The Sound-Object as Spatial Signifier in Electronic Music: A Case Study of Spatial Relations in La Voz del Fuelle

Dr. Diana Salazar
Composer and Senior Lecturer, Department of Music, Kingston University, London

It has been widely acknowledged that space on an intrinsi level is a vital musical parameter in electoacoustic music (Harrison 1999, Barrett 2002, Henriksen 2002). The manipulation of space-form (Smalley 2007) may reult in enhanced sonic expression through features such as implied physicality, presence and agency, in turn creating exciting possibilities for the composer.

This paper will examine the manipulation of space-form in the author’s own fixed media electronic work La Voz del Fuelle (2010). The work is a sonic re-imagining of the stylistic, cultural and performative qualities that characterise the music of Tango. At its core is the exploration of physical properties of the bandoneon.

With reference to the reality-abstraction continuum (Young 1996) inherent in electronic music, I will consider how the recorded sound-objects in this work are arranged and manipulated in order to explore a number of spatial parameters. In particular, I will examine how the bandoneon, in its recorded and electronically modified forms, is presented in various sonic guises, notable as instrument, as cultural signifier, as gestural device, as implied agency and as abstract sound.

It is proposed that by embracing the original spatial attributes of a sound-object, including its cultural implications, the sound-object can become a powerful tool for expressing sonic meaning and articulating structure in electronic music. The paper will consider the gains, risks and opportunities presented when using such tangible spatial signifiers, arguing that they may be valuable in enhancing listener engagement and exploring new performance environments.

A full recording of La Voz del Fuelle can be accessed here.

14:00 (PRM Lecture Theatre) Saturday, November 24
Session 3: The art of practical Sound Objects