Doctoral research

Doctoral dissertation in progress:
The Noise-Pitch Continuum


keywords: timbral composition, timbre space, noise, advanced instrumental sounds, auditory perception, FFT analysis, timbral descriptors, spectromorphology, complex timbres, timbral voice-leading, sound situations, sound dramaturgy, Froise.

I am conducting this dissertation project at HAMU, Prague since October 2018, with Michal Rataj as my main supervisor. This study will seek to answer the following music-theoretical desiderata related to recent repertoire:

■ how to analyse recent compositions that are conceived timbrally and especially with various types of acoustic noise sounds

■ to develop an analytical method that is informed by spectral (FFT) analysis done on a computer yet that can be applied also purely based on the ear alone

■ how the continuum between noise and pitch could be further refined in a perceptually relevant way; in October 2018, I defined the term Froise sounds (frequency cores in noise) as the perceptually balanced and multistable middle ground sounds that are located between noise and pitch

■ how concretely are Froise sounds present (auditively, in spectral analysis and in notation) in the repertoire, which roles do they have in sound dramaturgy, and does Froise succeed in bridging the historical divide between timbre-based, sound-object-based, pitch-based, and noise based composition

■ to integrate various aspects from existing literature from different language spheres and provide analytical tools for noisy sounds, methods that can ultimately also be used for composition

■ how to extend the meaning of conventional voice-leading (supported by its psychoacoustical and Gestaltic principles) to noise-based acoustic repertoire

■ can the rough and one-dimensional notions of noisiness be relegated to a secondary place, in favour of our concepts that are based on 15 types of spectral observations

■ to show underlying aural infrastructure, segmentation, and strategies in timbral space in recent repertoire by composers such as Bauckholt, Furrer, and Sciarrino in detail, as well as passages by many more living composers

■ score examples of analysed repertoire will be included. Related permissions have been received from the composers themselves and from Editions Jobert.

Publication is planned for 2022. This doctoral project has been to a small part funded and has included compositions, their premieres, teaching, lecturing, travel, writing articles, development of a computer programme, and interviews.