Spectral music: Theory and practice

Course Information
TitleΦασματική μουσική: Θεωρία και πράξη / Spectral music: Theory and practice
FacultyFine Arts
SchoolMusic Studies
Cycle / Level1st / Undergraduate
Teaching PeriodWinter
CoordinatorDimitrios Papageorgiou
Course ID600019732

Programme of Study: PPS Tmīmatos Mousikṓn Spoudṓn (2017-sīmera)

Registered students: 17
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
Musicology / Music EducationElective Courses745
Music CompositionElective Courses745

Class Information
Academic Year2020 – 2021
Class PeriodWinter
Instructors from Other Categories
Weekly Hours3
Class ID
Course Type 2021
Specific Foundation
Course Type 2011-2015
Specific Foundation / Core
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
  • Distance learning
Digital Course Content
The course is also offered to exchange programme students.
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
  • English (Instruction, Examination)
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the semester, students will be able to: Understand the basic principles and concepts of spectral music Recognize the aesthetic and technical characteristics of spectral music Have a broader understanding of the relationship between pitch material and sound and of the listening to music with a focus on sound, in general Understand basic techniques and tools for composing spectral music, such as additive synthesis, subtractive synthesis, FM synthesis, etc.
General Competences
  • Apply knowledge in practice
  • Retrieve, analyse and synthesise data and information, with the use of necessary technologies
  • Work autonomously
  • Work in teams
  • Advance free, creative and causative thinking
Course Content (Syllabus)
Spectral music is the music that focuses on timbre over all other musical parameters, and draws its musical material from the acoustic properties of the sound itself (sound spectra), the harmonic series, electronic music techniques, and psychoacoustics. Through the morphological and temporal perception and analysis of sound components through new technologies (composition algorithms, organic spectral models, etc.), spectral composers attempt to incorporate sound into musical writing, thus blurring the distinction between fluorescent material and and turning audio into evolving music. The course explores the field of spectral music from an aesthetic/theoretical, analytical, and compositional point of view. Over the semester, we will look at the different ways in which composers have incorporated these ideas into their music from the 1970s to the present, and approach works by composers such as Grisey, Murail, Levinas, Dufourt, Radulescu, Vivier, Romitelli, Sciarrino, Haas, Leroux, etc. They will be studied and used as analytical and synthetic tools, main features, and techniques such as Spectral Aggregation - Spectral Aggregates, Additive Synthesis, Instrumental Synthesis, Harmonic Harmonic / Inharmonic Spectra), Formants, Spectral Envelopes, Modulations, Transformations, etc. The process through which the objectives will be achieved includes a) practical contact with the examined objects (hearings/screenings and discussion), b) familiarity with the relevant essay and bibliography and c) critical analysis / critical creative work through works or composition, respectively, depending on the direction of the student. Scores, recordings, and articles will be distributed throughout the semester through elearning. There is no textbook. The course is addressed to all students. Depending on the number of students and the general dynamics of the class, more or less computer use will be made.
Educational Material Types
  • Slide presentations
  • Audio
  • Multimedia
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Use of ICT
  • Use of ICT in Course Teaching
Course Organization
Reading Assigment451.5
Written assigments451.5
Student Assessment
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Assignment (Formative)
  • Performance / Staging (Formative)
  • Composition using spectral techniques
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