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Formal strategies in composition

Palmer, J. (1994). Formal strategies in composition. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Part I of this thesis examines the compositional techniques employed by the author in his musical works from 1991 to 1994. Chapter one presents the points of departure in the compositional preoccupations of the author and the issues and propositions constituting the objective of the research. It is then followed by an identification of five distinct and progressive areas of exploited techniques. Chapter two examines the foundations of a compositional methodology largely supported by a numerical framework and its application on the work Utopia for mezzosoprano, flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. Some questions of method and further extensions of the technique are discussed and briefly examined in Concerto in Two Parts and Concertino. The author also analyses the methodology applied in the composition Omen for orchestra and amplified voices. Chapter three explores the technical developments following the work Omen, with reference to the former techniques, and focuses on the interchangeable procedures applied in the composition Interchanges for clarinet and piano. In chapter four the author discusses composing without pre-established schemes and considers the implications of compositions solely based on the composer's intuitive sense of formal order. He also explores his own approach to texts, the developments of his vocal techniques and his spatial preoccupations in his works. This is followed by a presentation of the compositions Eternity and You, both for chamber ensemble and the composition Reflections for trumpet, piano and tape. Chapter five deals with the author's preoccupations of structural identifications in composition and the application of a compositional procedure in his work Renge-Kyo, for piano, tape and live electronics. Chapter six focuses on the extension of the compositional procedure discussed in chapter five with the inclusion of a conscious handling of time and space. This methodology is explored in the composition Beyond The Bridge, for cello, 2 tapes and live electronics. Finally, in chapter seven the author discusses his own views on composition and methodology, puts forward the thesis of a significant and signifying form and discusses the importance of a continuous artistic renewal and self-critical attitude.

Part II contains the scores of each submitted composition, a live recording of the work Utopia , a workshop recording of Renge-Kyo and a studio recording of the composition Beyond The Bridge.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Palmer thesis 1994 PDF-A.pdf]
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