Composition area presents: Introduction to the Analytical Methods of Aural Sonology (Music-as-Heard)


Dominique Lafortune
Philippe Macnab-Séguin
Gabriel Dufour-Laperrière

The presentation will be followed by a Q & A 

The theory developed by Lasse Thoresen over the course of his career, called Aural Sonology, studies music as a perceived phenomenon rather than how a piece is constructed or notated. It allows the analyst to apprehend any work (or compare any two works), independent of style and culture, on the basis of perceptual patterns, systematized into precise taxonomies.

Please note: These workshops are available to staff and students at the Schulich School of Music. Info on how to attend will be sent by email from to the Schulich community weekly.

Aural Sonology being based on phenomenology (Music-as-Heard), Thoresen considers our perception of music to operate on three distinct levels. Level one is that of the sound objects, as described by Pierre Schaeffer, where each individual sound can be observed for its own characteristics through “écoute réduite”. Level two, where sound objects interact, is that of compound sound patterns, and has been the object of study of most traditional music theories (harmony, rhythm, meter, etc.). Level three is where compound sound patterns interact to give birth to emergent forms of a higher order: time-fields and their demarcations, dynamic forms and their musical goals, sound layers and their configurations, and finally form-building processes and transformations.

This presentation will focus on those aspects on which Thoresen has concentrated his research, mainly the first and third levels of perception.

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