Spatial Exploration: Physical, Abstracted, and Hybrid Spaces as Compositional Parameters in Sound Art

Traub, Peter Michael, Department of Music, University of Virginia
Shatin, Judith, Department of Music, University of Virginia

This dissertation shows the potential of spatial design as a central site of compositional play. I begin by proposing a conceptual framework that elucidates the interrelationship of particular technological advances and developing notions of space and that emphasizes the compositional importance of decoupling space from time and place. I define two basic spatial types: physical and abstracted. These can be combined to form a third major type: hybrid. I trace the changing spatio-musical responses to architectural developments from the 1500s to the present, and follow with a discussion of the effects of the scientific and technological revolution on modern perceptions and conceptions of space. I then analyze and situate pieces by representative composers within my conceptual framework. Finally, I discuss my own series of pieces, Five Spaces, a set of installations and performances that embody the types of space examined previously. I explain my compositional methodology and show how space decoupled from time and place can be recoupled in musically compelling forms.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
spatial design, compositional play
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