Philosophy and Digital Sound
Philosophers of auditory perception have recently advanced our understanding of the nature of sounds, understood as the objects of auditory perception, but the debates have focused mainly on the nature of natural sounds, resulting from vibrational events in our close physical environments, and only to a lesser extent on recorded sounds and sound images. However, it is questionable to classify all digital sounds as recordings, because there are synthetic digital sounds. It is also questionable to subsume them under the broader category of sound images insofar as some sound events that populate our digital everyday life, such as alarms and notifications, are not intended to represent sounds other than themselves, but to perform acts of warning or notification.
This project is based on the premise that digital sounds have conditions of existence and identity distinct from those of natural sounds, which requires the construction of a distinct philosophical ontology for digital sounds. According to the hypothesis, the identity and existence conditions of digital sounds are not dependent on a vibratory event within a propagation medium, but rather on a data structure that plays a notation-like role, and explains the repeatability and portability of digital sounds. This hypothesis also has consequences on the theories of digital music notation, and on the question of phonographic realism applied to digital sound recordings.
IRCAM's Team : Analysis of Musical Practices