May 3, 2020

Spectromorphology is a term that was first coined by Denis Smalley in his chapter Spectro-morphology and Structuring Processes, which can be found in the. Spectromorphology. Language for explaining sound-‐‑shapes. Adapted from: Dennis Smalley, Department of Music, City University, London. Organised Sound . Abstract. Denis Smalley’s concept of Spectromorphology () provides the listener of electroacoustic music with thorough and accessible sets of vocabulary to.

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Spectromorphology – Wikipedia

Organised Sound, 2 2pp. Within each of these three states exists a number of terms to describe the way in which a sound evolves. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Retrieved from ” https: I have found Spectromorphology spectromorpholkgy be an incredibly useful technique in analysis.

Benjamin Talbott

To formalise further, Smalley insists rightly that the spectra the harmonic information cannot exist without morphology, since something which occupies space must also spectromorhpology in time — hence spectro-morphology.

If we were to go into further detail, we could also argue morphologically that the object begins as separated attack impulses, tracing a smooth line through the iterative form towards granulation, before dissipating. These tools are intended to be used for “describing and analysing the listening experience” Smalley From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Reversing, transforming, granulating and stretching among other techniques results in all other morphological objects, and can always be simplified down to the three archetypes.

The work is in five sections, each toeing the line between acoustic and electroacoustic. Smalley uses four terms spectromorpjology describe this relationship: These seven characteristics are: Therefore, Spectromorphology can be considered a glossary of terms, within defined frameworks, that can be used to describe how one experiences specific electroacoustic musics.


Spectral density is used to describe how sounds emanate from one another. Smalley’s term refers to the descriptive analysis of perceived morphological developments in sound spectra over time, and it implies that the “spectro” cannot exist without the morphology: Views Read Edit View history. Smalley defines six types of spectral density ranging from high to low: Within these groups exists more terminology for describing that particular motion or growth process.

It is important to note that although this article will tackle these two terms individually they are inseparable, as one cannot exist without the other. It does not relate smallej the spatialisation of sounds within a fixed-media piece. The piece then abandons the low harmonic spectra in favour of high harmonics.

Spectromorphology | The OREMA project

Smalley’s notion of spectromorphology builds upon Schaeffer’s theories relating to the use of a classification system for various categories of sound. Smalley states that these functions can be applied to micro and macro levels of musical structure to describe notes, objects gestures and textures Smalley These types of spectral density, depending on their relation to the distant-close continuum, will either block or allow other sounds from being heard.

Denis Smalley defines Spectromorphology as a “collection of tools for describing sound shapes, structures, and relationships, and for thinking about certain semiotic aspects – potentially analysis of a kind” Smalley It is not an analytical or compositional system.

The term Spectromorphology is an amalgamation of the terms Spectra and Morphology. I find this very pleasing.

Spectromorphology is first and foremost a set of terms for describing the listening process. Smalley states that Sprectromorphology is “intended to account for types of electroacoustic music” Smalley You are here Home.

A descriptive spectromorphological analysis of sound is sometimes used in the analysis of electroacoustic musicespecially acousmatic music. The premise is beautiful, finding oneself musically exploring the innards of the cello for the first time. We hear this repeated, so far in a linear fashion, the simplest motion.



We hear the first bi-directional phrase, as the node, which has been comprised of fairly comprehensible harmonic spectra although changing within itself due to shifting resonant frequencynow spectromorphopogy to diverge as two distinct phenomena can be heard.

It is almost impossible to put forward a wrong statement, so long as the terms are understood properly. This page was last edited on 21 Augustat On the fifth distinct note heard, the piece begins to change. The term was coined by Denis Smalley in and is considered the most adequate English term to designate the field of sound research associated with the French writer, composer, and academic, Pierre Schaeffer [ citation needed ].

Instead it suggests viewpoints and tools for “speculating and imagining”, but these cannot be organised into a single smslley or compositional action Smalley There exists three types of spectral space: Returning to morphologyit spectromorpbology interesting to note that slectromorphology formalisation of the term ADSR envelope attack, decay, sustain, release was suggested around twenty years earlier by Vladimir Ussachevsky in reference to work he was doing with Bob Moog.

Spectromorphology is the perceived sonic footprint of a sound spectrum as it manifests in time.

Initially these two terms were separated with a hyphen in the publication, but this has subsequently been removed from the publication. For the purposes of this article the focus will be on the article.