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The Science and Technology of Music


Research Project: Psychological foundations for a theory of orchestration

Back to Research Field: Music Perception and Cognition

Psychological foundations for a theory of orchestration

  Research Project Information
Runtime: Apr 01, 2013 until Mar 27, 2017
Project coordination: Denys Bouliane; Stephen McAdams
Scientific staff: Jonathan Wild

Most orchestration treatises contain little of what may truly be called "theory" of orchestration. However, results from timbre perception and auditory scene analysis provide a solid basis for theorizing about many techniques of orchestration involving the perceptual characterization of the sounds of musical instruments, the conditions under which perceptual fusion and timbral blend occur, how timbral similarities and differences contribute to different types of musical textures, and how large-scale orchestral gestures maintain perceptual cohesion and have an emotional impact. This project also involves the development and potential commercialization of the Digital Orchestra SIMulator (DOSIM), which has become an essential tool for exploring orchestration perception through re-orchestrations.