Saturday, March 10, 2018, 4pm – Papers – Utt 008

Ashkan Fakhrtabatabaie

Critical Band
A Symbiotic Instrument that Plays Directly for the Central Auditory System

This piece as Tenney mentions in his program notes, is composed based on the critical band, a psychophysical territory of the auditory filters on the basilar membrane (BM). The critical band could be explained as such: when two different tones excite the same filter’s territorial membrane, the filter combines these two tones to one, while induces an increased roughness of timbre. If the frequency difference of these tones is less than a certain amount they create beat frequencies. The bandwidth of these auditory filters is called the critical band. By forming this analysis based on this psychoacoustical measurement, I demonstrate that Tenney employs microtones smaller than quartertones, beat frequencies, subharmonics, and missing fundamentals to systematically target the excitation of these small entities of the BM in the inner ear.

I further claim that by putting acoustic instruments, tape, and cochlea together, he constructs a symbiotic instrument that plays directly for the central auditory system. This instrument is capable of eliminating some of the unwanted filterings of the peripheral auditory system that might be a potential source of the dissimilarity between the designed and the perceived sound. I also discuss that how he controls these precise micromanipulations of the BM to make a conscious effort to unify rhythm, pitch, and timbre perceptually, the relation of which has been always a source of both ambiguity and mystery among the music scholars.

Daniel Neumann

Non-Representational Spatial Sound Composition

The concept of Non-representational Spatial Sound Composition is meant to provide a distinct framework for analyzing and discussing site-specific or site-sensitive spatial sound works. These works have a different focus to surround sound studio composition, which usually attempts to represent a certain studio-made spatiality and aims for spatial transferability into the concert hall.

With this paper the linage of compositions that articulate specific spaces rather than having to compromise around them will be established. Works in which sound is not represented in space, rather space is presented in sound. Alvin Lucier and Maryanne Amacher’s ideas strike me as pioneering in this non-representational approach. Another historical link is the speaker-as-instrument use, developed by the founders and followers of the Musique Concréte and realized in their main hall, the Acousmonium.

In the broader cultural landscape, which seems more and more nested in simulacra or made to produce spectacles, the medium of sound with its high potential for fluidity and presence should not need to reproduce these conditions. It should rather be used to heighten spatial awareness and practice listening from within a field. With subjects connected to their surroundings listening becomes inclusive.

Jeremy C. Baguyos

A Musician’s Role in S.T.E.A.M.

The S.T.E.A.M. (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) initiative has renewed the interest in the role of the arts in information science, and as part of that effort, this paper examines the direct role of a formally trained musician functioning as a faculty member within an information science and technology academic unit. In a 2010 article, Newsweek noted that “Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses.” To address these concerns, this paper gives an overview of the role of the creative process, esp. the role of music’s creative process, in the information science and technology disciplines, as well as the specific curriculum that is taught within information science classes. These include the incubation of ideation, empathic design processes, and systems sensibilities. Although there are several examples, the curriculum used at University of Nebraska (Omaha), which has been in use since 2010, will be used as a case study.


Jeremy Baguyos is Professor of Music and Interdisciplinary Informatics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (School of Interdisciplinary Informatics and School of Music). He attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University where he earned degrees in double bass Performance and Computer Music. Active nationally and internationally as a composer, performer, and researcher in the field of academic computer music, he has tallied notable presentations and performances at the ICMA International Computer Music Conferences and publications with the MIT Press and the ICMC Proceedings. He is Principal Double Bassist of the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra, and has also performed with the bass sections of the National Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

Daniel Neumann is a Brooklyn-based sound artist, organizer and professional audio engineer, originally from Germany. A main focus of Neumann, throughout all three of his different occupations, is how sound interacts with space and how spaces can be shaped by sound. In his artistic practice he is working in hybrid installation-performance formats. He understands sound as an intersubjective field, often enabled or expanded by audio procedures. Such procedures include the use of captured, displaced artifacts that are modulated through media and apparati of reproduction to produce new temporary places, situations and social architectures. His works have been presented at Fergus McCaffrey NYC, Moss Arts Center Blacksburg VA, Sinne Gallery Helsinki, Pinacoteca Bellas Artes Universidad de Caldas Manizales Colombia, AMEE Punto de Encuentro Madrid/Valencia, Loop Barcelona, Fridman Gallery, MoMA PS1, Knockdown Center, Pratt Institute, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, Diapason Gallery, Sculpture Center in New York, Eigen & Art Gallery Leipzig, Skolska28 Prague, Lothringer13 Munich and many more. He also taught his Non-representational Spatial Sound Composition workshop at Hunter College. Curatorially he runs an event series in New York City [CT::SWaM] that engages in spatial sound works and focussed listening. In September 2016 he also co-curated “9 Evenings + 50” at Fridman Gallery. Neumann has been working as an audio engineer and acoustic consultant since 2000. In 2012 he was the main assistant for Igor Kavulek, Stockhausen’s sound engineer for the Oktophonie performances at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC. He was the head engineer for live events at MoMA PS1 (2013-2016) and is currently FOH for Diamanda Galás, Nero and David Guetta, as well as the company sound engineer for the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound.

Ashkan Tabatabaie’s artistic and scholarly works are interwoven. Thanks to his different backgrounds, ranging from music composition to engineering, and his exploration of music psychology, he has reached an interdisciplinary approach between science and art. He has intuitively adapted psychoacoustical and music theory considerations as a crucial component of his composition language to accompany improvisational musical ideas that are rooted in his diverse musical background and training. With life as the main source of inspiration, he has written instrumental, electroacoustic, and creative multimedia pieces, many of which have been published and performed by distinguished performers, ensembles, and orchestras around the world. He is also an active scholar developing new music theories with a perceptual and cognitive viewpoint. Currently, he is a Composition Ph.D. student and Graduate Teaching Assistant and teaches music theory and music technology courses at the University of Utah. He has also studied at Tehran University of Art and Azad University and taught at the Iran University of Applied Science.

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