/ TEXTURAL COMPOSITION: IMPLEMENTATION OF AN INTERMEDIARY AESTHETIC
ï~~present in other objects. In other words, the qualities of a sound-object bound it away from other sound-objects in the acousmatic image. When multiple sound-objects come together the result has been called a sound mass; the works of Xenakis come readily to mind. The qualities of a sound mass depend on the complexity and density of the constituent elements and the spectromorphology of the whole. The sound mass itself has its own boundaries. As Natasha Barrett points out in "Spatio-musical composition strategies", a sound mass exists by suggesting a "spatial occupation," or a volume of space occupied [1]. Yet, at the core of the sound mass are individual units with their own boundaries. A multiplicity of sound-objects without boundaries results in a soundscape. In extreme cases, the boundaries of the objects are blurred. But, the notion of a soundscape still implies that, though possibly indistinct, multiple sound-objects exist. Imagine, however, an alternative where only one sound-object expands to fill the entire musical space, and its qualities become the focus of attention. It denies the existence of other objects, as it occludes the acousmatic image. Its boundaries exist outside the "view" of the listener. It is not a sound mass, since it is too large for perceptible boundaries or gestalt behaviors. It is not a soundscape, because the imagination perceives the whole as one thing. At this magnification, the qualities of the sound-object advance to the level of compositional material. It is a sound-monolith, a sound meta-object, that carries details of sonic information that do not stand alone as objects themselves. A particularly rich trait at this magnification is texture. 2.2. The Ascendancy of Texture The reception of texture as the compelling focus of listening demands that other musical attributes are subjugated or diminished in both function and attention. In "Spectromorphology: explaining sound-shapes," Denis Smalley asserts "a music that is primarily textural... concentrates on internal activity at the expense of forward impetus." Smalley's detailed descriptions of texture and its possibilities assume that texture is a complement of gesture [4]. However, for music that is texture and not merely textural, more than gesture must be sacrificed. The volume of the sound object must stretch beyond the imagined periphery of the space, negating the effect of the object's boundaries. The component sounds must correlate to each other so that their distinguishing features do not overwhelm and shift focus from the whole. The average spectromorphology of a given texture must remain static. Furthermore, for texture to dominate musical listening, it must be developed and given compelling properties. In particular, dynamic textures (as opposed to static textures) more clamantly demand attention. Textural flux is a function of time and has a rate of change. As music occurs only in time, it stands to reason that dynamism figures as a potent factor in the ascendancy of texture as the central musical material. On the spectrum from independent sound-objects to soundscape, engendering the monolithic substratum on which texture occurs is challenging. There is a fragile distinction between autonomous sound-objects and either a sound mass or a soundscape. Although one can incrementally increase sound events, there appears to be categorical perceptual distinctions between "few," "many," and "too many to individuate." Textural composition balances precariously between "many" and "too many to individuate." 3. SPATIALIZATION The composition of sound and its musical space is inseparably and reciprocally linked to its diffusion in acoustic space. In textural composition, the consequences are twofold. First, the size of the acoustic space must correspond to the size of the sound metaobject. Second, the mobility of the sounds must complement the dynamism of the texture. Like the sound meta-object, space must appear to be limitless, where any boundaries are too distant to be perceived. Prospective space, as Smalley defines it, distinguishes forward from backward [5]. The frontal perspective focuses attention on the image laid before the listener. What occurs behind signifies only as it relates to the front. Prospective space inhibits the perception of a sound meta-object since the distinctions between forward and backward bound the meta-object spatially. Regardless of orientation, a listener must perceive that there is no true frontal perspective, what 2.1.1. Texture as Intermediary Texture does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, it qualifies a substratum. Texture characterizes the grain in a wood plank, the weft of cloth, or the silkiness of fur. And, it cannot be separated into constituent parts at a normative perspective. Where do the ridges begin and the valleys end in wood grain? Can we detect the individual threads in cloth or hairs in fur? Though it is possible to magnify an object, where cells, threads, and hairs achieve ipseity, they lose their identities as textures. Musically, the challenge lies in magnifying the sound-object sufficiently, where texture exists as a sonic quality of a sound meta-object, but its engendering components are not perceived. The boundaries of its parts, if any, are blurred and belong to the same substratum. In other words, the components of a texture must correlate to each other, amalgamating as a result of mutual affinity. In this sense, texture is an intermediary, existing in the continuum circumscribed by sound-object and soundscape. It neither exists in and of itself, but it is not a variegated compendium of unrelated sonic events.
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