Absent Performers, Absent Tools, and Their Role in Musical Composition: Exploring Integrated Competencies in the Extended Musical Mind.

Boyle, Michael (2023) Absent Performers, Absent Tools, and Their Role in Musical Composition: Exploring Integrated Competencies in the Extended Musical Mind. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Michael Boyle PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jan 2023_Final Award Jul 2023 .pdf - Accepted Version

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The tools and performers which surround the composer are not simply a means to communicate musical ideas, they take part in the formation and development of those ideas. Essentially, musical composition does not only take place in the head. This is the compelling perspective provided by the application of ‘4E’ theories of cognition, and related ideas from phenomenology and cognitive science, to musical creativity, where the cognitive processes of musical composition can be seen as varyingly embodied, embedded, enacted, extended, distributed, and materially engaged. This thesis attempts to break new conceptual ground through applying these ideas to musical composition with a focus on absent tools and performers.

The insights gained from compositional practice, both inherent and explicitly analysed, function alongside the other methodological approaches. A portfolio of compositions and recordings therefore forms a core part of the thesis. The process of recording the compositions is often as important to the research as the process of their composition – the recordings are not simply there to allow the pieces to be heard. The analysis of his portfolio forms an essential part of the written portion of the thesis.

The thesis therefore undertakes its enquiry in two ways, through theory and through practice. The written portion of the thesis is also divided into two parts. The first part lays out the relevant, existing theories, and any existing applications thereof to music, and then applies these ideas to musical composition. This provides an understanding of the role of present tools and performers in the cognitive processes of composition. The second part builds on this understanding, through asking how we should understand processes of composition which take place while the tools, environments, and collaborators are absent (i.e., imagined, remembered, or virtual). This requires the development of a conceptual framework, ‘Integrated Tool Competency’, which is first applied to tools, and then to performers. In this way, the thesis develops a new way of understanding musical composition. It also has the potential to contribute substantially to the theories through which that understanding was reached.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
10 January 2023Submitted
26 July 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Musical Composition, Technology, Tools, Creativity, Phenomenology, 4E Cognitive Science, Extended Cognition, Embodiment, Embodied Cognition, Music Performance, Musical Pedagogy, Music and Philosophy, Psychology of Music, Philosophy of Mind
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 10:44
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 10:44
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14793

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