[ISEA2011] Paper: Sebastian Schmidt, Thomas Alexander Troge & Denis Lorrain – CONCEPTUAL RELATIONS: Musical representations do not need music theory


Background: In the scientific discourse the opinion prevails that music can only be understood, if listeners have learned explicit musical logic. Therefore it is important a musician or a composer study different theories about music, in order to expand abilities and to develop its own practical style.

But which musical representations could attain listeners, which neither have studied music theories, nor play a music instrument?

Aims: This paper focus to explain that musical representations are constructed as combinations of conceptual relations between classes or categories of sounds. This construction is performed during classification or categorization, caused by unconscious and conscious ratings of possible relations. The second aim is to present an initial draft of a new musical description, based on mixture of conceptual relations, which, in a process of abduction, assign their dynamic identity to acoustical information.

Main Contribution: In a first step this paper points the working of the nervous system in relation the auditory memory and the underlying principles from the cognitive perspective as well as the process of memorization  from  the  perspective  of  emotion.  In  a  second  step,  we  outline  the  conditions  and functionality of conceptual relations between sounds as a process of abduction.

Conclusion:  With  the  resources  of  modern  science,  we  have  tried  to  shown  in  this  paper  that classification and categorization of information processes is a general mental operation in human beings. Hence, we suggested, non-musicians also have the ability to rate, separate and group individual sound events in relation to musical representations. Those representations can be different from those of trained musicians, as regards their structure, time span, and effect.
Our main point was to sketch an initial draft of a new musical theory, based on mixture of conceptual relations, which, in a process of abduction, assign their dynamic identity to acoustical information. In addition, such relations are responsible for musical concepts and emotional states arisen while listening to music, and for the musical perception of time.

  • Sebastian Schmidt was born in Halle/Saale (Germany) 1977. From 2001 – 2005 he worked at the University of Design Hannover and the Landesmuseum Hannover, this work included the „Interaktiver Museumsrundgang“ project as well as support for final year Diploma students in the areas of audio and Video/3D. Since 2005 Sebastian has studied musicology and music informatics at the University of Music Karlsruhe and the University Karlsruhe. During this time he has produced numerous works that combine visual mediums with contemporary music. This has included close work with the composers Paulo Ferriera Lopes, Luke Styles, Rita Torres and Daniel Dominguez. Since 2008 Sebastian has been working as a masters student studying both music informatics at the University of Music Karlsruhe and cognitive science at the University Freiburg. 2009-2010 Sebastian got a scholarship (Landesgraduiertenstipendiat des Landes Baden-Württemberg) for his research work in music cognition. Since October 2010 Sebastian is PhD candidate at IMWI – Institute for Musicology and Music Informatics at the University of Music Karlsruhe, Germany. 2011 Sebastian got a scholarship (Barbara-Wengeler-Stiftung) for his doctural thesis. The working title of his doctural thesis is: “Between traditional descriptions and the real creative processes involved, while music is being composed or listened to”.  youtube.com/user/selectedartofmind
  • Prof. dr. Thomas Alexander Troge was born in 1950. He studied piano and composition at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany, and at the same time engeneering at the University Karlsruhe. In the following years he studied also Sociology and Psychology. Until 1985, Thomas A. Troge focused mainly on concert and teaching activities as well as plates and redio recordings. 1985-1995, he founded and directed the ‘Center for Music and Leisure Research’, and also received numerous international research and consulting assignments in the field of art and new media. Furthermore, Thomas A. Troge was involved in international multimedia-projects until 1989. Member of the planning group for the Karlsruher Centre for Art and Media Technology. Numerous publications, radio and television programs in the areas of music-culture, art and new media, cultural sociology, technical translation of Musical Acoustics. 1991/92 PhD in Sociology of Music (“Zwischen Gesangverein und Musikcomputer”), from 1993 Professor of Music Informatics at the University of Music in Karlsruhe. There, he founded the  ‘Computer Studio’. Various compositions for tape and/or live electronics. Participation in the project  ‘Virtual University Baden-Wuerttemberg’. Since 2005 Thomas A. Troge is director and cofounder of the Institute of Musicology  and Music Informatics (IMWI) at the University of Music Karlsruhe. Currently he is establishing an international doctoral and research college focused on Music, Creativity and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Prof. dr. Denis Lorrain. Born in 1948, Canadian and French citizen. He has studied at the Music Faculties of the universities of Montreal and McGill (Canada), and holds a Doctoral Degree from the University of Paris I Sorbonne (France), in Music and Aesthetics of Musical Arts, directed by composer Iannis Xenakis. From 1973 to 1979, he has studied and worked in Europe, at Utrecht, Paris and Marseille. Assistant-Professor at the University of Montreal from 1980 to 1982, he has taught computer music and composition. He left this appointment to join the Pedagogy/Production Department of IRCA, Paris, where he has worked as Teaching Assistant. From 1988 to 2008, he has been Professor of Electroacoustics and Computer Music, SONVS, Composition Department, at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse of Lyons  (France). During these years, he has also continued collaborating with IRCAM on various grounds (Musical Assistant, Technical Advisor, Research Associate). He is now currently Professor für Musikinformatik at the University of Music of Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg, Germany).  perso.numericable.fr/~lordenis

Full text (PDF) p. 2177-2183