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Any quality of musical material.



This article introduces some clarity in terminology for the usage on the wiki. Historically the basic term in the literature is parameter, but it's used quite inconsistently from author to author.

Event (musical event) — "Anything" that can happen — (in our case) a unit of music at any given scale of consideration.

Just a "event" is a very broad term for "a thing that may happen", aspect is able to equally broadly describe what is being played. Aspect will be any category of such descriptions. Like with events, you can have macro-, mezo- and micro- aspects. These are, again, fluid, but a macro-aspect will generally refer to the whole piece, and genre or duration could be examples here. Mezo-aspect may describe a section (e.g. dynamic direction), while micro-aspects is used for short "moments" (chord quality etc.)

Dimension — An aspect applicable to a single sound and continuous.

Parameter — A basic quality of the musical material that might be changed without modifying the value of other parameters of the same material.

There are some distinct types of aspects — check for example additional info on dimensions and parameters (both usually treated as micro-aspects). If you ask a "Yes/no" question about music, you investigate a binary aspect. Some aspects are formal in character while other deal with broader cultural contexts (referential).

Not every aspect can be applicable to every type of musical material, and the complete list of aspects (and types of aspects) is impossible to make. Here are some examples:

Aspect Type of aspect, remarks
Authorship referential
Density mezo-
Duration the only (?) aspect applicable to every material, as long as precision is not required
Genre macro-, referential
Mode if material uses modes
Mood mezo-
Number of sound sources expressed in natural numbers
Pitch micro-, parameter, dimension
Stability quite subjective and imprecise measure, mezo-aspect
Style macro-
Tempo dimension
Timbre complex micro-aspect, parameter
Type of sources constellation or family of instruments
Volume parameter, dimension

Theoretical clarification (!)

The great overview of the topic can be found in Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen's "Sound is Multi-Dimensional"

In the treatise and historically, Dimensions/Parameters/Aspects are not separately defined, more often treated as synonyms, and there are many takes on this topic. Parameter is often a basic term, and Aspect here at G4M is equivalent to the most broad understanding of a parameter (parameter is as in a narrow definition). The distinction between different types of aspects is introduced in the context of music games design due to more formal (mathematical / systemic) nature of complex games and the resulting need for developing the vocabulary.

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