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Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater - Lietuvos Muzikos ir Teatro Akademija

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Principles of Music Composing 2018

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The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between audiation, improvisation, and synesthesia in the music of Olivier Messiaen. “When I hear a score or read it, hearing it in my mind, I visualize corresponding colors which turn, shift, and combine, just as the sounds turn, shift, and combine, simultaneously” (Samuel 1986: 37). The function of audiation, synesthesia and improvisation are manifest in the creative procedure of Messiaen’s in compositions. Messiaen “audiates” in his compositions the sensation of color. Harmonic configurations that Messiaen utilizes his fashioned Modes of Limited Transposition that dictate particular harmonic colors. For Messiaen and other individuals who have the neurological trait synesthesia, music generates within these individuals a perceived wash of colors. The complexity of neurophysiology and information processing within neuronal networks are considered in this investigation. In view of cytoarchitecture, along with the auditory cognition research and theories of Cook and Baldwin and the concept of improvisation, an exploration of the complex reality of audiation, improvisation, synesthesia, and cognition within the music of Messiaen is explored.


Published version. Principles in Music Composing (2018): 41-44. Publisher link. © 2018 Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater - Lietuvos Muzikos ir Teatro Akademija. Used with permission.

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