Horsley, Joshua Robert orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0089-5150 (2014) Sonification as Semblance: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION INTO MUSIC COMPOSITION. eContacts, 17 (3).

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Audification, sonification, musification, auditory display — audio realisation of non-audio data is itself phenomenological, it is as Heidegger (1926) states: “to let that which shows itself to be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself,” and it is precisely when the phenomena is “uncovered” that questions begin to form with regards to the process of sonification’s status within creative arts practice.

Rigour of method within a sonification facilitates a realisation that is prescript: method as composition, instruction as notation and adherence as realisation. Whilst finding congruence with algorithmic composition, within musical praxis sonification is isolated. Internality of the subsequently realised sound or music is not only absent, realised sound or music as perceivable externality can be described as functional so far as it contains data, in which case the qualities of a sonification are arguably “cheesecake”. Qualitative compositional decisions — for example, wherein sound or music that exists first as heard within internal consciousness (as with Husserlian “phantasy”) is brought forth as perceivable externality, or wherein sonic intention (as opposed to the internal heard) is met through definition and completion of algorithmic construct — are discounted in favour of integrity of process toward quantifiable outcome. This is to say: sonification is an objective creative praxis; success of a sonification is quantifiable, it is measured against representational accuracy. However, as a music practitioner, I seek to embed my practice within quantifiable accuracy of sonification only to subsequently liberate qualitative compositional decisions. Within this paper it is not intended to conclude sonification as quantifiable, as applied science, rather: through practice-informed phenomenological investigation, the qualities within sonification practice are sought.

As consequence of investigative sonification practice, temporality is given specific address, and interrogation of compositional miniatures is referenced in order to critically and reflectively evaluate temporality as of essence to music’s inherent qualitative attributes, whilst simultaneously considering the substantial difference in existential and temporal status between audio and corporeal spatial occupancy in terms of their homogeneity. Subsequently, the paper is indicative of a requirement for further study of sonification within creative music practice, and it speculates as to the affect upon composition as consequence of orientation of sonified objects within the same spatial environment, thus: sonification of occupant corporeal spatial occupancies, or, phrased simply: the compositional potential of multiple sonifications.

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