Sebastian Castagna was our visiting lecturer this week, composer and sound artist, his interest is in electro acoustic music and he enjoys the analysis process when listening to music.

He gave us a short piano piece to start our analysis on, and walked through the first three sections, in the first section there is a repeat of three notes, when we then examined the second section, we could see it was a mirror of the first three notes, instead of going down then up, it went up then down. The third section then had the same note pattern as the first but all of the notes were held twice as long, this was the extended version. This is an interesting mechanic when producing music, more can be created from the material by a simple process of original, mirror, extended.

Sound is not always speaking about itself, but about the room and space it’s in. This is a very poignant line for me, as I need people not only to see relevant audio, but to make them feel they are out in the open, not in an exhibition space.

If mixing sound in stereo the speakers have to be placed correctly to replicate what you want people to hear, ie, for me, the Great Bustard sculpture will have it’s own noise, but when triggered the sound needs to move from the sculpture over the wall and away, so thinking ahead about the placement of speakers is something I must not overlook.

Musical Gestures can add movement to your piece, Texture is a background feeling to the sound, much like Pollocks paintings are a visual texture.

One of the slides showed Sebastians breakdown of sound analysis…


nature sounds (sea, rain, wind, etc.)
city sounds (cars, people, etc)
industrial sounds (machinery, etc)
timbre (colour)
shape (contour)


Spatial Behaviour: foreground/background   –   stereo image/placement


density (layers)
pace (fast, slow)
dynamics (loud, quiet)
spatial treatment

This was great to see it all laid out as a list, things to consider when putting my sound together!

For the last part of Sebastian’s talk we analysed section by section a piece of Javier Alvarez electro-acoustic music called Dorcoba Aureispina. Again breaking it down bit by bit..

Very useful to think about the sound in this analytic way.

He also recommended the Michel Chion book – Audio Vision, Sound on Screen.

Thanks Sebastian!