Psychoacoustics – basics for a composer and performer

Scientific and technological advance has opened conceptually new opportunities for sound recording, such as computer technology.

The new technology has served as a basis for audio industry proliferation. Nowadays significant progress has been made in the equipment for recording, transmitting and reproducing sound. But still the ultimate judge for this exciting activity is our ear.

That is why the main focus of attention has shifted to Psychoacoustics – a new and extremely interesting branch of science that studies psychological and physiological aspects of human sound perception.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF PSYCHOACOUSTICS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  • to understand how human acoustic system processes and "deciphers" sound images;
  • to establish the connection between physical stimuli and acoustic sensations;
  • to establish the parameters of auditory signals that are crucial for rendering sense and emotions

This knowledge is of extreme importance for further development of audio equipment and music as an art, the art of performance, improving musical instruments, developing computer music etc. It is also crucial for sound producers as the understanding of the mechanisms of individual "audial space" provides the basis for their creative work.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE COMPOSER AND PERFORMER IS TO CREATE A SOUND IMAGE AND TO TRANSMIT IT TO THE AUDIENCE VIA THE RECORDING MEANS

Here is the list of parameters that should be taken into account in the course of creating a composition:

  • spatial impression;
  • transparency;
  • musical balance;
  • interfering noises;
  • quality of performance;
  • music setting;
  • sound engineering;
  • stereophonic effect

The above mentioned parameters present only a small part of the whole body of data encompassed by Psychoacoustics!

Every parameter is assessed by a music professional. Now we will try to clarify the purpose of every parameter to equip you with all the necessary information for their effective use in your creative work.

Spatial impression. What does this term stand for and what should be taken into account? One of the merits of quality music recordings is the sensation of perspective, or the illusion of different distances from the listener to certain instruments in the orchestra. This sensation of perspective and versatility creates the effect of three-dimensionality of sound, which is often lost in recording, especially in monophonic recordings.

Transparency. This term implies the distinctness of different instruments in the orchestra, the clarity of the music form, distinctness and intelligibility of words in the song etc.

Musical balance is the ratio between the volumes of sound of different instruments in the orchestra, evaluated mostly by the level of direct sound signals coming immediately from the performer to the microphone.

Interfering noises include hisses and other unwanted sounds in the recording that distract the listener from the perception of music.


Quality of performance. This parameter is evaluated from different perspectives including both the permormer's interpretation of the musical piece and the performance itself – tempo, intonation, pitch, and other qualities.

Music setting. In some cases the quality of the music composition is evaluated, among other parameters, on the basis of its instrumentation (the music setting of the performance).

Sound engineering. This parameter is important for controlling the proper use of microphones, special effects, mixing quality, and other aspects of creating the right sound image that have not been mentioned before.

Stereophonic effect. In comparison with monophonic, stereophonic sound transmission is much closer to the natural "live" sound, and is more capable of reproducing the real atmosphere of the place of performance. The assessment of the stereophonic recording will be incomplete if the evaluation parameters are the same as for monophonic recording.

We have only mentioned some of the parameters to be taken into account in the course of creating a composition. All the parameters are checked and evaluated by a professional. But it is the author, composer and performer who can do their best to receive a favourable expert review and to promote their music!

MUSIC EXPERTS WILL DO PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION OF YOUR MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS

If you are interested in professional evaluation of your music, log on to ExpertMusic portal and start cooperating with us. We offer free expert evaluation of musical compositions and recommendations on improving them.

In order to use this service leave an application on ExpertMusic portal, stating that you are interested in receiving a review about the quality of your music composition.

We hope that this information will be helpful in your creative activity.

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