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From fusion to stratification: Plurality of textural ideas. How can we examine textural relationships in instrumental composition?

Black, E. (2023). From fusion to stratification: Plurality of textural ideas. How can we examine textural relationships in instrumental composition?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


My research includes a portfolio of five compositions that explores textural ideas in a range of instrumentation from those of contrasting sound worlds to those of the same orchestral family. I have been drawn to smaller ensembles to see if ideas of fusion can be achieved through intimate instrumental forces and I have found fusion can be achieved effectively in small ensembles and contrasting instrumentation.

In my examination of 20th and 21st century composition I identify an alignment in my creative process with a selection of composers who are exploring sound and fusion in texture. I find that landscapes of slow transformations and pitch stasis effectively achieve the fusion of textures, but I do not exclude the inclusion of melodic lines. Instead I strive to build these both into my composition and find it effective for creating moments of contrast. I also find illuminating the work of Garth Knox taking strides to open up a wider palette of performance practice in instrumental music. I draw similarities with Kokoras’ approach of sound scales and applied this to my own composition.

I focus in on the works of three musicologists and composers: Panayiotis Kokoras, Denis Smalley and Manuella Blackburn. In my thesis I take a chapter to explore each of these, their methodologies and how this has effected my composition. All three composers are specialists within electroacoustic music and I take these practices and applied them to instrumental composition. I find that Spectromorphology does make an effective instrumental composition tool and that this used alongside visual aids and language from Blackburn serves as an inspiring methodology. Through this research I argue that there are many approaches to electroacoustic music that can be effectively applied to instrumental music for the exploration of the plurality of textural ideas.

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 Black thesis 2024 PDF-A.pdf]
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