The Acoustic Model of Sound as a Phenomenon of Symphonic Thinking (on the Example of the Seventh Symphony of Avet Terterian)

Anna B. Tikhomirova


The functions of timbre in a sonoristic composition present an interesting phenomenon of symphonic thinking. The
music of symphonic composers from the former Soviet Union of the last third of the 20th century, particularly, Avet
Terterian, is distinguished for its artistic and philosophical-aesthetical interpretation of the “image of the sound of the
Universe.” For the sake of analyzing the sonoristic fabric of the music the author of the article applies the method
of description of the acoustical model. The phenomenon of transformation of acoustic information is revealed in the
musical language on several levels: the objective acoustical parameters and the psychoacoustic aspect; the emotionalmental
levels (comprised of associations, sound symbols and archetypes); timbre as an “image of sound,” reflecting
the artist’s picture of the world. A systemic approach to analysis of acoustic information of the musical text makes it
possible to perceive the phonic connections of the timbral and textural elements of different hierarchical levels. As
a result the characteristic features of Terterian’s musical language – the isomorphic unity of different-scale elements
and the resultant thematicism based on timbre and texture – are revealed. The form-generating functions of timbre in
Terterian’s symphonies are demonstrated both as an object and as a process.
The author emphasizes that the foundation of Terterian’s musical language is based on the cognitive precepts of
archaic strata of an oral musical tradition, in which the function of music is inseparably connected with the spiritual
practice of religious contemplation.

Keywords: Avet Terterian, symphonic genre, timbre, acoustic model, orchestral timbre texture, sonoristics, the
sonar signs of culture.

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