The Perception of Sounds in Phonographic Space

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Abstract

This thesis is about the perception of space in recorded music, with particular reference to stereo recordings of popular music. It explores how sound engineers create imaginary musical environments in which sounds appear to listeners in different ways. It also investigates some of the conditions for making meaningful descriptions of phonographic space. In doing so, it contributes to the vocabulary we use to describe musical sound, and especially to descriptions of space in recordings.
The thesis is divided into six chapters. Following an Introduction, four central chapters look at different theoretical perspectives in turn.
In Chapter Two the reader is introduced to the term phonographic space, and the ways it can be described as an acoustic environment. The discussion focuses on the physical properties of sound, and how listeners decode audio signals in order to experience acoustic phenomena.
The third chapter examines how listeners understand and make sense of phonographic space. In the form of a critique of Pierre Schaeffer and Roger Scruton’s notion of the acousmatic situation, I argue that our experience of recorded music has a twofold focus: the sound-in-itself and the sound’s causality.
Chapter Four outlines a phenomenological approach to recorded music. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty’s account of bodily directedness towards the world, it examines the ways listeners organise phonographic space in relation to the sounds within it.
This then forms a backdrop to chapter five, which discusses the use of metaphors and image schemas in the experience and conceptualisation of phonographic space. With reference to descriptions of recordings by sound engineers, I argue that metaphors are central to our understanding of recorded music. This work is grounded in the tradition of cognitive linguistics that emerged with George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s publications.
The Conclusion summarises the different ways listeners may make sense of phonographic space, and I finish by suggesting that we understand and conceptualise the spatial experience we perceive in record listening in terms of a combination of acoustic elements and metaphorical structures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this

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title = "The Perception of Sounds in Phonographic Space",
abstract = "This thesis is about the perception of space in recorded music, with particular reference to stereo recordings of popular music. It explores how sound engineers create imaginary musical environments in which sounds appear to listeners in different ways. It also investigates some of the conditions for making meaningful descriptions of phonographic space. In doing so, it contributes to the vocabulary we use to describe musical sound, and especially to descriptions of space in recordings.The thesis is divided into six chapters. Following an Introduction, four central chapters look at different theoretical perspectives in turn.In Chapter Two the reader is introduced to the term phonographic space, and the ways it can be described as an acoustic environment. The discussion focuses on the physical properties of sound, and how listeners decode audio signals in order to experience acoustic phenomena.The third chapter examines how listeners understand and make sense of phonographic space. In the form of a critique of Pierre Schaeffer and Roger Scruton’s notion of the acousmatic situation, I argue that our experience of recorded music has a twofold focus: the sound-in-itself and the sound’s causality.Chapter Four outlines a phenomenological approach to recorded music. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty’s account of bodily directedness towards the world, it examines the ways listeners organise phonographic space in relation to the sounds within it.This then forms a backdrop to chapter five, which discusses the use of metaphors and image schemas in the experience and conceptualisation of phonographic space. With reference to descriptions of recordings by sound engineers, I argue that metaphors are central to our understanding of recorded music. This work is grounded in the tradition of cognitive linguistics that emerged with George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s publications.The Conclusion summarises the different ways listeners may make sense of phonographic space, and I finish by suggesting that we understand and conceptualise the spatial experience we perceive in record listening in terms of a combination of acoustic elements and metaphorical structures.",
author = "Mads Walther-Hansen",
year = "2012",
language = "English",

}

The Perception of Sounds in Phonographic Space. / Walther-Hansen, Mads.

2012.

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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AB - This thesis is about the perception of space in recorded music, with particular reference to stereo recordings of popular music. It explores how sound engineers create imaginary musical environments in which sounds appear to listeners in different ways. It also investigates some of the conditions for making meaningful descriptions of phonographic space. In doing so, it contributes to the vocabulary we use to describe musical sound, and especially to descriptions of space in recordings.The thesis is divided into six chapters. Following an Introduction, four central chapters look at different theoretical perspectives in turn.In Chapter Two the reader is introduced to the term phonographic space, and the ways it can be described as an acoustic environment. The discussion focuses on the physical properties of sound, and how listeners decode audio signals in order to experience acoustic phenomena.The third chapter examines how listeners understand and make sense of phonographic space. In the form of a critique of Pierre Schaeffer and Roger Scruton’s notion of the acousmatic situation, I argue that our experience of recorded music has a twofold focus: the sound-in-itself and the sound’s causality.Chapter Four outlines a phenomenological approach to recorded music. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty’s account of bodily directedness towards the world, it examines the ways listeners organise phonographic space in relation to the sounds within it.This then forms a backdrop to chapter five, which discusses the use of metaphors and image schemas in the experience and conceptualisation of phonographic space. With reference to descriptions of recordings by sound engineers, I argue that metaphors are central to our understanding of recorded music. This work is grounded in the tradition of cognitive linguistics that emerged with George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s publications.The Conclusion summarises the different ways listeners may make sense of phonographic space, and I finish by suggesting that we understand and conceptualise the spatial experience we perceive in record listening in terms of a combination of acoustic elements and metaphorical structures.

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