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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The sub-groups of motion which he identifies as archetypes are: 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: These types of spectral density, depending on their relation to the distant-close continuum, will either block or allow other sounds from being heard. Within each of these three states exists a number of terms to describe the way in which a sound evolves.


Smalley uses four terms to describe this relationship: Smalley states that Sprectromorphology is “intended to account for types of electroacoustic music” Smalley I have found Spectromorphology to be an incredibly useful technique in analysis.

The piece then abandons the low harmonic spectra in favour of high harmonics.

Motion explains a similar concept to morphology, but extends to the overall movement of complex sound through time. He stipulates that there are three morphological archetypes, from which all other forms of morphology can be derived. The term Spectromorphology is an amalgamation of the terms Spectra and Morphology. This page was last edited on 21 Augustat There exists three types of spectral space: You are here Home.


Initially these two terms were separated with a hyphen in the publication, but this has subsequently been removed from the publication. Spectral density is used to describe how sounds emanate from one another. Smalley defines three different spectral typologies that exist in what he calls the noise-note continuum.

Spectromorphology | The OREMA project

This continuum is subdivided into three principal elements:. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

For the purposes of this article the focus will be on the article. Smalley also adds two types of noise; granular and saturate, to describe the perceptual qualities attributed to certain types of noise. Smalley states that the canopy and root can be regarded as “boundary markers” that “frame spectral space” Smalley The two antonyms act as bookends between the vast possibilites of electroacoustic sounds.

Spectromorpho,ogy it suggests viewpoints and tools for “speculating and imagining”, but these cannot be organised into a single analytical or compositional action Smalley To formalise further, Smalley insists rightly that spectromorpyology spectra the harmonic information cannot exist without morphology, since something which occupies space must also extend in time — hence spectro-morphology.

All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from January Organised Sound, 2 2pp. I find this very spectromorphollgy. Views Read Edit View history.

Smalley also designates different morphological archetypes:. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: 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 Simply put, the Note to Noise continuum is how one describes the spectral content of a sound.


These tools are intended to be used for “describing and analysing the listening experience” Smalley Smalley, working in electronic environments, must have been aware of this term, but his brilliance was in translating this structure into musical analytical language. There are four spectromogphology for spectral space, which are based on antonym pairs: 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.

The degree to which the analysis is correct then becomes about how true the analysis is of the piece itself — less room is open for subjectivity. Spectromorphology is the perceived sonic footprint of a sound spectrum as it manifests in time. Smalley states that these functions can be applied spdctromorphology micro and macro levels of musical structure to describe notes, objects gestures and textures Smalley Returning to morphologyit is interesting to note that the formalisation of the term Spectromoprhology 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 spectromorphollogy first and foremost a set of terms for describing the listening process.