'Spectral Space'

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


This site-specific multichannel sound installation utilises various aspects of microtonal tuning, configured with reference to principles of auditory psychology and the acoustic effects of speaker placement in the courtyard of the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin, to allow listeners to explore musical structures based on slowly-evolving drones and glissandi in an embodied fashion. This allows listeners to explore some of the piece's frequency space through their own movements whilst the piece gradually evolves and forms new configurations at a slower pace around them. The audible structure is based on three main aspects: (1) the beating and interference effects of tones presented with very small frequency separations between them, leading to some component partials being heard as separate entities due to aspects of auditory scene analysis(2) the presentation of long-duration tones, which encourages the auditory perception system to search for novelty within this stasis, (3) the movement of the listener around a courtyard, which not only transforms the relative volume levels of the different drone elements (due to proximity to different speakers) but also transforms their frequency content as the direction-dependant filtering effects of the listener's ear become apparent. Listeners can thus choose to explore the piece's frequency space by large-scale body movements (affecting relative balance of material from different speakers) or by subtle head movements (which changes the relative strengths of component partials based on the outer ear's direction-dependant filtering).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2009
Event'InterPlay II', Culture Night 2009, Dublin - Contemporary Music Centre, Fishamble Street, Dublin 8
Duration: 7 Jul 2009 → …


  • Installation
  • drone
  • microtonal
  • site-specific
  • auditory scene analysis


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