Tiny Sounds

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. David Colson

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Biggs

Third Advisor

Dr. David Code

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Our auditory system perceives sounds within a specific range of frequencies and amplitudes. It is the way we define our aural world and the sounds we are able or willing to hear. Just above the border of the threshold of human audition hearing, we find unique sounds with particular characteristics. These sometimes forgotten or ignored sounds interest me as compositional elements.

Listening attentively requires extra effort from our ears and concentration; listening to sounds that vacillate from imperceptible to audible changes how humans typically listen to sounds in their environment. Although amplifying these discreet sounds would rob them of their intimate nature and slightly modifies their timbre, part of my project necessarily implies amplifying these sounds to bring them within the human hearing range and above the noise floor of the performance environment.

With this idea in mind I created four compositions that each incorporate barely audible sounds in a unique manner. Each piece has a distinctive sound source and amplitude level. The result is a small collection of sounds that illustrates not only a palette of timbres but also a palette of dynamic ranges.

Included in

Composition Commons