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Title: Open, mobile and indeterminate forms
Authors: De Bièvre, Guy
Advisors: Gilmore, B
Barrett, R
Fox, C
Wiegold, P
Keywords: Open form;Indeterminacy;Earle Brown;Adam Rudolph;Anne La Berge
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: Since the early fifties “open form” has become a generic description for many different compositional concepts having in common musical outcomes which to a certain degree are indeterminate. The introduction looks into different meanings given to “form” in music and gives a historical survey of the origins of compositional indeterminacy. Next, the concept of “open form” is elaborated into a territory which is usually not associated with it: jazz. The introduction is followed by five case studies. Folio (1952-54) by Earle Brown is considered to contain the first intentionally “open form” works. It is driven by improvisational ideas, either at the compositional stage or at the interpretative stage. Brown's affinity with jazz also offers connections to other topics of the thesis. Miles Davis' Ife (1972) may at first seem like an odd inclusion in this study, but it is not. Its only oddity could be that of all the works discussed it has no score. But it is a composition; it is recognizable throughout its various incarnations and repeatable, and its outcome is indeterminate. Adam Rudolph did not conceive Ostinatos of Circularity as an “open form” work, but it is an indeterminate composition: it does have a score the musical result of which depends on the decisions made by the composer/conductor during the performance as well as the choices made by the performers. In Peter Zummo's Experimenting with Household Chemicals the performers play the same, often ambiguous, score, moving in the same direction at their own speed and discretion. The lack of synchronicity and the ambiguous notation result in a very elastic organic form. Anne La Berge refers to her recent works as “guided improvisations”. The scores mainly consist of suggestive text materials, software preset descriptions and rudimentary verbal indications, leaving major decisions to the performers. The last chapter is about my own work. It presents seven works (the scores of which can be found in the accompanying portfolio), composed between 2007 and 2011. Each of these works uses the score as a “field” through which the performers roam.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Music
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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