Typology of relations between acoustic instruments and electronics in concert music: an analysis- and composition-based approach

Mogensen, René Lars Aagaard (2017) Typology of relations between acoustic instruments and electronics in concert music: an analysis- and composition-based approach. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

In the growing repertoire of ‘mixed’ score-based concert works (works that combine acoustic instruments with electronics), how can we gain a systematic view of patterns of practice in recent composers’ shaping of relations between acoustic instruments and electronics? The research aim has been to answer this question by building an analytical view of patterns of practice in mixed works from composers Kaija Saariaho (1952–), Luciano Berio (1925–2003), Jonathan Harvey (1939–2012) and others; and also to apply such an analytical view in my own compositional practice. Three central research outcomes have emerged as contributions to knowledge: 1. a preliminary typology of these composers’ uses of relations between acoustic instruments and electronics in mixed chamber music works; 2. a related portfolio of original mixed works for various instrumentations with computer; 3. a narrative account of the research process providing the critical basis for future work which could expand the analytical and creative results encoded in the typology. The typology is presented in the form of a catalogue of transformation paths organised in a hierarchy. Narrative description of the process that has generated the typology has emphasised an iterative intertwining of three research strands: 1. analytical interpretations of repertoire; 2. research-based practice; and 3. practice-based research. From a methodological stance, the pivotal analytic tool used is Transformation Analysis adapted from the music analysis approach of David Lewin (1933–2003) [2011a; 2011b]. Analyses of three repertoire pieces in particular: Saariaho’s NoaNoa (1992), Berio’s Altra voce (1999) and Harvey’s Ricercare una melodia (1984) have provided core elements for the typology and these analyses have formed the grounding points for the research. The portfolio of original works has been composed using a substantial input of ideas generated through analysis of these three core works as well as other repertoire; this has resulted in a series of original ‘parodic’ works (in the sense of Linda Hutcheon [2000]) forming the strand of research-based practice. Processes involved in the composition of these portfolio works are examined from both analytical and autoethnographic viewpoints, which form the central part of the practice-based research strand. The intertwining of the three research strands has resulted in a spiralling development of the research project: analyses have fed into compositional processes which in turn have generated more analyses. Through the iterations in the research process a typology has gradually been built, providing an interpretation of patterns of practice of the relations between acoustic instruments and electronics. This typology is specific to the repertoire examined, but the process is investigated with a view towards wider applications.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: To undertake a cross-disciplinary analytical and creative PhD project on a part-time basis is a special challenge to the intellect and stamina of the researcher, and while it may seem a solitary endeavour at times, it is a process that is entirely dependent on the work of a large group of individuals. First, I would like to thank all the authors, composers and performers, whose writings, compositions and recordings have made my own contribution to the bigger cultural Text possible. Their names are of course listed in the citations and References and so I will not attempt to list them again here. I am also grateful to the musicians who have engaged in the performances of my works, their efforts have been both instructive and encouraging for my creative output. These musicians are named in the text in relation to the portfolio works, and have all been essential to the success of the project. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my three supervisors at Birmingham Conservatoire: especially Dr. Jamie Bullock for early discussions in various technical and conceptual directions. Many thanks go to Prof. Lamberto Coccioli in particular for his input on the compositional side of the work. Also many thanks to Prof. Deborah Mawer whose input from a musicological perspective along with her attention to textual details has had a significant impact on my writing and certainly has helped me to find my way more effectively in my engagement with this academic discourse. I found invaluable resources at the library at Birmingham Conservatoire and other BCU libraries as well as at the University of Birmingham library and I would like to thank the library staff at all these institutions for their helpfulness and professionalism. Most of all, I would like to thank my parents for their life-long encouragement of my engagement with creative and intellectual work.
Subjects: W300 Music
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2019 15:42
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 15:42
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7209

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