This paper is an account of the creative process that resulted in the dissertation for a PhD in music composition, Scenes, a two-channel fixed-media composition of electroacoustic music. The commentary is provided as a supplement to the music composition that forms the primary work carried out for the dissertation.
The practice of studio composition demands from the composer both the conception and realization of a musical work. The effect of interdisciplinary practice necessitated by these demands informs both technical and aesthetic approaches. Software tools written by the composer with a specific goal of realizing an aesthetic intent provide an insight into the discovery of musical language. Conceived to serve the music, the defining features of the toolset outline the nature of the musical problem that the technology was designed to solve.
The composition of Scenes is a combination of imagined behaviors, embodied improvisation, and experimentation with tools. Discussion of the novel tools generated for the piece illustrate the aesthetics of Scenes. The first, trajectories, provides kinetic spatialization effects to static sounds. The second, utterance, transforms composer’s vocal improvisations into electroacoustic sound. The tools presented here are not mere sound processing devices, readily available for a particular effect in the music of others. Rather, they are a manifestation of the act of music making, of composition, capable of transforming their author’s ideas based on the lessons learned from their conception and implementation.