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Intersecting influences: Finding compositional unity across different musical spaces

Johnston, Timothy 2023. Intersecting influences: Finding compositional unity across different musical spaces. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Even within the relatively short scope of my musical career to date, my compositions exist across a spectrum of different artistic influences. The foremost of these are my Classical training as a composer within Western Art music and my love of English and Welsh folk music, alongside professional and academic experience in music production and composition for screen. In this doctoral project, I have sought to develop a creative practice which seamlessly unifies these influences to create a distinct and original compositional voice. The goal of such a unified creative practice was pursued via interrogation of three main research questions. First, I systematically examined the ongoing process of finding a confident compositional technique, with particular emphasis eventually gravitating towards a modally inflected, quintal harmonic language and a motivic approach inspired by Schoenberg’s theory of liquidation. My second research question was to appraise and develop engagement with pre-existing musical ‘found objects’, in particular folk music, as a source of inspiration to me. I considered the discursive and dramatic potentials of folk music quotation within new compositions, the advantages and challenges these different approaches posed, and the role that the contemporary folk music movement has in my music. The final research question considered the role of narrative in my music, and particularly its formal function, in a unification of practical techniques from my Classical training and a theoretical foundation drawing on my experience as a media composer. This is applied through narratological concepts of music as a narrative agent combined with structural and harmonic theories from writings on the Western Art canon. The individual study, and unified combination, of these individual interests serve to allow my creative output to encompass the multiple traditions that continue to inspire me, writing and (re)interpreting that music through the lens of my emerging compositional identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 May 2024
Last Modified: 28 May 2024 16:05

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