Spatialization and Computer Music

Peter Lennox

in The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199792030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Spatialization and Computer Music


This article is about the possibility of a new kind of music; computer-managed signal processing offers unprecedented possibilities in the control of sound fields, and the promise of three-dimensional music is on the horizon. A paradigm shift is under way; as technological constraints are rolled back, so must conceptual constraints be reevaluated. Some of these are concerned with what spatiality actually is. This article asks if people had evolved without vision, how they would have ever had developed concepts of perfect forms such as triangles, exact circles, precise shapes, and completely straight lines. Auditory spatial perception tends to suffer in direct comparison with vision, but it may be that spatiality in audition is fundamentally different in several important respects. New musical metaphors can illuminate these, and the control possibilities offered by digital audio are at the forefront of these experiments.

Keywords: computer-managed signal processing; sound fields; three-dimensional music; auditory spatial perception; digital audio

Article.  6833 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music

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