Perception and Structure in Electroacoustic Music: A Portfolio of Compositions

Electronic versions


  • Steven Tunnicliffe

    Research areas

  • electroacoustic music, acousmatic music


Following Pierre Schaeffer’s proclamation of the primacy of the ear, the composition of acousmatic music has remained a practice based on aural perception. Consequently, the relationships on which acousmatic musical structures are based may not be easily described in terms of their formal logic. Rather, perceived relationships in acousmatic works are likely rooted in complex psychological schemas based on the cultural experiences of individual listeners. Where abstract sounds are concerned, timbral or morphological similarities may form the basis of such relationships. Conversely, symbolic meanings attributed to referential sounds may engender extra-musical relationships in predictable or unpredictable ways. Thus, structural organisation in acousmatic music is inextricably linked to material.

The purpose of this project was to explore structural organisation in acousmatic music through practical research in composition. The accompanying portfolio contains eleven pieces that chart the development of my compositional practice during the period 2012 to 2018, and particularly my approach to musical structure.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date8 May 2019