SONORISM: POSITIVIST AND COGNITIVE APPROACHES TO THE PROBLEM OF SOUND
The development of sound-recording technology, as well as various avant-garde artistic manifestos promoting timbral experiments, led to increased interest in the problem of sound quality by twentieth-century composers and music theorists. Sound quality was regarded as being concerned with the experience of performed music (characterised through the metaphor of power or colour) and, in the second half of the twentieth century, also as being concerned with the electronic recording of sound (objets musicaux, sound object) and the visual result of its analysis (sonogram), described using the terminology of acoustics. In the modern theory and aesthetics of music, the problem of timbre has been discussed from the point of view of positivist or idealistic philosophy, and the end of the twentieth century saw the arrival of the cognitive approach, developed within cognitive psychology (Sloboda, Serafine, Bregman). The French language developed the concept of 'corp sonore' (J.-Ph. Rameau), English employs the term 'the power of sound' (E. Gurney), while German has the term 'Klangfarbe' (H.von Helmholtz). The term 'Klangfarbe', widely used by composers and music theorists, has been variously understood as the auditive experience of 'Tonsatz' associated with the means of performance and the metaphor of colour (Riemann, Erpf, Kurth, Schönberg), as a particular type of experimental sound (Lachenmann) and, in the theory of music developed by F. Blum, as the abstract aspect of the 'sound materia' (Tonstoff). Józef Michal Chominski's sonology theory has, on the one hand, a positivist character (it concerns a new technology for generating and transforming sound) but, on the other hand, it stresses the psychological-cognitive aspect of experiencing sound (differentiations: homogenous-polygenous, monochronic - polychronic sound). The term 'sonorism' refers generally to the auditive experience of avant-garde compositions and the new signs of music notation associated with them, but it also includes the 'colouring' effect of the traditional 'Tonsatz' mentioned above. The theory of music inspired by cognitive psychology proposes the term 'parton', which takes into account the concepts of 'gestalt' and of the 'invariant' (Jarzebska). In the article, the concept of 'sonoristic parton' is illustrated using the example of compositions by Lutoslawski (Venetian Games) and Stravinsky (The Flood).
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