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Sound Notation

The visual representation of sound for composition and analysis

Time: Wed 2023-06-07 14.00

Location: Nathan Milsteinsalen, Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Valhallavägen 105

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Media Technology

Doctoral student: Sköld Mattias , Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID, Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Institutionen för komposition, dirigering och musikteori, Sound and Music Computing

Opponent: Professor Craig Vear, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Supervisor: Professor Roberto Bresin, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID; Professor Henrik Frisk, Kungl. Musikhögskolan i Stockholm; Associated professor Kjetil Falkenberg, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID

QC 20230523


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.