In Schaefferian theory, typo-morphology is the initial phase of the programme of musical research, which regroups as complementary the two procedures of typology and morphology: these actually constitute a stage of exploring, assessing and describing sound; whereas the two procedures of analysis and synthesis arise from an analysis and an exploitation of the musical capacities of the sound object. Thus, typo-morphology is a descriptive inventory which precedes musical activity.
The three tasks of typo-morphology are: identification, classification, description.
- Identifying sound objects, that is, isolating them, cutting them into sound units.
- Then, classifying them into basic characteristic types.
- Finally, describing their characteristics in detail.
Typology takes care of the first two; morphology the third. (Paraphrase of Michel Chion (1983). Guide des Objets Sonores. Eds. Buchet/Chastel, Paris. 1995 translation by John Dack/Christine North.)