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Re: ... differences in perception of ... sound[s]

My terms for this are acoustic and electroacoustic. If a tree falls in a forest -- an event ... if a composer records the tree falling in a forest, and plays it back through a loudspeaker (in the forest) ... is this an event or a concert?

While the categorization discussion is important (for me), I see it as part of the larger question of [the nature of] identity, which requires memory. I know what an explosion in outer space sounds like because I have watched Star Wars.

> What about tight symphonic harmonies in Beethoven which make it impossible to tell which instruments are playing? Natural synthetic?

Perhaps impossible for you, but the question is not one of the vibration in the outside world but one on the part of the listener.

With this as a framework, there is no "natural" and "synthetic" division in the acoustical signal, simply variations in amplitude. At a local railway / road crossing, the [real] bell has been replaced by a synthesized tone. Children hearing this will growing with this tone as being "natural", or at least as natural as the explosion in outer space.

Can one thing be "more real" (surreal) than another [without the invocation of memory]?

I record a grand piano playing a scale. It is played back through a boombox, and then through a $3000 pair of speakers. Which is more real? [*]


[* I usually hear both as being the recording of a piano being played through a loudspeaker. Sometimes I hear is as being part of the Beethoven Seventh Symphony in the piano transcription by Liszt, but in this case, I am listening.]

On 2010, May 19, at 11:37 PM, David John SMith wrote:

> There seem to be several themes here - 
> I believe the distinction between natural sounds and artificial sounds is generally
> the same as sounds which are interpreted as events and those which are not.
> Musical instruments generally fall in the "natural" category because we imagine the activity
> of instruments being played.   Some performance pieces, notably pieces for prepared piano by 
> John Cage, intentionally cross this boundary. The audience is watching a familiar sound producing 
> event which produces sounds that do not evoke an associative event in memory. Some, like those
> by Karl Stockhausen use natural sound events which trigger memories only in a specific groups -
> and crosses perceptual and cultural boundaries.  Shortwave radio static becomes a "natural sound" 
> when the radio is evident onstage and comfort music to those for whom shortwave radio has been
> an illegal connection with the outside world.
> An interesting caveat is echo (room reverberations) being much more noticeable when played
> back on a recording (in a different acoustic environment). This is a natural sound - sound
> quality - which becomes synthetic by reproduction.  
> What about tape hiss - natural sound event? What about tight symphonic harmonies in Beethoven 
> which make it impossible to tell which instruments are playing? Natural synthetic?
> So - my point, finally - perception is fractal.  Categorical descriptions might be better investigated and 
> discussed with reference to the limits of possibility.  Without some reference we are just mucking about.
> ie. Do people hear elephants differently If they wear red shirts?
> DS