Music Composition and Our Sense of Time
Common knowledge understands that musical attributes such as melodies, harmonies, and rhythms can affect our moods in a very real way. Less familiar to us is how they can warp our sense of time. We tend to think of time in terms of clocks and calendars — as regularly patterned grids dividing time into equal units. Our experience of time is actually very different than this. Time stretches and pulls in many different directions. In an immersive concert situation, our sense of time is heavily influenced by the music we’re attending to. Using examples from my own work, I will show how our senses of anticipation, memory, and contextualization come into play when listening to music and how they can shape our experience of time. This discussion will be followed with an example where the audience participates in a group performance of a short piece.
About Peter Hatch
Composer, music curator, and teacher
Peter has composed works in a large number of genres, from orchestral and chamber music to instrumental theatre, electroacoustics, and installations. Known for his interest in revitalizing the listening experience, Peter’s compositions are both heady and playful, profound and humourous. His works are performed and broadcast internationally and have been featured at festivals such as the Darmstadt Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik, Montreal’s Espaces Improbable, and the Vancouver New Music Festival as well as by organizations such as Aventa, Soundstreams, and Arraymusic.
Peter incorporates theatrical and multimedia elements into many of his works, an interest that has grown from extending traditional concert music performance practices and from his many collaborations.
Beyond his compositional work, Peter has been active as the artistic director of new music ensembles and festivals. He founded NUMUS Concerts in 1985 and the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound in 1998, two organizations that have continued to thrive in the years since their beginnings. Peter was Composer-in-Residence with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony from 1999 to 2003 and Arts and Culture Consultant with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics from 2011 to 2013. He is a Professor at the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he was University Research Professor for the 2006-07 academic year.