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Notes, sounds, outsides and insides: Perspectives on pitch in acousmatic music

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Acousmatic music has facilitated some of the most radical extensions of musical materials and methods available to the composer, moving beyond the traditional instrumental paradigm centred on melodic and harmonic forms derived from focal pitch that can be conveniently notated in the abstract form of a score. Two perspectives on the role and perception of pitch in acousmatic music are considered. First, in works of complex textural and spectral construction in which, as an inherently salient dimension of listening, perception of pitch can function as an important element of structural focus and definition. Second, it is viewed from a spectralist approach to sound materials, where components of the partial structure of a physical object’s sound can be made available as individual and timbrally related pitch identities but which retain an organic connection to a source sound. Analytical examples are drawn from widely available works from the acousmatic repertoire. Sound examples (in 44.1kHz 24 bit format) can be found at: https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/8946
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Keywords: acousmatic music; analysis of electroacoustic music; musical pitch; musical textures; spectral music; timbre

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: De Montfort University

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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