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English definition

Thursday 6 January 2005, by Rob Weale

Property of recorded sounds which expose, suggest or at least do not hide the source to which they belong. A vector pointing in the opposite direction to interiority, it refers to the ’non-abstractness’ of sounds, i.e.: to their context away from intrinsic criteria of perception. By referential sounds I should like to designate only those which point towards a more macroscopic setting, referring to natural scenes and phenomena, human or mechanical activity. It is not their real origin that matters, but their power of evoking extrinsic settings. A referential sound can even be of synthetic origin: e.g.: a filter sweep in a band of white noise could refer to ’wind’. (Source - Rodolfo Caesar (1992). The Composition of Electroacoustic Music. PhD Thesis, University of East Anglia.)

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