Thesis Info

Thesis Title
A Theory on Musical Translation
Benjamin O'Brien
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of Florida
Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Paul Koonce
Supervisor e-mail
koonce AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Music / Composition
Languages Familiar to Author
English, French
URL where full thesis can be found
music, composition, translation, map, language, computer science, electroacoustic music, computer music
Abstract: 200-500 words
As an electroacoustic composer, I am interested in establishing connections between disparate, even seemingly unrelated, sounds. I use computer technology to fabricate sonic regions of coincidence, where my coordinated mix of carefully selected sounds suggests relationships between the sounds and the illusions they foster. My interest in inscribing the spectral qualities of individual sounds into sequences of sounds defines my compositional practice. If one were to generalize and categorize my compositional interests, one could argue that, when performed successfully, this practice is akin to the procedures of a translator, who determines the semantic meaning of a linguistic message encoded in the sender’s language and communicates it in the language of the receiver. Others may adopt the position that though the composer may create a system that resembles a linguistic-based model, her highly personal music, in all its complexities, is non-translatable. Additionally, there may be some who condemn this discussion as being wholly moot given their position that music is not a linguistic-based system of communication in which propositional semantic meaning is determined through distributional and syntactic organization and is therefore incapable of being translated. This dissertation addresses these ideas and explores the possibility for translation in music as I define it.