New methods for developing collaboration in environmental composition

Matthews, H.W.J (2024) New methods for developing collaboration in environmental composition. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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This practice-based PhD research explores the intersections of noise, socially engaged art, and trespass, culminating in the development of an approach to experimental composition termed 'socially curious composition'— an inclusive, collaborative model that fosters creativity. The commentary begins with an exploration into environmental sounds and a critical examination of acoustic ecology, laying the foundation for a study of noise. By challenging the subjectivity in sound categorisation through noise, this work seeks to reconceptualise our understanding of community dynamics and connections within local audible environments. This research represents a significant transition in my work from traditional composer-performer hierarchies towards a model that emphasises the creative autonomy of all participants. This framework broadens the artistic contributions of everyone involved in the creative process. My methods position performers and audience members as indispensable, and I detail how principles from socially engaged art can enhance these connections. I trace an evolutionary trajectory from initial investigations of acoustic ecology to the present application of socially engaged composition methods, highlighting how this progression enriches experimental composition discourse. I also undertake an exploration of 'trespass' to confront and transcend the boundaries encountered by a socially curious approach. Trespass is positioned as a mechanism to leverage curiosity in diluting noise as a barrier, suggesting new possibilities for engagement with local environments, and enabling navigation beyond perceived barriers. This research contributes to the field of experimental composition by focusing on my progression as a composer and its impact on my compositions. Though these insights may not be universally applicable, they offer a unique perspective on the creative process. The concept of 'socially curious composition,' though still in its nascent stages, presents an approach with potential to influence the broader field of experimental composition. This research promotes a process and product-oriented approach, recognising that the subjectivity in evaluating effectiveness allows for the appreciation of diverse outcomes across various social contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

The document attached to this record is the contextualising research section of the thesis only. It does not include the creative practice component, which is the portfolio of works (scores and performances of eight compositions) available via BathSPAdata, the University's data repository, at the URL below.

This research was funded by the South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (AHRC) in affiliation with Bath Spa University and University of Southampton.

Keywords: PhD by practice, music, composition, experimental composition, collaborative composition, environmental sounds, noise, acoustic ecology, trespass
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
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Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2024 13:43
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2024 13:33
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