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Formations – Music from rocks: New approaches to systematic composition

Bromley, Matthew 2020. Formations – Music from rocks: New approaches to systematic composition. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Composers have adopted compositional systems in some way or another for many years, such processes involving various approaches. Most important to this project is twelve-tone serial technique, a compositional technique associated with the work of the Second Viennese School, but certainly not limited only to these composers. This project is largely inspired by the compositional techniques of Schoenberg as used in his mature serial output in addition to a range of other approaches adopted by other composers including Messiaen, Boulez, and Satie. The main goals of this project are to create a compositional system capable of removing almost all creative composer input from the process, and to find new methods of responding to visual imagery in an ultra-literal way. My strategy in this project was to study techniques used by other composers and to combine these with my own systematic compositional techniques in order to achieve these two main goals. In this project, I respond to the macrophotographic imagery of Richard Weston, in particular his investigation of rock and crystal microstructures. All images are taken from Weston’s private archives and are used, and reproduced, with permission. A trial-and-error approach was taken to the project whereby a work might be composed using a newly devised system or idea, after which a reflection was taken on the piece that resulted, and the system tweaked to eliminate any weaknesses and errors in the system-process in order to attempt to create the systems capable of producing the music I wanted to achieve. Throughout the project, sixteen compositions were completed of which twelve are submitted in the composition portfolio. Extracts of a further two are included as portfolio appendices. The project successfully resulted in new methods of composition in response to imagery, and in the creation of the all-encompassing system which eliminates the necessity for creative composer input. It has also produced systems which can be reapplied to new stimuli to create new and varied compositions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 January 2021
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:40

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