EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Toward a Listening Based Taxonomy for Live Electronic Processing of Sound. Case study: Works produced at LIEM

Adolfo Núñez

Adolfo Núñez, Universidad Autónoma – Departmento de Música, Cantoblanco – Madrid, Spain


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This paper is part of a bigger project, which has the goal to find a taxonomy for live sound processing, intended to be applied from the listener viewpoint and independent of technology implementation. Trying to classify various types of sound processing from a musical viewpoint could be useful for music analysis and for understanding the real contribution of live sound processing to the music. A useful classification needs the definition of relevant criteria that could be applied to any type or work and to the listener experience. As a first prototype, we have applied and tested several criteria on the analysis of 25 musical works by Spanish composers produced at the LIEM environment. These criteria included among other: 1) processing severity or the relation degree between original and processed sound, 2) time behaviour such as static, dynamic and modulating, 3) general relationship with live instruments, 4) perceptual attribute that is processed, clustered around duration, pitch, timbre and texture, and 5) relationship with space. The collected data have shown several global features on the studied repertoire, which can lead to conclusions about composer preferences and trends. In this particular set of works we see that the most used type of live sound processing is that of placing the live source in a virtual space, followed at some distance by timbre transformation.

EMS12 Proceedings