I-Son

Author(s): 
François Bayle
Date of publication: 
1986

I-Son (I-Sound) or Image-of-sound is a concept that was introduced by François Bayle to describe how sounds within acousmatic music can relate to metaphor, icon or an archetype. Although the broad concepts where first presented in 1986 it wasn't until 1989 that Bayle first introduced the term I-Son.

I-Son is, simply put, a sound which is considered an "object of pure listening" - an "object of language" (Bayle 2007: 245). The concept is then split into three parts:

  • The Image Level (im-sound) - a raw referential or iconic sound
  • The Diagram Level (di-sound) - "filtering and stretching" of an object to create a "diagrammatic index" (Bayle 2000-2003: 54)
  • The Metaphor Level (me-sound) - the "figural and self-referential", the metaphor/metaform dealing with the general concept of sign of (Bayle 1989: 168). These three areas relate to the "intentionality" of the "trichotomy of the audible", which Bayle describes as: hearing and presentification, listening and identification and comprehending and interpretation (Bayle 1989: 167).
References: 

BAYLE, F. (1986) Écouter et comprendre. In CHION, M. et al. La Revue Musicale: Recherche musicale au GRM Paris Richard-Masse, pp. 109-119.

BAYLE, F. (1989) Image-of-sound, or i-sound: Metaphor/metaform. Contemporary Music Review, 4(2), pp. 165-170.

BAYLE, F. (2007) Space, and more. Organised Sound, 12(3), pp. 241-249.

BAYLE, F. (2000-2003) D'où naissent les images?. Komposition und Musikwissenschaft im Dialog IV (2000-2003) Berlin, LIT Verlag, pp. 241-249.