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Process and form: perspectives on the application of predetermined systems to sectional forms in music composition

Frengel, Mike (2005). Process and form: perspectives on the application of predetermined systems to sectional forms in music composition. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University, London)


Two compositional concerns are prevalent and interrelated in my recent music. The first is an interest in the use of predetermined decisions, and in many cases rule-based systems, to influence the organization of events in a piece. The orientation towards predetermined systems reflects a desire to avoid well-established musical tendencies, which is achieved to the extent that decisions are removed from moment-to-moment compositional activity, thereby evading perceptual intuition and factors of musical acculturation. The use of predetermined systems also reflects a concern for clarity of compositional intention, as processes tend to produce structurally coherent developments due to their gradual and systematic progression. The second characteristic that is prominent in my music is an interest in recurrent sectional forms, which not only divide time but also offer listeners additional opportunities to absorb the musical ideas explored in a piece. These two concerns, predetermined systems and sectional forms, are brought together through the use of interleaved structures, whereby developments with distinct identities are divided, into segments and alternated in succession. Interleaved structures are uniquely continuous; upon the return of each process, the development resumes from the point at which it was last suspended. Consequently, each segment represents just a portion of the whole, and the full development of each process is only revealed over the duration of the piece. When developments are transformed to the extent that their surface qualities are significantly altered then dynamic relationships are likely to arise between them as the piece unfolds. Interleaved structures suggest a shift in compositional concerns from the vertical to those that are oriented horizontally. In my own music this has resulted in a greater emphasis on the relationships between processes, and more specifically, on how those relationships evolve over the duration of the piece.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Departments: Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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