Extending Choral Tradition: New Compositional Language for Generating Improvisational Frameworks

Pursglove, Percy (2020) Extending Choral Tradition: New Compositional Language for Generating Improvisational Frameworks. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Percy Pursglove PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Sept 2020_Final Award Dec 2020.pdf - Accepted Version

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The Tyranny of the Composer: The fact that art-music has been written down instead of improvised has divided musical creators and executants into two quite separate classes; the former autocratic and the latter comparatively slavish.
(Grainger, 1991)

Formerly regarded as disparate compositional practices, jazz and contemporary classical musics are becoming ever more intimately entwined, as shown in the works of such composers as Joe Cutler, Elliott Sharp and Richard Barrett. However, despite the outputs of such jazz composer-improvisers as Steve Gray, Tigran Hamasyan, Robert Mitchell and Duke Ellington, whose music co-exists alongside choral forces – although seldom deeply Interwoven – or artists in the vein of Phil Minton and Bobby McFerrin who play an un-notated curatorial conductional-type approach, the particular discipline of choral composition remains little explored within the sphere of jazz and improvised music.

This doctoral research project, emergent from the work of composers including Pauline Oliveros, Howard Skempton, Meredith Monk, John Cage and Gavin Bryars, aims to explore the compositional utilisation of massed voices to create unique improvisational environments whose indeterminate structures may disrupt and/or dismantle the autoschediastic tendencies of the accompanying improviser(s.) Through a broad methodological hybridisation, including vital post-autonomous considerations, these frameworks are extended to harness the sonic potentiality of audience members and/or participant voices. This process yields the necessary creation of a formalised, universally accessible notation system based around everyday hieroglyphs: emojis, to enable participative practice and intertextual hybridity amid standardised Western classical notation. Through a series of exploratory compositions, which focus upon the main work Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms, supplemented by vocal ensemble pieces (including works alongside improvising trumpet) this doctoral research offers findings on, and evaluates the successes and failures of, a variety of accompanying ensemble configurations and Massed Extended Vocal Technique (MEVT) systems from the self-reflexive perspective of an improviser.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
17 September 2020Submitted
17 December 2020Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Composition, Choral, Choir, Singing, Community, Improvisation, Trumpet, Emoji, Notation, Participation, Post Autonomy, Jazz, Gertrude Stein, Heterosis, Hybridity, Heteroglossic Semiosis, Noise Choir
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: 11 Jul 2022 13:21
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2022 13:21
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13405

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