Skip to main content
×
Home

Listening Through the Firewall: Semiotics of sound in networked improvisation

  • Roger Mills (a1) and Kirsty Beilharz (a2)
Abstract

Maturation of network technologies and high-speed broadband has led to significant developments in multi-user platforms that enable synchronous networked improvisation across global distances. However sophisticated the interface, nuances of face-to-face communication such as gesture, facial expression, and body language are not available to the remote improviser. Sound artists and musicians must rely on listening and the semiotics of sound to mediate their interaction and the resulting collaboration. This paper examines two case studies of networked improvisatory performances by the inter-cultural tele-music ensemble Ethernet Orchestra.It focuses on qualities of sound (e.g. timbre, frequency, amplitude) in the group's networked improvisation, examining how they become arbiters of meaning in dialogical musical interactions without visual gestural signifiers. The evaluation is achieved through a framework of Distributed Cognition, highlighting the centrality of culture, artefact and environment in the analysis of dispersed musical perception. It contrasts salient qualities of sound in the groups’ collective improvisation, highlighting the interpretive challenges for cross-cultural musicians in a real-time ‘jam’ session. As network technologies provide unprecedented opportunities for diverse inter-cultural collaboration, it is sound as the carrier of meaning that mediates these new experiences.

Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: *Roger.Mills@uts.edu.au; **Kirsty.Beilharz@uts.edu.au
References
Hide All
ANSI. 1994. American National Standard Acoustical Terminology. New York: American National Standards Institute.
Bailey D. 1993. Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Balkwill I.I., Thompson W.F. 1999. A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Perception of Emotion in Music: Psychophysical and Cultural Cues. Music Perception 17(1) (Fall 1999): 4364.
Ballas J.A. 1993. Common Factors in the Identification of an Assortment of Brief Everyday Sounds. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 19: 250267.
Barthes R. 1985. The Responsibility of Forms. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang.
Beerends J.G., Houtsma A.J.M. 1989. Pitch Identification of Simultaneous Diotic and Dichotic Two-Tone Complexes. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 85: 813819.
Blandford A., Furniss D. 2005. DiCoT: A Methodology for Applying Distributed Cognition to the Design of Team Working Systems. In S.W. Gilroy and M.D. Harrison, eds, Interactive Systems, Design, Specification, and Verification, 12th International Workshop, DSVIS 2005, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3941. New York: Springer, 2638.
Bonebright T.L. 2001. Perceptual Structure of Everyday Sounds: A Multi-Dimensional Scaling Approach. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Auditory Display, Espoo, Finland, 73–8.
Bregman A.S. 1990. Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Chafe C. 2009. Tapping into the Internet as an Acoustical/Musical Medium. Contemporary Music Review 28(4–5) (August/October): 413420.
Cumming N. 2000. The Sonic Self: Musical Subjectivity and Signification. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
De Haan M. 2002. Distributed Cognition and the Shared Knowledge Model of the Mazahua: A Cultural Approach. Journal of Interactive Learning Research 13 (Spring 2002): 3150.
Fales C. 2002. The Paradox of Timbre. Ethnomusicology 46(1): 5695.
Glaser B.G. 1998. Doing Grounded Theory: Issues and Discussions. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.
Hajda J.M. 2007. The Effect of Dynamic Acoustical Features on Musical Timbre. In Beauchamp, J. (ed.) Analysis, Synthesis, and Perception of Musical Sounds: The Sound of Music. New York: Springer.
Hajda J.M., Kendall R.A., Carterette E.C., Harshberger M.L. 1997. Methodological Issues in Timbre Research. In Deliège, I. and Sloboda, J. (eds.) Perception and Cognition of Music. Hove: Psychology Press.
Hollan J., Hutchins E., Kirsh D. 2000. Distributed Cognition: Toward a New Foundation for Human-Computer Research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 7(2): 174196.
Hourdin C., Charbonneau G., Moussa T. 1997. A Multi-Dimensional Scaling Analysis of Musical Instruments’ Time-Varying Spectra. Computer Music Journal 21: 4055.
Houtsma A.J.M. 1984. Pitch Salience of Various Complex Sounds. Music Perception 1: 296307.
Houtsma A.J.M. 1997. Pitch and Timbre: Definition, Meaning and Use. Journal of New Music Research 26: 104115.
Iyer V. 2008. On Improvisation, Temporality, and Embodied Experience. In P. Miller, ed. Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press), 273292.
Kendall R.A., Carterette E.C. 1993. Verbal Attributes of Simultaneous Wind Instrument Timbres: II. Adjectives Induced from Piston's Orchestration. Music Perception 10: 269502.
Kendall R.A., Carterette E.C., Hajda J.M. 1999. Perceptual and Acoustical Features of Natural and Synthetic Orchestral Instrument Tones. Music Perception 16: 327362.
Krumhansel C.L. 1997. An Exploratory Study of Musical Emotions and Psychophysiology. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 51: 336352.
Johnston A 2009. Interfaces for Musical Expression Based on Simulated Models. PhD thesis, University of Technology, Sydney, http://hdl.handlenet/2100/1210.
Juslin P.N., Laukka P. 2003. Communication of Emotions in Vocal Expression and Music Performance: Different Channels, Same Code? Psychological Bulletin 129(5): 770814.
LaBelle B. 2006. Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art. New York: Continuum.
Lakoff G., Johnson M. 1980. Metaphors we Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Landy L. 1987. An Analysis of Tayutai for Koto (1972) Composed by Makoto Shinohara: A 3-Dimensional Approach. Journal of New Music Research 16: 7596.
Landy L. 1994. The ‘Something to Hold on to Factor’ in Timbral Composition. Contemporary Music Review 10(2): 4960.
Lewis G. 1993. Voyager: Interactive Computer Music for Computer, Trombone & Saxophone. Performed by George E. Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell, sound recording, Avant, Japan.
Lidov D. 1987. Mind and Body in Music. Semiotica 66(1/3): 6997.
Loureiro M.A., Paula H.B.Yehia H.C. 2004. Timbre Classification of a Single Musical Instrument. 5th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR), 2004.
Manning P. 2004. Electronic and Computer Music. New York: Oxford University Press.
McLuhan M. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Berkeley, CA: Ginko Press, 2003.
Miller Paul (aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid). 2008. Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Moisala P. 1995. Cognitive Study of Music as Culture: Basic Premises for ‘Cognitive Ethnomusicology’. Journal of New Music Research 24(1): 820.
Monahan C.B., Kendall R.A., Carterette E.C. 1987. The Effect of Melodic and Temporal Contour on Recognition Memory for Pitch Change. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 42: 306307.
Nettl B. 1956. Music in Primitive Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Oliveros P. 2010. Sex as we Don't Know It: Computer Music Futures, keynote speech, International Computer Music Conference, SUNY Stony Brook. http://paulineoliveros.us/site/node/93 (accessed on 4 September 2010).
O'Neill S. 2008. Interactive Media: The Semiotics of Embodied Interaction. London: Springer.
Pegg C. 2001. Mongolian Music, Dance and Oral Narrative, Vol. 1. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Pierce C.S., Burks A.W. 1958. Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Pierce. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Pratt R.L., Doak P.E. 1976. A Subjective Rating Scale for Timbre. Sound and Vibration 45(3): 317328.
Prévost Edwin. 1995. No Sound is Innocent: AMM and the Practice of Self-Invention. In Meta-Musical Narratives and Other Essays. Essex: Copula/Matchless Recordings.
Resnick M. 1996. Distributed Constructionism. Proceedings of the 1996 International Conference on Learning Sciences.
Rioux V. 2001. Sound Quality of Flue Organ Pipes: An Interdisciplinary Study on the Art of Voicing. PhD, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg.
Roads C. 2001. Microsound. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Rogers R. 1997. A Brief Introduction to Distributed Cognition. Brighton: Interact Lab, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences.
Sansom M. 2007. Improvisation and Identity: A Qualitative Study. Critical Studies in Improvisation 3(1). http://www.criticalimprov.com/article/viewArticle/48.
Sawer J. 2003. Voice Analysis in Ethnomusicology: De-Mystifying Bulgarian Singing. Bachelor of Music thesis, Australian National University.
Seifart F., Meyer J. 2010. Bora Drum Communication, the Typology of Emulated Speech, and Prosodic Typology. Arbeitsgruppe ‘Prosodic Typology: State of the Art and Future Prospects’ DGfS Jahrestagung, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, February 24–26, 2010.
Serafini S. 1995. Timbre Judgements of Javanese Gamelan Instruments by Trained and Untrained Adults. Psychomusicology 14: 137153.
Shepherd J. 1992. Music as Cultural Text. In Paynter, J., Howell, T., Orton, R. and Seymour, P. (eds.) Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought. London and New York: Routledge.
Shön D. 1995. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Smith C.M. 1972. The Aesthetics of Charles S. Peirce. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31(1) (Autumn): 2129.
Song H.J. 2010. Evaluation of the Effects of Spatial Separation and Timbre on the Identifiability of Concurrent Auditory Streams. PhD, University of Sydney.
Štěpánek J. 2006. Musical Sound Timbre: Verbal Description and Dimensions. 9th International Conference on Digital Auditory Effects, Montreal, Canada.
Štěpánek J., Moravec O. 2005. Verbal Description of Musical Sound Timbre in Czech Language and its Relation to Musicians’ Profession and Performance Quality. Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM05). Montreal, Canada: 121–26.
Thompson S. 2007. The Pedagogical Imperative of Musical Improvisation. Critical Studies in Improvisation 3(2), http://www.criticalimprov.com/article/viewArticle/353.
Tolbert E. 1992. Theories of Meaning and Music Cognition: An Ethnomusicological Approach. World of Music: Special Edition on Ethnomusicology and Music Cognition 34: 99119.
Van Leeuwen T. 1999. Speech, Music, Sound. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Von Bismarck G. 1974. Sharpness as an Attribute of the Timbre of Steady Sounds. Acustica 30: 159172.
Zwicker E., Fastl H. 1999. Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models. Berlin and New York: Springer.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Organised Sound
  • ISSN: 1355-7718
  • EISSN: 1469-8153
  • URL: /core/journals/organised-sound
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Mills and Beilharz supplementary material
Sound example 2.aac

 Unknown (12.1 MB)
12.1 MB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Mills and Beilharz supplementary material
Sound example 1.aac

 Unknown (9.3 MB)
9.3 MB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 39 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 166 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.