EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Timbre as Vertical Process: Attempting a Perceptually Informed Functionality of Timbre

Anthony Tan

Anthony Tan, McGill University, Department of Music Research (Composition) / Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT)


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This paper suggests a perceptually informed compositional model of timbre functionality. A functionality of timbre may refer to the compositional control of timbre in order to generate experiences of tension, the perception of which, serves as an important link between the recognition of form-bearing dimensions and subjective emotional response. Utilizing the psychoacoustic models of Spectral Fusion (McAdams, 1982) and Auditory Scene Analysis (Bregman, 1994), parameters that affect the formation or segregation of a perceptually unified timbre source are compositionally manipulated. Two attempts at the model are suggested and discussed. The paper ends with a discussion of the micro-temporal control of timbre.

EMS14 Proceedings