Within the field of spatial audio exists a variety of barriers to participation and engagement. These issues range from financial accessibility issues (where equipment can cost thousands of dollars) to class issues (where many are excluded because of the cultures surrounding the music and the spaces in which it occurs). There are also barriers to engagement erected through the types of spatial systems constructed, the listening environment that is encouraged, and the type of music that people are encouraged to compose. The fundamentality of the ‘sweet spot’ within much spatial music automatically excludes those outside of the sweet spot from most likely experiencing the composer’s intentions.
This paper looks at the creation of a new compositional framework that is intended for use in facilitating non-sweet spot oriented multichannel works. It discusses the construction and utilisation of the framework, listener and composer responses from a test case of framework, while also touching on future work that has been inspired by these investigations.
Jesse Austin-Stewart is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara-based sonic artist with a focus on spatial sound. He is currently working on his PhD at Massey University researching barriers of engagement within spatial audio.
Bridget Johnson creates immersive sound installations and performances that heighten the audiences experience with spatial audio. Her work focuses on exploring the way sound can move through space and developing new interfaces to allow composers and performers to further explore expressivity through real time spatialisation in their work. Her installations explore these themes in combination with site-specificity and abstraction of time.