Spatialization / Perceived Location
Musical spatialization refers to the perceived location of a sound event. This is achieved by several methods, each beyond the scope of this text. Suffice it to say that with few notable exceptions, the perception of the location of a sound is done through amplitude panning or wavefield interference patterns. I commonly work with 32 audio channels, which facilitates the spatialization of sound to a high degree of granularity. However, since this is possible to a very limited degree with stereo, the example below will provide a limited idea of the intention involved. Here we generalize the term “spatialization” to include the perceived location of visual events as well.
The perceived locations of audio and visual events are particularly interesting in a visual music composition. When operating in synchronization the effect is obvious and powerful. Imagine a visual object, existing in a 2D space. It moves from right to left and back again across the field of view. As it does a musical object is perceived to move in synchronization with it. The viewers eyes and ears now expect this as it becomes more prominent through repetition… the two events become linked in the viewer’s perspective. When it is altered or done away with altogether the surprise of the sudden contrast is dynamic.
In the first section of this example, the tendency of the audio and the visual is to move from left to right. Near the end, the correlation is much looser except at the very end where it once again syncs up. Experimenting with the spatial relationships between the audio and visual can pull a composition together into a singular expression and it can act as a guide for the viewer’s perception.