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Sound Notation: The visual representation of sound for composition and analysis
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Human Centered Technology, Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID. Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Institutionen för komposition, dirigering och musikteori. (Sound and Music Computing)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1239-6746
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This compilation thesis details steps taken to develop and evaluate a new Sound Notation system for composition, analysis, and transcription with the capacity to describe all types of sound. Ideas from electroacoustic music analysis are combined with traditional notation to form a hybrid system. In this notation, all symbols are related to physical qualities in the sound, so that a person or a computer can identify the symbols from their sonification or musical interpretation.

Pierre Schaeffer early identified musique concrète's lack of music theory and music vocabulary as a major problem for its integration with music theory and musicology. Schaeffer, Denis Smalley, and later Lasse Thoresen would go a long way to provide the genre of electroacoustic music with classification, terminology, and graphical symbols for the benefit of its study. But if we are to think of music as a language, it becomes apparent that the lack of a shared inter-subjective notation system is a problem. Such a notation system would provide sound-based music with possibilities that were previously only afforded music based on pitch structures. This includes transcriptions and re-interpretations of musical works, notation-based ear-training and (computer-aided) composition.

Abstract [sv]

Denna sammanläggningsavhandling beskriver steg som tagits för att utveckla och utvärdera Sound Notation, ett nytt notationssystem för komposition, analys och transkription med kapacitet att beskriva alla typer av ljud. Idéer från elektroakustisk musikanalys kombineras med traditionell notation för att bilda ett hybridsystem. I denna notation är alla symboler relaterade till fysiska egenskaper i ljudet, så att en person eller en dator kan identifiera symbolerna från deras sonifiering eller musikaliska tolkning.

Pierre Schaeffer identifierade tidigt musique concrètes brist på musikteori och musikvokabulär som ett stort problem för dess integration med musikteori och musikvetenskap. Schaeffer, Denis Smalley och senare Lasse Thoresen skulle gå långt för att förse genren elektroakustisk musik med klassificering, terminologi och grafiska symboler till förmån för dess studium. Men om vi ska tänka på musik som ett språk blir det uppenbart att avsaknaden av ett delat intersubjektivt notsystem är ett problem. Ett sådant notsystem skulle ge ljudbaserad musik möjligheter som tidigare endast erbjöds musik baserad på tonhöjdsstrukturer. Detta inkluderar transkriptioner och omtolkningar av musikaliska verk, notationsbaserad gehörsträning och (datorunderstödd) komposition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2023. , p. xii, 63
Series
TRITA-EECS-AVL ; 2023:39
Keywords [en]
notation, aural sonology, music analysis, electroacoustic music, computer-aided composition
National Category
Media and Communication Technology
Research subject
Media Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-327291ISBN: 978-91-8040-576-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-327291DiVA, id: diva2:1758712
Public defence
2023-06-07, https://kth-se.zoom.us/j/62182993824, Nathan Milsteinsalen, Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Valhallavägen 105, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20230523

Available from: 2023-05-23 Created: 2023-05-23 Last updated: 2023-06-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Visual Representation of Timbre
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Visual Representation of Timbre
2022 (English)In: Organised Sound, ISSN 1355-7718, E-ISSN 1469-8153, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 387-400Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This text deals with the difficult task of notating timbre by addressing how it can be classified, synthesised, recognised and related to visual correspondences, and then looking at the relevance of these topics for notational purposes. Timbre is understood as dependent on both spectral and time-dependent features that can be notated in ways that make sense in relation to both perception and acoustics. This is achieved by taking the starting point in Lasse Thoresen’s spectromorphological analysis. Symbols originally developed for perception-based analysis are adapted for use over a hybrid spectrum-staff system to indicate the spectral qualities of timbre. To test the system, it was used to transcribe excerpts of three classic electroacoustic music works. In addition to the benefit of being able to compare the three excerpts transcribed with the same system, there is the advantage that the visual representation is based on spectral measurable qualities in the music. The notation system’s intuitiveness was also explored in listening tests, showing that it was possible to understand spectral notation symbols placed over a staff system, particularly for examples with two sound objects instead of one.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2022
Keywords
Timbre, notation, electroacoustic music, aural sonology
National Category
Music
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326846 (URN)10.1017/s1355771822000541 (DOI)000898933900001 ()2-s2.0-85159407031 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20230522

Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2023-09-26Bibliographically approved
2. The visual representation of spatialisation for composition and analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The visual representation of spatialisation for composition and analysis
2019 (English)In: Combined proceedings of the Nordic Sound and Music Computing Conference 2019 and the Interactive Sonification Workshop 2019 / [ed] Andre Holzapfel and Sandra Pauletto, Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2019, p. 70-77Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The motivation for this text is my ongoing research into creating a uniform and comprehensive notation system for music regardless of sound sources, acoustic or electronic. I propose a way to visually represent the positions and movements of sound in composition and analysis of music which in different ways utilises space as a parameter. I address a number of aspects of spatialised music to take into account when defining a notation language for the music. I suggest visually representing the room in different ways depending on how the music relates to the concept of space: as projections from the center of a sphere for more structural work, or as coordinates in a cubic room for works that depict a physical or imagined space. I also show how these descriptions of space are integrated with my existing notation system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019
Keywords
Sonology, Notation, Spatialisation
National Category
Music
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326847 (URN)
Conference
Nordic Sound and Music Computing Conference 2019
Projects
The Harmony of Noise
Note

QC 20230522

Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2023-05-23Bibliographically approved
3. The notation of sound for composition and transcription: An adaptation of Lasse Thoresen's spectromorphological analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The notation of sound for composition and transcription: An adaptation of Lasse Thoresen's spectromorphological analysis
2020 (English)In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation -- TENOR'20 / [ed] Rama Gottfried, Georg Hajdu, Jacob Sello, Alessandro Anatrini, John MacCallum, Hamburg, 2020, p. 106-113Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper details my adaptation of Lasse Thoresen’s spectromorphological analysis notation for the sake of composition and transcription, re-imagining the analysis symbols for use over a spectrum staff system over which pitch and spectra can be indicated with great detail, and possibly interpreted by musicians and computers for performance. A sound object is notated with regard to its spectral width, density, centroid frequency, significant sound components, modulation and amplitude envelope. It can also have a spectrum reference. The symbols are placed over a spectrum grand-staff with a frequency scale to show each parameter both from a frequency and pitch perspective. Also included are suggestions for the visual representation of spatialisation where positions and movements are displayed in two or three dimensions above the sound notation while constant rotations are notated as modulations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hamburg: , 2020
Keywords
notation, sonology, analysis
National Category
Music
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326848 (URN)
Conference
TENOR'20
Note

Part of proceedings: ISBN 978-3-00-066930-9

QC 20230522

Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2023-05-23Bibliographically approved
4. Sonification of Complex Spectral Structures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sonification of Complex Spectral Structures
2022 (English)In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-4548, E-ISSN 1662-453X, Frontiers in Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-4548, Vol. 16Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we present our work on the sonification of notated complex spectral structures. It is part of a larger research project about the design of a new notation system for representing sound-based musical structures. Complex spectral structures are notated with special symbols in the scores, which can be digitally rendered so that the user can hear key aspects of what has been notated. This hearing of the notated data is significantly different from reading the same data, and reveals the complexity hidden in its simplified notation. The digitally played score is not the music itself but can provide essential information about the music in ways that can only be obtained in sounding form. The playback needs to be designed so that the user can make relevant sonic readings of the sonified data. The sound notation system used here is an adaptation of Thoresen and Hedman’s spectromorphological analysis notation. Symbols originally developed by Lasse Thoresen from Pierre Schaeffer’s typo-morphology have in this system been adapted to display measurable spectral features of timbrel structure for the composition and transcription of sound-based musical structures. Spectrum category symbols are placed over a spectral grand-staff that combines indications of pitch and frequency values for the combined display of music related to pitch-based and spectral values. Spectral features of a musical structure such as spectral width and density are represented as graphical symbols and sonically rendered. In perceptual experiments we have verified that users can identify spectral notation parameters based on their sonification. This confirms the main principle of sonification that is that the data/dimensions relations in one domain, in our case notated representation of spectral features, are transformed in perceived relations in the audio domain, and back.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media SA, 2022
Keywords
sonification, complex spectral structure, music, spectrum, perception, listening, comprehension
National Category
Music Media and Communications Media and Communication Technology Humanities and the Arts Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Media Technology; Human-computer Interaction; Art, Technology and Design; Information and Communication Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-310444 (URN)10.3389/fnins.2022.832265 (DOI)000787244500001 ()35360157 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85127350223 (Scopus ID)
Projects
The harmony of noise
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-03979
Note

QC 20230207

Available from: 2022-03-31 Created: 2022-03-31 Last updated: 2023-05-23Bibliographically approved
5. Notation as visual representation of sound-based music
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Notation as visual representation of sound-based music
2022 (English)In: Journal of New Music Research, ISSN 0929-8215, E-ISSN 1744-5027, Vol. 51, no 2-3, p. 186-202Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This text describes the musical evaluation of a hybrid music notation system that combines traditional notation with symbols and concepts from spectromorphological analysis. During three academic years from 2017 to 2020, three groups of composition students learned to work with sound notation, recreating and interpreting short electroacoustic music sketches based solely on their notation transcriptions – they had not heard the original sketches. The students’ score interpretations bore obvious similarities to the original music sketches and their written reflections showed that there were no major difficulties in understanding the notation although some difficulties existed concerning finding suitable sounds, especially sounds with stable pitch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxfordshire: Informa UK Limited, 2022
National Category
Music
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326849 (URN)10.1080/09298215.2023.2174144 (DOI)000932171100001 ()2-s2.0-85148068928 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20230522

Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2023-10-10Bibliographically approved
6. Computer-aided Composition Using a Sound-Based Notation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Computer-aided Composition Using a Sound-Based Notation
(English)In: Computer music journal, ISSN 0148-9267, E-ISSN 1531-5169Article in journal (Other academic) Accepted
Abstract [en]

This article describes the music data format of the recently introduced Sound Notation system, and how it makes possible computer-aided composition of scores represent- ing sound-based music. The Sound Notation system is an adaptation of Lasse Thoresen’s spectromorphological analysis notation, developed for composition and analysis. A detailed description of the data format is followed by two examples of its application in a computer-aided composi- tion process resulting in the sounding interpretation of two score excerpts of an electroacoustic composition. Generat- ing sound structures as symbolic notation data in this way provided possibilities for the creation of sound-based mu- sic otherwise limited to works of traditional notation.

Keywords
Computer-aided composition, notation, algorithmic composition
National Category
Music
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326850 (URN)
Projects
Sound Notation
Note

QC 20230522

Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2023-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf