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Vassilakis, P.N. (2012).  Differences in instrument construction and performance practices among musical traditions reveal and guide different aesthetic attitudes towards timbre.  J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 131(4/2): 3330 (163rd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America & Acoustics 2012, Honk Kong, China)
[Invited abstract - Special session on Acoustics of Traditional Practices and Instruments.]

Musical aesthetic judgments reflect how each musical tradition chooses to interpret and value contextual, functional, performance, formal, and sonic aspects of musical pieces. Elaborate instrument construction techniques and performance practices devoted to the exploration of timbre (sound color) variations across musical traditions indicate that timbre is a sonic aspect on which musical aesthetic judgments are often based. Intercultural differences and intra-cultural consistency of timbre interpretation illustrate the cultural bases of understanding and evaluating sound color. Close examination of musical instrument construction and performance practices, accompanied by acoustical analyses of the relevant sound signals, can reveal the types of musical timbres and timbre variation degrees a given tradition is after, providing insights on the relationship between timbre and a traditionís musical aesthetic values. The sophisticated ways devised to produce and manipulate auditory roughness within the musical contexts addressed in this presentation (Indian tambura accompaniments; Middle Eastern mijwiz improvisations; Bosnian ganga songs) will be contrasted to the limited opportunities for such explorations afforded within western art musical contexts, paralleled by equally contrasting aesthetic attitudes towards auditory roughnessís meaning and value.