Brian Connolly, Playing the Ear: Non-Linearities of the Inner Ear and their Creative Potential (PhD, Maynooth University, 2016)

These details defined Thu Jul 4 16:41:15 2019, last updated Sun Jul 7 11:18:08 2019  edit
 Author:  Connolly, Brian 
 Title:  Playing the Ear: Non-Linearities of the Inner Ear and their Creative Potential 
 Degree, institution:  PhD, Maynooth University 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2016 
 Volumes, pp.:  1 (152pp and 15pp) + 2 CD + 1 USB Flash Drive 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr Gordon Delap 
 Repository:  Maynooth University. 
 General specialism:  Musicology 
 Content, key terms: 

This thesis concerns the application of psychoacoustic phenomena relating to the non-linear nature

of the inner ear as an electroacoustic compositional tool. The compositions included in this portfolio

explore the validity of a variety of non-linear inner ear phenomena within composition by

employing them as primary compositional devices.

Psychoacoustics research into the non-linearities of the inner ear has proven that the inner ear has

much more to offer the composer than has been previously considered. By reversing the role of the

ear from, what Christopher Haworth describes as, 'being a submissive receiver' (184) to becoming an

active participant in the creative process, an exciting level of opportunity opens up for both the

composer and listener. A focus is given in this research to auditory distortion products and

bandwidth phenomena with references to the author's own compositional material.

While it is relatively common for composers to have explored various elements of psychoacoustics

in their work, a project of this size, which explicitly explores such material, has not been carried out

until now. The work of Maryanne Amacher, Alvin Lucier, Diana Deutsch, and others has

highlighted the possibilities of employing psychoacoustic principles in music. This research takes a

new approach by placing a direct focus on the benefits of the utilisation of these non-linear

mechanisms of the inner ear for the composer, while also positing a number of new creative

methodologies with respect to the non-linearities of the inner ear.