or unaltered, in their morphology through electroacoustic signal processes. This project aims to analyse, within the scope of music computing, the phenomenological-aesthetic and technological implications of this musical genre/current with particular emphasis on the study of the perception (bearing in mind the current scientific conclusions about psycho-acoustics and phenomenology) and the technologies of creation/composition.
05/2014