Sound models, metaphor and mimesis in the composition of electroacoustic music

Denise Garcia

Instituto de Artes
Universidade Estadual de Campinas


Different approaches of perceptual sound models are presented as compositional models in electroacoustic music, and are viewed as metaphorical manipulations. The concepts of metaphor and metonymy, as presented by Bernard Mâche, Jakobson and Barthes, are compared; it is then demonstrated that with regard to electroacoustic music these models have a mostly metaphorical status. A three-part classification follows: firstly, the model as an external sound object to be translated into other sound material and its variations; second, the model as an original object which will generate many versions and variations; third, the model, as a primary object, taken as a sample by the composer to collect other sound objects which have some connection with it. Three levels of the model's appropriation are also distinguished: the imitative level, the model taken as a formal structure and the model as a conception generator. This classification is compared with Calvocoressi's conceptions, showing that these levels are found in work with perceptual models in general.