In 1968 Steve Reich wrote the essay, ‘Music as a Gradual Process’ in which he gave focus and definition to the idea of process in music. Reich wrote, ‘the distinctive thing about musical processes is that they determine the note-to-note (sound-to-sound) details and the overall form simultaneously’. Of course, this description is not limited to music of the same style as Reich’s early minimalist works: music to which this definition can be applied includes much contemporary music, experimental music, improvisation and improvisatory practices, ‘early’ (pre-tonal and mediaeval) musics, non-western music, and music which is understood through practice and practice-led approaches. The Music and/as Process study group represents scholars in all of these disciplines which, in many cases, are also music and areas of scholarship which are often not well represented within ‘traditional’ musicology.
The Music and/as Process study group aims to bring together academics and research students in the UK and further aﬁeld working on issues related to and arising from such a definition of process in music. Although the term ‘process’ might sometimes be understood very broadly, in particular the study group aims to address music in which processes are audible, perceptible, or otherwise concurrent with the music during its performance. Core areas of interest within this ﬁeld are compositional issues, performance practice, and the musicology of process in music. The study group also has a key interest in practice-led research and seeks to present such work on an equal footing as traditional papers at each event.
The annual conference of the study group aims to bring together the current study group members, along with other scholars in the field of Music and/as Process to examine current research in the topic and set the agenda for the coming year. The conferences also aim to strengthen links between scholars in the UK and the US through the events taking place at the nief-norf Summer Festival in Furman University (http://www.niefnorf.org/overview). A further aim of the conference is to widen the breadth of discussion and participation in the Music and/as Process study group, as such papers addressing aspects of process that extend the understanding of the topic beyond contemporary music to historical and non-western musics are particularly welcomed.
Our aim is to bring together practitioners and researchers to discuss music that ‘performs’ process. Furthermore we are interested in the different types of process that are undertaken in and by music and creative work and situate process in music as different from compositional technique; a facet of the performance, experience, and the temporal dimension of music. We also aim to discuss and document some of the different ways that composers and performers approach and discuss process in practice.