Title: On the Sensations of Tone II
Performer: New Music Concerts Ensemble - Robert Aitken, conductor
Instrumentation: for 8 Instruments and Electronics
Premier: April 4, 2016 - Toronto, Canada
Program Notes:
This is the second work in a series that draws its title from Hermann Helmoltz’s classical acoustics text: On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music (1863). This book combines physics, physiology and psychological aspects of listening in order to explain the origins of musical notions of harmony and dissonance. In this series I am exploring a more physiological experience of sound, moving beyond historically conditioned notions of consonance and dissonance, and towards the ear becoming an active participant in the listening process rather than a submissive sense organ. Moments of ‘music’ become interspersed with sonic ‘situations’, whereby tension arises through the simultaneous juxtaposition of timbral qualities, suggesting a timbral counterpoint. Furthermore, I explore the evolutionary expectation of source sounds, the natural physiological responses of the ear (beatings, and virtual fundamentals) to certain acoustic stimuli, and the use of repetition and contextual placement of sounds to distort musical memory.
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