specific objects

November 14, 2013 - writing

My paper from last year’s SPEEC conference at University of Oxford has now been published in Contemporary Music Review as part of the proceedings. There’s a good mix of papers in the volume, including contributions from Leigh Landy, Lauren Hayes, Sam Hayden and Mieko Kanno. The conference itself was excellent, and good to have a record of some of the papers. Here’s my abstract:

Open instrumentation is a common feature of many indeterminate compositions, whether they use stave, graphic, or verbal notation. This article examines the strategies used in some of my recent work for obtaining and using materials and objects as instrumental resources, focusing on maximizing variety within carefully prescribed boundaries. In surfaces (2010– 2011), the score provides instructions for specific actions, but leaves open the choice of materials to which they are applied, suggesting broad categories within which the sonic properties may be explored. The operations gradually transform and degrade the materials, emphasizing their impact on the nature of the specific realization. In things whole and not whole (2011), each orchestra member sources noise sounds using either a standard orchestral instrument or found materials. The resulting range of diverse— but clearly specified—sound types is a product of distributed choice. In imperfections on the surface are occasionally apparent (2009), the 10 performers each use the same means of eliciting sounds from surfaces; each performer must source five surfaces that are different to those of the other ensemble members. These exemplars are discussed, focusing on how carefully constrained individual decision-making when selecting sound resources by those realizing a score might be considered as a possible mechanism for generating sonic variety.

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