BRAMS – CRBLM Lecture Series: Researcher Lecture by Dr. Eldad Tsabary
Sound-focused aural training with Inner Ear
Abstract: Inner Ear is a SSHRC-funded multi-university research-creation project for developing an accessible, adaptive ear training tool geared toward musicians and audio engineers working in the various sound fields. The design of this software builds on a decade-long, ongoing, action research study with music students who major in electroacoustic studies. The objective of the research has been to understand the student’s aural skill acquisition process and subsequently develop comprehensive tools to facilitate rapid refinement of skills which are crucial to all sound-focused art. This tool provides users with quick, interactive feedback and engages their critical thinking regarding the skill acquisition process. Students who practiced their sonic hearing with Inner Ear at Concordia University report radical changes to their everyday hearing experience and a growing “fascination with small sounds occurring in all situations.” Students often also report some annoyance with their heightened aural awareness and their lost ability to ignore unpleasant sound in their environment (however, all note that the positive transformation outweighs the negative effects). In this lecture I will engage the audience with Inner Ear’s training modules; describe the functional and research contexts that led to its creation; and cover the basic principles behind its design, transformational strength, and relevance to sound practices and our daily hearing.
Short bio: Dr. Eldad Tsabary is the coordinator of electroacoustic studies at Concordia University’s Department of Music. In the past decade, Eldad has spearheaded research and development of a sound-focused aural training method for electroacoustic musicians, which is informed by perception studies and is built on a transformational, democratic educational model. He is founder and director of Concordia Laptop Orchestra (CLOrk) which specializes in collective improvisation and interdisciplinary collaborative performances in which students function as co-creators/co-researchers. Notable CLOrk performances include a collaboration with pop star Ariane Moffat at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) and a performance in Akousma festival at Usine C. Eldad received his doctorate in music education from Boston University. Previously, Eldad has been president of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) 2013-2019 and coordinator (2018-2019) of the Faculty of Fine Arts’ Interdisciplinary Studies area. Tsabary’s main areas of expertise are in the domain of sound studies: specifically (a) sonic aural training and (b) live electroacoustic performance. Through these areas of inquiry, Tsabary has been developing educational approaches, tools, and strategies to better-understand and transform the diverse internal processes involved in sound perception, organization, and creation—both individually and collectively within an ensemble. Through cyclical, ground-up, collaborative research projects, Tsabary has been seeking ways to adapt the educational environment to emerging contexts, goals, and ways of knowing and learning among individuals (of various cultural and neurodiverse backgrounds). Eldad is also deeply engaged in EDI activism: through chairing a Decolonization in the Arts and Humanities conference in Southeast Asia; through involvement in curricular design of a new Major in Sexuality Studies at Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute; and through collaborative intersectional activism in Concordia’s Electroacoustic Studies area.