Electroacoustics / Psychoacoustics
Pierre Schaeffer, with whom the French version of this term (l'objet sonore) is most associated, describes it as an acoustical "object for human perception and not a mathematical or electroacoustical object for synthesis." The sound object may be defined as the smallest self-contained element of a SOUNDSCAPE, and is analysable by the characteristics of its SPECTRUM, LOUDNESS and ENVELOPE.
See also: GRAIN, INTERNAL DYNAMICS, MASS, TIMBRE, VOLUME.
Though the sound object may be referential (e.g. a bell, a drum, etc.) it is to be considered primarily as a phenomenological sound formation, independent of its referential qualities as a SOUND EVENT. Schaeffer: "The sound object must not be confused with the sounding body by which it is produced," for one sounding body "may supply a great variety of objects whose disparity cannot be reconciled by their common origin." Similarly, the sound object may be considered independently of the social or musical contexts in the soundscape from which it is isolated. Sound objects may be classified according to their MORPHOLOGY and TYPOLOGY.
Recording and processing a sound object is often the starting point for ELECTROACOUSTIC music composition.
See also: MUSIQUE CONCRETE, TAPE LOOP. Compare: SOUND EFFECT, SOUND SIGNAL, SOUND SYNTHESIS.
Ref.: P. Schaeffer, Traité des Objets Musicaux, Paris, 1966; and Trois microsillons d'exemples sonores, 3 discs and booklet, published by l'O.R.T.F., Paris.