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Durham University


Music, Media and Technologies

Anne-Marie Beaumont & Aglaia Foteinou (University of Wolverhampton) - Back to the future: auralization and its application in musical analysis

15:40-17:10 - Session III: Theories and applications

Through the application of music technology and acoustics, we can investigate the role of performance spaces on how music is composed, performed and perceived in them. Auralization, as a technique of rendering sound into a virtual space, can be used for this purpose, while musical excerpts from various composers, ensembles and eras, can be performed and heard in the spaces, as if we were present. Musicologists typically approach their studies from a variety of informed perspectives: systematic analysis of the notes; performance practice; theory of music; and cultural understanding of the environments in which such music was created. In contemporary musicology, there is a growing trend to interview, collaborate with and note the decision-making process with the composer and performers of that work but such an opportunity is not available to the historical musicologist. Often in musical historiography, a researcher will analyse the music/scores in question in order to identify patterns of influence and causal relationships so that a diachronic narrative can be created. Indeed, the edited and transcribed score can provide us with a significant amount of information in terms of scribal approach, organisation, function, harmonic and stylistic tendencies of the music but there are still vagaries for the scholar, not least how the music would have sounded to a contemporary ear in a contemporary space and the influence that this might have had on compositional choice and processes. A new type of collaborative musicology is therefore necessary in order to complete our knowledge of historical musical texts. In this paper through examples and musicological studies, we discuss how systematic musicology and music technology can collaborate in order to enhance the musical analysis and understanding of historical compositions through empirical and observed aural data.