Noise, music & perception: towards a functional understanding of noise composition

Verhagen, D 2015, Noise, music & perception: towards a functional understanding of noise composition, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Attached Files
Name Description MIMEType Size
File01.wav Stream this item to your browser 1. DSV atonal kraanerg Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 22.51MB
File04.wav Stream this item to your browser 4. Longflow improv Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 36.14MB
File05.wav Stream this item to your browser 5. Longlow composition Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 37.54MB
File06.wav Stream this item to your browser 6. Longflow drums Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 37.04MB
File_x1.wav Stream this item to your browser x1. Berg noise Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 19.19MB
File_x2.wav Stream this item to your browser x2. Bloodshed (reshod) Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/x-wav 44.10MB
Verhagen.pdf Thesis application/pdf 2.36MB
Title Noise, music & perception: towards a functional understanding of noise composition
Author(s) Verhagen, D
Year 2015
Abstract The musical genre of Noise exists at the furthermost extreme of the musical cannon. Compositionally it is unconcerned with tonality and rhythm and instead pursues texture with maximum instability, volume, bandwidth and force. As such, it occupies a unique position to question the limits of how music may be formally defined as well as how it may be processed neurobiologically at the point of consumption. The practice-based research undertaken in this project explores the genre's compositional mechanics. It seeks to understand its grammar when compared with traditional musical styles, but also the types of experience it elicits from its audiences. While this research includes musicological contextualisation and discussion of compositional techniques and devices, the main focus is driven by a curiosity as to how a Noise work feels. As such, the starting questions need to be as psychophysiological as they are musicologically informed. Simply, they are: What is Noise? And in relation to the experiences it elicits, how does it work and why does it work? The projects in this doctorate assess how Noise functions in relation to established compositional principles, questions the psychophysiological experience of Noise, and importantly at the core of a PhD by Project, explores the creative potential of the genre as both sonic as well as a multisensory experience. Ultimately, if Noise’s defining quality of power and force saw it reach the limits of its own extremity from the outset, is further listener arousal is possible, and if so, how might this be achieved?

The project identifies the differences between the experience of environmental sound and the metaphors of traditional music, and the extent to which the former has the capacity to amplify arousal through uncertainty related anxiety. It finds that augmenting the sonic with multimodal extensions enables audiences to focus on perceived internal logics in these sensory relationships. The extension of noise into proprioceptive experience can prompt subjective responses from participants which, through imaginative scenarios, often ameliorates uncertainty – ultimately shifting the response valence from negative in sound only, to positive in multimodal stimulus. It also explores devices such as vertically integrated contrastive valence in music and sensory inversions in installation works to understand the construction of perceived meaningfulness in seemingly chaotic relationships. The ideas explored outline the equal interests I have in understanding the mechanics of the genre, its possibilities as a composer, as well as the effects it has on experience of a listener.

Six compositions have been included as audio files. Two installation works have been documented, and two video works included.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) noise
experimental music
sound art
systematic musicology
audiokinesis
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Created: Mon, 11 Jan 2016, 09:49:11 EST by Denise Paciocco
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