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New Music Concepts 2019

Perceptual foundations for a nonlinear asynchronous expression

Part of the New Music Concepts book series (NMC volume 6)
ISBN: 978-88-944350-0-9

Author(s): M. Bercier

Abstract: If we are going to begin to take music a step further and begin to explore new possibilities and new sonic environments we need to first assess how exactly we disseminate and communicate ideas that possess intrinsic temporal dimensions that defy the current linear framework. Linearity and synchronicity, while unifying, are concepts that constrain the temporal cognitive dimension of music and sound. Removing these constraints creates room for new possibilities that allow us to express more accurately the stream of new ideas pouring forth from within the temporal arts. With a means for communicating such ideas we can more accurately critique and reflect upon the ramifications of these new developments. When we call into question the premise of musical thought as a lin- ear progression we are also calling into question the premise that time is a linear progression since both music and time are intrinsically cognate to one another. From a purely phenomenological perspective we can say that both a linear and nonlinear perception of time is inherently part of our experience of the world. While our experience of the present is best described as a linear progression, the role of memory and multisensory experience serves to disorient this explanation. Music serves to communicate the temporal facet of our experience that is at best described as irrational, serving as a kind of antithesis to semantical communication. If this is true then we must also ask why the linguistic framework of this mode of communication is of a purely linear design. Examining musical notation closely reveals room for a more harmonious marriage between nonlinear and linear design that ultimately awards us the freedom to impart an elegant and extra-dimensional array of concepts. This paper extrapolates upon these communicative principles to form the basis for a nonlinear asynchronous notation (NLAN) system.

Keywords: Nonlinearity, asynchronicity, graphic notation, linguistic relativity