Sonic Identity (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Sonic Identity
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 07:32:15 -0400

Christian, List Christian wrote, in part >Our goal is to largely match the classification results of the SOM with our >perception, although it is not easy to define what 'perceptual simililarity' >means for dynamic sounds. > >Thank you for any further suggestions, >Christian Spevak I believe that there is a strong connection here to the field of electroacoustic [electro-acoustic music] analysis which is slowly developing, and which relies upon a knowledge of the fields of 'sonic art', acoustics, psychoacoustics, linguistics and psycholinguistics. (Sadly I have only a smattering of knowledge in each, but ignorance seldom keeps many people quiet.) It could be that 'perceptual similarity' (similarities) are different in each of these areas, and that they are 'profiles' that could be combined into a 'metaprofile of sonic identity'. One could say "an oboe sounds like an english horn": or "an english horn sounds like an oboe". These two statements may be perceptualy similar, and (it is my understanding) that the difference between them resides (largely) in the field of psycholinguistics. That kind of similarity/differentiation aside, one could say that "an oboe sounds like a bassoon" ... "a krumhorn" ... "shawm" ... "bagpipes" ... "french horn" ... "trumpet" ... "bleeting sheep" ... "duck" ... (or like Salome dancing with the head of John the Baptist). Digital sound transformation allows the gradual transformation of one sound into another: mental sound transformation allows the statement that "The first movement of the Bruckner Eighth Symphony sounds like a slow moving freight train." The nature of the perceptual similarity may be metaphoric, but (IMV), this is only a short step from trombones representing Hades in Monteverdi's Orfeo (1607), (which requires cultural learning, and segregation and streaming capabilities). A distant plane - a distant ocean. Eb major arpeggiations - maidens under the Rhine. Referencing a sonic profile (with as many points as necessary) rather than seeking a single articulator for a 'sonic event' is part of the work going on in 'electroacousticlogy' (the ea/cm parallel to musicology), and the topic you bring forth is central to this field because (unlike traditional music[s] where instruments have 'defined identities' [sic]) ea/cm (esp the style called 'acousmatic') is built around dynamic [sound] transformation. The development of a vocabulary to talk about dynamic(ly transforming) sounds may need to take place at the same time as the exploration of the concepts of 'sonic identity / perceptual similarity', and provides a fine opportunity for members of both the 'sonic arts' and psychoacoustic communities to work together. Many thanks for your thought provoking insights. Best Kevin kaustin(at) [For some information on what the electroacoustic side of this issue looks like (sic), you may wish to start at the Canadian Electroacoustic Community site <>. It contains texts, sounds, links etc.] -- 13 degrees ... yes, and more rain in Montreal

This message came from the mail archive
maintained by:
DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University