Notes

6. In Emmerson’s system an abstract syntax is one in which the musical ideas and sound materials being used are organized independently from each other, that is, where the structure of the piece has no intrinsic relationship to the timbres being used. An abstracted syntax is one in which the organization is abstracted directly from the sound-generating materials (Vickers 2006). For example, if the relationships between recorded environmental sounds were carried through into the organization of a musique concrète composition, then we would say the music’s syntax had been abstracted from the sonic materials. Thus, traditional music composition tends to use abstract syntax in which the notes on the score are related only to each other or to some external device (e.g., random numbers, the Fibonacci series, etc.).