Spectral Music

Spectral Music utilizes an analysis of sound spectra usually through mathematical means. In a way, it may be compared with the operation of observing a material under microscope and then building a large scale object using that information. Not unlike the similarity between the random walks used by Xenakis to create continuous glissandi and his GenDyn program producing the air wave pressure. Based on a computer sound analysis of sound, spectral music creates an analogy between the internal structure of a sound and that of the entire piece. In many instances. It also erases the difference between harmony and timbre.

Spectral music originated in France in the early 1970s with Tristan Murail and Gerard Grisey as the main representatives. Some have tried to enlarge the definition of spectral music to include any attempt to use timbre as an element of musical structure.

A very good source of information is the article Guide to the Basic Concepts and Techniques of Spectral Music by Joshua Fineberg from Contemporary Music Review, 2000, vol 19 Part 2, p.81-113.

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