sdf PhD





Exploring visual representation of sound
in computer music software through
programming and composition



Selected content from
a thesis submitted with a portfolio of works to the University of Huddersfield in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

December 2013

Samuel David Freeman

Minor amendments
April–June 2014

2: Looking at sound

Sound is a psychophysical phenomenon: there is the physical reality of molecular motion (acoustics), and there is the psychological subjectivity of the human observer (psychoacoustics). […]

In seeking to connect with sound itself through interactive visual representations, this project exist within the context of a contemporary occurrence of the periodic tendency described by Nicolas Collins (2012, p. 1):

The acoustical reality of sound, and its quirky interaction with our sense of hearing, periodically drives artists to return to the “year zero” in music – before the codification of melody, rhythm and harmony – and explore fundamental aspects of the physics and perception of sound.

This chapter first examines acoustic properties of sound as the stimulus of visual manifestation and begins to identify aesthetic foundations for the project. Some psychoacoustic aspects of sound are then introduced as developmental foundation for creative works. The themes chosen for discussion here are of those that feature in the portfolio pieces, though the multitude of connections between concepts and works are not all expressed at this stage; the contextualisation provided here is built upon in later chapters.


← 1: Introduction

2.1: Looking at physical aspects →