Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Talking in parallel
One fascinating aspect of musical reception is the variety of ways in which different approaches to music use alternative vocabularies. A trained musician, a recording engineer, a physicist, and a cognitive or neuroscientist each has her own set of terms, and although there are often parallels, they are often interesting divergences. Timbre, for a musician, for example, is not precisely and not just spectra for a physicist, but rather represents an interactive complex of physical attributes. This page, at Stereophile, is a glossary of subjective audio -- the evaluation of recorded sound quality -- and I have found reading the whole thing to be quite useful in clarifying my thoughts about the evaluation of the related, but in many ways very different, situation of live music. Richard Parncutt's book Harmony: A Psychoacoustical Approach is a superb introduction to the psychoacoustics of music and the full text is online here.