The Journal Of Music In Ireland: Ireland's Bi-Monthly Music Magazine
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The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Eala&iacuteon
John McLachlan
<< September/October 2007 : Volume 7, Number 5 >>
Composer John McLachlan argues that there is a sixth musical parameter which never gets mentioned in musicology or theory

It is a commonplace of the composition class that there are five parameters or dimensions in music, and that it is helpful from time to time to consider them separately. They are pitch, time, timbre, amplitude, and envelope (or articulation). A great deal of trouble, disagreement and healthy dialectic too has followed the coining of this idea (not to mention debate about who coined it, some time in the middle of the last century). For a very short while in music history, in Europe and America in the 1950s, there was a fruitful questioning (and occasional subversion) of the traditional order of their importance as the determinants of musical structure, and some limited attempts also to create arithmetical, abstract schema that could then be applied to more than one parameter. The main...

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