An analytical system for electronic music

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Moylan, William
Scott, Cleve L.
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Thesis (D.A.)
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An Analytical System for Electronic Music is a systematized method for the analysis of an electronic work and is directed towards making electronic music (E. M.) more accessible to the general audience and the experienced analyst.The uniqueness of E. M. is characterized by new sonic materials. These new sonic compositions require new methods of analysis. Because electronic music composition is sound dependent, a look at the surface, syntax, and the way in which the different hierarchical levels interact had to be considered. The word "topography" was adapted to conceptualize the formal and structural principles of the medium.In most cases scores are not available for electronic music compositions.Because of this, new perceptual and cognitive capabilities are required by both the analyst and appreciative listener.In E. M., pitch, duration, loudness, timbre, and the spatial properties of sound have an equal potential to be the primary generator of the musical material. The Analytical System assists the analyst in identifying significant musical events in any parameter. Pitch-contour, vertical-density, attack-density, dynamic-contour, timbral-characteristics, and spatial-location graphs are integral components of the method. Adaptable to any hierarchical level, the graphs clearly depict the sonic activity. With the addition of a detailed graphic representation of the significant musical events and objective verbal descriptions, an electronic work can be accurately recorded in sufficient detail to allow indepth analysis.The System is purposefully broad in its approach to the individual electronic work. It has been devised to be applicable to the many diverse styles of the medium. The method of analysis will easily guide the analyst through a large portion of the literature of electronic music.