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Some Basic Aspects of an Information Theory of Music

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To the revolution of musical doctrine, under the impact of electroacoustical techniques, Information Theory brings some leading concepts for building a new theoretical system of music. Music is one of the messages of our environment, and the human channel, as a consequence of psychophysical uncertainty principles, determines basically the repertories of sound symbols. According to the -point of view- of the receiver, various repertories appear for both -semantic,- i.e. intelligible, and -esthetic,- i.e., sensory or emotional, messages, both intricately involved in the sound sequences. It is possible to separate experimentally the information content of the various repertories, which can be distinguished according to the time scale of perception. The system of values thus obtained gives a metrical pattern of the musical signal. By taking into account the variations of informational rates which a particular individual can grasp, it is possible to arrive at some general rules governing the musical signal, especially in the comparatively simple cases of the work of arrangers of light music, which is more clearly defined according to the capacity of the listener. These rules appear to be particularly useful in the new field of experimental music, which makes wide use of electronic and acoustical means.

JAES Volume 6 Issue 3 pp. 184-186; July 1958
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