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Title: Points for Departures
Authors: London, Matt
Advisors: Riley, C
Fox, C
Keywords: Composing for improvisers;Free improvisation;Language scores;Creative music;Notation
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This portfolio of compositions searches for a dynamic approach in devising performing materials for improvising musicians. The role and application of improvisation is at the heart of this research, with the aspiration that each work encapsulate improvisation determined by the improviser, as opposed to works that include improvisation as a secondary element or action. This ethos is in contrast to past hierarchical precedents with the composer often the primary source of creativity and authority. Instead I hope to advance the proactive and pluralistic ideal of ‘creative music’ pioneered by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). This organisation, devoted to the African American avant-garde, encouraged and celebrated despite their varied aesthetic emphases… a belief in unfettered, individual self-expression (May, 2017), in which each member created “original music”— notated, improvised, or both—by striving beyond the set boundaries of jazz to explore a stylistic hybridity. (Baumgartner, 2012). I hope to produce and manifest extended points of improvisation through a myriad of strategies in my work, that channel the spirit of free improvisation, and bestow upon its participants the capacity to bare their musical sensibilities in the act of performance, unrestricted by tight and immovable borders. The examination of this endeavour will be assessed, developed and refined across the portfolio by means of three core considerations: The figurative (forms of notation and compositional control), the abstract (creativity and interpretive skills of the performer), and performance authenticity. Throughout this process, I will reflect on both the impact which the three have upon each other with regards to the creative contributions of the composer and performer, and also upon a general shift towards an aesthetic of simplicity. The power of technical and abstract limits in order to free the expressive experience will be advocated. In practice, the creation and refinement of a generous compositional system, termed as an ‘abstract language score’, will be charted — one that is dynamic in nature, and which serves, and amplifies participants’ intuition and intelligence in the act of performance.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Music
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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