Configurational Energy Landscape No.3

“The free energy surface of a complex system can often characterized by the presence of deep minima separated by large barriers – the valleys and peaks of the energy landscape. Such minima correspond to distinct states of the system, and transitions among these minima reflect important changes such as phase transitions, chemical reactions and conformational modifications. The minima correspond to distinct states of the system. Transitions among these valleys reflect important changes in the system. Such transitions might be the conversion of a reactant into a product – a chemical reaction; the melting of ice – a phase transition; or a change in molecular shape and structure – a conformational modification. But, in real life, understanding energy surfaces is not quite so simple.”

While reading terminology that described processes of bio-molecular transformation, it occurred to me immediately that the language could be applied metaphorically in charaterising a sound based compositional process; one preoccupied with transformational procedures. Additionally, it seemed that pre-existing “sonic crystallization” and “sonic landscape” analogies could be neatly summarised using a single expression. The assigned meanings became: energy in reference to sound phenomena (recorded sound), which is configurational (malleable, at both micro and macro scales) and landscape, which represents the aural landscape (as perceived by the listener) that unfolds as sonic energy is transfigured in time. In essence, the term configurational energy landscape describes any abstract sound based composition in which sonic transformation is the primary aesthetic.

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