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Space as a compositional parameter

MacLeod, Duncan W M (2017) Space as a compositional parameter. In: Sound Thought 2017. . (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:60940)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


Over the past 10 years spatial music has been an emergent trope within my practice that has exponentially grown from an initial interest in spectator immersion to engender a broad range of applications that I believe ameliorates the listening experience and appreciation of music.

Spatial music, namely sound localisation as a compositional parameter in music has been in use, albeit modestly, since the renaissance. It is in the past sixty years however that we have seen the most substantive output of spatial music, spurred on in part by the use of spatialisation in acousmatic and electro-acoustic music. In spite of this the use of space in instrumental composition is often considered as being of secondary or decorative importance, indeed ignored altogether. The composer Alvin Lucier highlights this in Lucier Reflections: Interviews, Scores, Writings (1995) where he observes that although considerable effort goes into the conception, generation and notation of sounds relatively little thought is given to the actual propagation of sound to the extent that ‘We have been so concerned with language that we have forgotten how sound flows through space and occupies it.’ (p. 430).

This paper looks to examine and outline techniques and approaches to spatial music drawing upon my own practice-led research and that of key exponents namely Henry Brant, John Cage, Denis Smalley and Karlheinz Stockhausen. I will then go onto discuss the impact of technology as a means to formalise space as a musical parameter as well as its potential to create real and otherworldly spaces.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Spatial Music; music; composition
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Duncan MacLeod
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 18:05 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 10:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

MacLeod, Duncan W M.

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