841 research outputs found

    Sound and space: music for organ and electronics

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    This research explores creative, interpretative and listening processes in ‘open notation’ music for organ and electronics, using Nicholas Bourriaud’s concept of the ‘journey form’ (2010) as a theoretical lens. It pursues an understanding of these processes as iterative practices that articulate separate, but equal, aspects of a single process, and as such postulates a way of considering the ontology of the work as one that finds its expression in the multiplicity of the work in performance. The researcher has explored the genre of organ and electronics through recent works, several specifically commissioned for the project, and through comparison of performance in a number of spaces throughout the UK as part of a national tour. Her specific relationship with these works, and with multiple performance spaces through them, has offered the material for reflection in deriving the conclusions of the work. The research considers the performance space as embodied by the performer as an extension of her instrument, and explores organ performance as a site-specific practice that interacts with the instrument and space through the medium of notation. In the case of each of the pieces, the project works towards a ‘work-specific performance practice’ (Kanga, 2015) as a way of articulating this relationship through the performance of individual works. The goal of this research was not a set of ‘finished’ performances but a way of articulating the expression of the process of a work and the performance as a part of its articulation. The research is expressed through a portfolio of related work: a concert tour, which expresses the processes of the research, a CD recording which documents single expressions of each of the pieces at the end of these processes, and a book chapter that explores the theoretical implications of the research. Further, supporting documentation is offered as a complete record of the processes of the research

    /’(H)WETH: VOICE – BREATH – BODY – FORM/S

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    /’(h)weTH is a collaborative work of visual and sound art produced by R. Armstrong (USA) and Lauren Redhead (UK). The work combines an installation, two video projections, four channel sound, and an optional solo performance part, in order to create an experience that is simultaneously aural and visual, in all of its elements. This article sets out to further explore the main themes of the work, by means of a dialogue between the voices of the two artists. In doing so, it also facilitates a discussion of how /’(h)weTH might contribute to an understanding of the materiality of sound art, and the boundaries between visual art, sound art, and music

    Listening Intertextually in Beat Furrer's Music Theatre Works

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    This article focuses on three of Beat Furrer's works described as opera or music theatre: Begehren (2001), FAMA (2005) and Wüstenbuch (2010). Each of these pieces sets texts from Roman, contemporary and historical authors in exploration of the liminal spaces between life and death, and the possible transitions between them. In Wüstenbuch one such text is included from the Papyrus Berlin 3024, known as the source of the Ancient Egyptian philosophical text ‘The Dispute between a Man and his Ba’, a reflection on the meaning and value of life and the transition between life and death. Furrer's compositional style does not offer a linear narrative on such questions but rather multiple perspectives and tableaux, each of which calls the others and itself into question. In order to explore this and understand what the meeting and interchange of the different texts and authors offers within the context of Furrer's music, I outline a method of ‘listening intertextually’ in order to hear the liminal spaces not only within but between these compositions. I consider the hybrid and hypertexts that arise within the music, and the ways that they can be therefore considered – as in the subtitle often given to FAMA – a ‘drama of listening’

    'New Music' as Patriarchal Category

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    The term ‘material’ is highly conceptualized and important within New Music discourse. In many respects it could be seen as central. However, far from being a neutral term, ‘material’ and thus its position in (linguistic and musical) discourse is gendered as male. This, then, has consequences not just for the inclusion of, but the judgement between, women who wish to enter into the musical discourse and workplace as composers. This leads to the construction of gendered difference between female composers, and a process of immerization of those women who do meet the terms of the discourse. By a comparison of the music, and reception, of composers Rebecca Saunders and Jennifer Walshe I will explain how the musical discourse of material can be described as a practice of social closure which takes place under the auspicious label of musical quality, thereby highlighting that terms such as ‘material’ and ‘composer’ are used as barriers to exclude women from contemporary music practice. I will conclude by explaining how the male discourse of material functions to preserve the ‘New Music’ norm and retain the character of ‘New Music’ as historical and patriarchal category

    hearmleoþ-gieddunga: temporal and material layeredness

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    This article explores the project hearmleoþ—gieddunga (Redhead, 2018) through multiple, non-linear paths. It considers temporality within the project and its materials, contrasting the perspectives on time, history and the material that might be offered by them. Temporality is considered in terms of the perception of the past, present and future through the lens of this project and the experience of the music, and this experience is contrasted with philosophical and musicological reflections on the nature of time. Although presented in the format of an article, the text and materials presented here may be negotiated non-linearly, repeated, re-ordered and as such experienced in the manner of the musical materials in the project in addition to as a reflection on them

    Notation as Process: Interpretation of Open Scores and the ‘Journey Form’

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    The performances which inform this discussion of graphic, text, and open notation took place between 2010 and 2014, and primarily from February to May 2014. Since 2010 I have commissioned and performed twenty new works for the organ, and for the organ and fixed media or organ and live electronics, with a special focus on scores which contain some element of open notation. In addition to new commissions I have also performed a number of works suitable for organ (and electronics) which have been composed during this time, primarily by British composers. This has allowed me to become highly involved in the process of the creation of the music from the point of the commission to the performance, including the possibility of discussion with the composers before the composition of the work, collaboration during its composition and in preparation for the performances, and ongoing evaluation throughout the process. The nature of organ performance is that radical differences in instrumental sound, construction, and concert space and acoustic are experienced from location to location and this has encouraged constant re-evaluation of the music and its performance as the music has travelled; this aspect of the experience of performing these pieces has encouraged further reflection, and it is from these experiences and this reflection that this discussion draws its information. Although the individual process of preparation and interpretation of open notation may be seen to be personal and individual from performer to performer, I wish to address the ways in which repeated performances of open scores reveal something about the compositions themselves and the interpretative process of engaging with the notation. It is the contention of this chapter that interpretation, in the context of this notation, is not a singular and linear process which begins when the performer first comes into contact with the score and ends with the performance, but an ongoing and iterative process, and a process which involves the composer, performer, and the score at every instance. This discussion will, then, seek to address the ‘work concept’ in the case of music, and to define the ‘work’ as a proces

    Vibrant Echoes: A Material Semiotics of the Voice in Music by Iris Garrelfs and Marlo Eggplant

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    This article explores the materiality of the voice outside of the body in two performances by Iris Garrelfs and Marlo Eggplant. It considers, beyond the body and beyond text, how the voice might be addressed as material in and of itself. In this consideration, the voice is not only a means of delivering text or creating sound in performance, and nor is it (only) expressive of the body: rather, its material and spatial dimensions can be located in physical space and outside of the body. Through this approach, Echo is not understood through her lack of a material body or vocal agency, but as the agentive aspect of the voice that is already vibrant—as described by Jane Bennett—and material-discursive—as described by Karen Barad. Using John Law’s considerations of materiality, heterogeneity, semiotic relationality, process and its precarity, and space and scale within Actor Network Theory, I consider how the materialism of the voice can be mapped as/to a network of interrelations in both real and imagined spaces. This network is explored in contemporary experimental performances that employ the voice as material: Lauschen (2016/18) by Iris Garrelfs, for voice and listening cones, and Marlo Eggplant’s September 2018 performance for voice and electronics at the Fortprocess festival. Through these works, I describe the material agency of the voice as a ‘vibrant echo’

    Iterative Processes: Notating, Composing, and Performing as Journey Forms

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    This essay posits that the practices of notation, composition, and performance are not creatively distinct from each other when observed, in particular, in radical works of graphic or text notation that make no or little reference to the western tradition of music notation, and whose composers offer no or few indications of the methods by which they should be interpreted or their intended performance outcomes. In such works of experimental music, performer choice and creativity are highlighted, but issues of composer choice and creativity may be equally observed, alongside the performative practices of notation. Understanding these practices as iterations of the same process means that the activities of notating, composing and performing can be considered as equal without the need to posit the performance of experimental scores as a compositional practice in and of itself. These ideas will be explored in examples from the works ijereja (2015–2016) and glíwmæden (2016

    Performing ‘the radicality of unknowing who we are becoming’

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    (cf Phelan, 1997, 17). To create something in a specific way is not in itself a pathway to knowledge. Nevertheless, for the artist-researcher, the process of creation allows insight into the performative nature of materials and their subsequent meaning-making. To this end, practices of performative writing (Pollock, 1998), or performance autoethnography (Denzin, 2003), offer opportunities to understand articulation as a further creative practice; one that is able to investigate itself through and beyond its meaning-making. This performance-lecture will explore my practice research in the materiality of notation within the field of contemporary and experimental music composition, broadly conceived, by using examples of processes and practice from my own creative practice research. At the same time, it aims to reflexively examine the methodology of practice research in music composition and creation, considering creative practice both as its means of investigation and mode of presentation and communication. Here, the performance-lecture is explored as a form of ‘writing out’ (Igweonu, et al, 2011), as a method in itself, and as an interrogation of method/ology within practice research. Drawing on Knorr Cetina’s (2001) concept of ‘objectual practice’, it critically engages with the academic context by rendering it as inherently performative as is the articulation of artistic research and its related experiences. My aim is to make explicit methods for and of doing and knowing, that are situated in my embodied position as a researcher, composer, performer and improvisor, but also to use those same positions to interrogate and question the pathways to knowledge within them. Beyond this, the political connotations of the practice of performative writing are also explored in the way that it, ‘expands the notions of what constitutes disciplinary knowledge’ (Pelias, 2005, 417), throwing into question not only what disciplines contain or describe, but the way that knowledge is accessed and communicated within them
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