Dissertation Index

Author: Harley, Maria, A.

Title: Space and spatialization in contemporary music: History and analysis, ideas and implementations

Institution: McGill University

Begun: September 1988

Completed: June 1994


This dissertation presents the history of space in the musical thought of the 20th century (from Kurth to Clifton, from Varese to Xenakis) and outlines the development of spacialization in the theory and practice of contemporary music (after 1950). The text emphasizes perceptual and temporal aspects of musical spatiality, thus reflecting the close connection of space and time in human experience. A new definition of spacialization draws from Ingarden's notion of the musical work; a new typology of spatial designs embraces music for different acoustic environments, movements of performers and audiences, various positions of musicians in space, etc. The study of spatialization includes a survey of the writings of many composers (e.g. Ives, Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage) and an examination of their compositions. The final part of the dissertation presents three approaches to spatialization: Brant's simultaneity of sound layers, Xenakis's movement of sound, and Schafer's music of ritual and soundscape.

Keywords: space, spatialization, contemporary music, space-time theory, philosophy of science, phenomenology, Roman Ingarden, Henry Brant, Iannis Xenakis, R. Murray Schafer


Part One: Concepts of space.
I. The meaning of "space."
II. A history of concepts of space in music.

Part Two: Spacialization in theory and practice.
III. Music in space and the idea of spatialization.
IV. Spatialization and the musical work.
V. Spatial designs in contemporary music.

Part Three: Implementations (three composers).
VI. Experimental tradition in the "spatial music" of Henry Brant.
VII. Spatial sound movement in the instrumental music
of Iannis Xenakis.
VIII. Soundscapes and rituals in the music of R. Murray Schafer.


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