EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Aural atoms and structures: From electroacoustic ear training to analysis and back again

Eldad Tsabary

Eldad Tsabary, Concordia University, Montreal


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Analysis in electroacoustics (Ea) is an aural necessity. We analyse to understand what we hear, but we also need trained ears in order to analyse, because analysis requires detailed content, which in Ea is available mostly in sonic forms (i.e. not in music scores). This interdependence of analysis and ear training has been the basis of Ea aural training courses at Concordia University in Montreal, which I have been developing for the past decade. These courses begin with an atomistic approach, which trains students in breaking aural stimuli into the smallest possible parts (aural atoms) and thus extracting more evidence for analysis from them. Once the students’ ears become focused and detailed, the courses proceed with a synergistic analytical approach, aimed at training students to assemble and integrate aural atoms into synergetic structures – perceivable higher-level units that have properties that are different from those of their parts. This structuring process provides additional evidence from higher hierarchical levels of organization. Precision, detail, and organization thus come from a spiralling rigorous practice of ear training and analysis back and forth.

EMS15 Proceedings