University of Limerick
2011_Mccourt_sonic.pdf (9.53 MB)

Sonic images and multimedia aesthetics in electroacoustic music.

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posted on 2023-01-26, 09:19 authored by Stephen John McCourt
This thesis and the accompanying body of work explore the relevance of sonic images to the composition and analysis of electroacoustic music. While the importance of intrinsic sonic properties is not overlooked, an approach to composition and analysis of electroacoustic music is explored where meaning is discovered through source bonding, metaphor and mimesis. Through these three concepts electroacoustic music affords extrinsic references, which are suggestive of images. Other ways that sonic images can be perceived in electroacoustic music are also explored including gestalt images, images of depth, images of the medium, amplified reality and conceptual images. Source bonding, metaphor and mimesis are also highlighted as relevant to moving images in certain audio-visual works. Similar forms of analysis are thus shown to be useful towards moving images in audio-visual works and sounds in electroacoustic music. A useful analogy is also described between sound combined with visual images in audio-visual works and intrinsic sonic properties combined with extrinsic references in electroacoustic music. Through this analogy between audio-visual works and electroacoustic music, this thesis describes how concepts related to structuring visual images in multimedia are meaningful for creating and analyzing sonic images in electroacoustic music. Ultimately, this exploration of sonic images and multimedia aesthetics has provided me with a language for creating and analyzing electroacoustic music through what Simon Emmerson refers to as a quasi-visual mindscape. The body of work accompanying this thesis consists of five acousmatic works: ac-1 – ac5. Two of these works, ac-2 and ac-3 were composed as music to audio-visual works. This process of composing for images was influential towards ideas in this thesis and composition of standalone acousmatic works. Ac-2 and ac-3 are also intended to exist as standalone acousmatic works.



  • Faculty of Science and Engineering


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Hagan, Kerry L

Second supervisor

Simpson, Jurgen





Also affiliated with

  • DMARC - Digital Media and Arts Research Centre

Department or School

  • Computer Science & Information Systems

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