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several in the auditory domain. Likewise , he describes various auditory organizing principles that parallel their visual counterparts. Fundamentally, Bregman would insist that we experience the auditory world as we do the visual, as distinct events to attend to. Thus an arbitrary chopping up of the auditory experience, while a seductive temptation, will necessarily be misleading in translation. Bregman issues a warning we would all do well to heed. In the tradition of cognitive psychology , Bregman describes two ways that our auditory systems solve the problem of detecting auditory events. The first is by the use of parallel primitive processes that are preattentive. That is, these processes are happening whether we know it or not, and they are closely aligned with our hearing mechanisms. They are not subject to the effects of attention. The other way we discern independent auditory streams is by schemas (learned patterns ) that incorporate our knowledge of familiar sounds. By 'schernas' Bregman is referring to constructed products of sequential attentive processes , or a grid of experience-based rules, that tell us that a sound is or is not generated by the same source as the prior sound. The basic elements of auditory scene analysis include frequency region , spatial location, intensity fluctuations , the direction of frequency changes, and spectrum, or timbre. Our ability to direct our attention to a narrow frequency range helps us distinguish independent streams, but we are easily confused by spatial cues. When hearing a continuous stream, shifting from ear to ear, we tend to perceive separate events as this change occurs. Of course, when we are listening to sounds with a broadfrequency spectrum, our ear has to estimate the fundamental frequency. Such simple concepts as melody (sequential tones that we group as a coherent auditory stream), harmony (simultaneous tones that we group, to a greater and lesser extent, into one 'chord' or sonic event) and orchestration involve an implicit understanding of auditory scene analysis. Composers dealing with complex sounds or mixtures of many sounds would do well to understand some of the principals elucidated by Bregman . The ways that spectral similarity competes with frequency, spatial placement and other variables of the 118 Reviews ways in which we discern independent streams are not only rich areas of explicitly musical inquiry, but they are elements that we deal with whether we know it or not. Counterpoint , pedal tones, voice leading, klangfarbenmelodie, uses of silence, electronic techniques for manipulating spatial placement, timbre changes that do not follow 'ecological' rules (i.e. fitting with our understanding of how sound works in the physical environment ), and grouping of sounds by rhythmic unison are all examples of how we work with auditory streaming (or how it works with us). As composers and audio artists pushing the envelope of the ways in which sound can be used to convey information , feelings, ideas and so on, we have all felt the effects of the history of music, the effects of technological development, the effects of insights from other art forms and the impact of religion and philosophy. The impact of a greater understanding of our auditory system is potentially as rich as any of these other influences. It has the distinct advantage of applying to all styles of music and all uses of sound. Writing melodies and making noises, building instruments and controlling sounds with dance or atmospheric sensors are all subject to human perceptual tendencies. We may as well understand them and use them. THE SACKBUT BLUES: HUGH LE CAINEPIONEER IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC by Gayle Young. National Museum for Science and Technology, Ottawa, Ontario , Canada, 1989. (Can) $29.95. ISBN: 0-660-12006-2. Reviewed byMarc Battier, [RCAM, 31, rueSaint-Merri, F-75004Paris, France. It is remarkable that this book was published at the same time in French and in English. For this review, the publisher sent both versions. I grabbed the French book at first, only to quickly find that I had to turn to the English version, which I found more elegantly written. Indeed, the author wrote her text in English, which is not to say that the translation is not good. One problem is worth mentioning, though, as it is in some ways typical: an early piece by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-4812
Print ISSN
0961-1215
Pages
pp. 118-119
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-06
Open Access
No
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