Exploring the compositional potential of sonic illusions
I am exploring the expressive aspects of ‘sonic illusion’ from the perspective of current philosophical debates on auditory perception, resulting in a portfolio of musical compositions. How might philosophical theories concerning the contents and boundaries of what we hear inflect my pragmatic approach to matters of musical form, duration, content and texture? What are the conditions for creating illusions of ‘objects’ of auditory perception and ‘spatial structures’ of audition? How can these be effectively used expressively? All these questions aim at finding strategies for exploring the possibility of an approach to composition grounded on the idea of a type of music that relies on the notion of illusory multidimensional ‘sound objects’ moving through time. While illusion as a topic has been explored in many musical works its scope has generally been confined to the appropriation of techniques from other (ethnic) music (as evinced in Ligeti’s Études pour piano), attempts to realise equivalents to optical illusions (as in Glass’s extension of poly-modality in Akhnaten), or on mathematically-based rhythmic structures (as in Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano). The type of explorations initiated by Ligeti in his groundbreaking works of the sixties, such as Atmosphéres, are more akin to my research.