Analytical representations of creative processes in Michael Finnissy’s Second String Quartet

Bayley, A and Clarke, M (2009) 'Analytical representations of creative processes in Michael Finnissy’s Second String Quartet.' Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies, 3 (1&2). pp. 139-157. ISSN 1307-0401

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Background in music analysis. Music analysts traditionally take the score as their subject matter but have more recently begun studying music ‘as performance’. This development poses new challenges for analysts exploring alternative texts to the notated score. An ethnographic approach involving the composer and performers brings more voices into play than has been the case for traditional music-analytical approaches. Background in music technology. Music technologists work with software creatively and programming languages such as Cycling 74’s Max/MSP provide a versatile and powerful means of constructing software that can present and manipulate sound recordings, video, text and still images in a structured environment. Such techniques can also be of use in music analysis. Aims. Composer-performer interactions that took place during the rehearsal of Michael Finnissy’s Second String Quartet, help to establish a network of relationships between different layers of the musical structure. By adapting the techniques and methodologies that Clarke has developed for analyzing electroacoustic music the aim is to provide an informative, interactive tool for navigating through the different musical parameters of the piece. Main contribution. From a variety of primary source material documenting the creative and interpretative processes, this paper explores the interface between performative, analytical and aural approaches to musical structure. Clarke’s ‘interactive aural’ approach is expanded for Finnissy’s piece to accommodate the variety of written, aural and visual media that the piece has generated. The approach applied to these materials enables the ‘reader’ to engage with them in an integrated and creative manner in exploring the structure of this music. Implications for musical practice. The software developed for this project will help to promote multimedia techniques for music analysis more broadly and will enable the work of other composers and performers to be disseminated in ways that will further enhance our understanding of creative processes by actively involving the reader in the analytical process. Implications for musicological interdisciplinarity. In recent years music analysis has broadened to take into account music as it sounds, as it is performed. By bringing together expertise developed in the areas of music analysis and music technology, techniques and approaches can be developed to enable the aural aspect to be brought into the analysis and presentation of music together with a range of other multimedia materials resulting from ethnographical study.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Finnissy, composer, performance, string quartet, analysis, Max/MSP, media, software
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 11:23
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:33
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