Registration is Open!

Registration for this year’s conference is open! There are Early Bird discounts until 1st June, after which the price will increase slightly.

If you are a member of the Royal Musical Association, a currently registered student or an Early Career Researcher without a current institutional affiliation, you can register at a reduced rate. To register, click here.

If you are not a member of the Royal Musical Association, you can register at the full rate, here.

If you’d like to join the Royal Musical Association, you can do so here.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s conference!

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6th Annual Conference: Schedule

The provisional schedule for the 6th Annual Conference, which takes place at Edinburgh Napier University from June 29th to July 1st, is now available here – MusPro 2018 – Schedule v3

This year’s event will include presentations and performances from Andy Ingamells, Tom Parkinson, Claire Brady, Christel Philp, John Hails, Ben Horner, Pernille Ravn, Isaac Fernandez, Jannis van de Sande, Zubin Kanga, Neil Luck, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, Natasa Penezic, Tijana Popovic Mladjenović, Richard Glover, David Pocknee, Steve Gisby and Lauren Redhead.

Call for Manifestoes

Call for Manifestoes for RMA Annual Conference Session: New Manifestoes for Process in Music. The study group is seeking proposals for manifestoes as 5 minute videos or 500 word statements for a conference session. Please send your manifesto to Dr Lauren Redhead (lauren.redhead@canterbury.ac.uk) by 1st June if you would like to be included.

NB: it is likely that the study group will not be able to include all manifestoes received, but will consider those not part of the session for the future publication derived from it. Please also note the commitment to gender balance in this session; women and non-binary artists are especially encouraged to apply.

Rationale

The Music and/as Process Study group has frequently cited approaches to process in music by Reich (1975) and Nyman (1974). While not the only approaches or descriptions of musical processes, these are some of the most commonly cited and understood examples. These references might act as touchstones for those with an interest in musical processes, but they do not encompass the full range of approaches to music and/as process that the study group represents. More recent approaches to process in music, such as those that can be found in Gottschalk (2016) or Saunders et al (2009) are also of interest to those scholars who contribute to the study group, but are essentially historical and/or analytical, describing the process-based approaches to music that have been taken, but not necessarily defining those that will, or might be taken. The practices of particular composers, such as Tom Johnson, Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, James Tenney and Éliane Radigue, to name a few examples, provides further points of contact but similarly examples or points of departure rather than approaches to musical processes for future study and creative practice. In addition, the activities of the study group have highlighted the need to further understand the impacts of current research upon perceptual and cognitive systems of processes in music.

Therefore, the aims of this session are threefold:

  • to refresh the understanding of the scope and definition of musical processes within the study group by inviting provocative approaches to the topic,
  • to re-examine the manifesto as a tool for artistic practice in music, and
  • to promote performative approaches to musicology beyond the historical, analytical, and observational.

The session will comprise new manifestos addressing the topic of process in music.We welcome these from the members of the study group, and musicologists and creative artists with similar interests internationally. We also welcome and encourage practice-research and interdisciplinary or performative responses alongside the traditionally written or text-based. The selection process will prioritise diversity, with an expectation of selecting at least 50% female or non-binary scholars/artists. As such, it will attempt to address gender disparity in existing writing on musical processes as a secondary aim.

Each manifesto will be limited to 500 words or 5 minutes, to be delivered at the conference in person as a paper or performance, or as a video. The session will respond to these manifestos through  invited respondents who will expand on the shared themes and approaches that may be found across the selected manifestos, and will suggest future directions for the study of process in music.

6th Annual Conference Keynote Speaker: Cornelius Schwehr.

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speaker for this year’s conference will be Cornelius Schwehr.

Professor Schwehr studied with Walter Heck, Klaus Huber, Peter Förtig, Denise Lavenchy and Helmut Lachenmann, and lectures in composition, theory and film music at the Freiburg Musikhochschule. Between 2009 and 2017 he was the director of their Institute for Contemporary Music, having previously lectured at the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule and the Musikhochschule Winterthur in Switzerland.

A member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, his music includes a large number of chamber music pieces, many works for solo instrument, several orchestral pieces, and an opera, Heimat. He has also collaborated with various authors and directors, with over 30 works for film, radio and the stage,.

Published by Breitkopf und Härtel, Schwehr’s work has been performed in Berlin, Duisburg, Geneva, Graz, Innsbruck, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart, Warsaw, Witten and Zurich. He is the recipient of numerous awards, honours and grants, including from the Gaudeamus Music Week (1980) Ensemblia Competition of Mönchengladbach (1981), the Heinrich Strobel Stiftung of the South German Radio, the Baden-Württemberg Arts Council.

In his own words…

My work (in all genres) is most notably determined by the question of what we can learn from our tradition and what meaningful experiences does this still allow.

The question is not trivial: as I understand it, it addresses the central nerves of composition. However, it is not important to seek conclusions, it is more necessary to insist that this question is posed again and again.

In addition to this, I have become ever more aware of my work and findings with the relationship between music and language (both spoken and written). This theme has preoccupied my since I began composing.

More recently my concrete concerns are to take both word—which already consists of a unit made of both sound and meaning—with speech sound, and take speech sound at its word, and amidst this interplay, to uncover music and set it free.

http://cornelius-schwehr.de/werke.html

RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 6th Annual Conference

Call for Papers/Lecture Performances
Conference: Music and Language Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July, 2018
Edinburgh Napier University, School of Arts and Creative Industries, Merchiston Campus

We welcome proposals for contributions in the following formats:

  • Paper (20 minutes + 10 minutes questions)
  • Lecture Recital (30 minutes)
  • Participatory lecture/workshop (30 minutes)

The theme of the conference is Music and Language, in both its spoken and written forms.

Whilst the Music and/as Process Study Group has previously been aimed towards the field of music, the call remains open to practitioners and researchers within the spoken arts, and sound poetry and beyond who are drawn towards an association with the theme.

Particular themes covered might include:

  • Sound Poetry
  • Linguistic processes in composition and new music performance
  • Oulipo
  • Radio art (or Hörspiel)
  • Concrete Poetry / Phonetic art / Lautpoesie
  • Spoken/Written Language in the construction of new music/performance/creative work
  • Interactive spoken word performance
  • Translation

Proposals should include all of the details of the proposed contribution:

  • the name(s) of presenter(s)
  • email address of presenter(s)
  • affiliated academic institution
  • title of paper/lecture-recital/workshop
  • 200-word abstract
  • [for participatory workshops only] description of the format of the workshop
  • A full list of any technical requirements and other resources

Please send your proposals by email to Alistair Zaldua: alistair.zaldua@canterbury.ac.uk
Deadline for proposals: Friday, 09 March 2018 Notification of successful presentations can be expected in late March 2018.

In your proposal please clearly indicate all of the presenters, including any performers if you do not intend to perform your own work. Unfortunately, the study group is not able to provide any financial assistance to attend the conference, or to support the creation or performance of works at the conference.

All presenters and performers will be required to register and pay the conference fee. At present we are working to keep this as low as possible, and we do not anticipate it being higher than £50, with a discount for students, unaffiliated ECRs, and RMA members.

Call for Performers: RMA Conference

The study group have successfully proposed a themed session for the RMA’s 53rd Annual Conference at the University of Liverpool. The conference takes place from Thursday 7th until Saturday 9th September 2017 and the session will take place on Saturday 9th September from 14.00-15.30

Performers are invited to take part in the session in two of the pieces that will be presented. These are:

Sophie Stone “As Sure As Time…” (2016, for any number of speaking voices; performance directed by the composer)

and

Mathias Spahlinger eigenzeit from vorschläge (1992-3, for any number of performers with objects; performance directed by Alistair Zaldua)

Programme notes for both pieces are below.

If you would like to join one or both of the performances in the session, please contact Lauren Redhead <lauren.redhead@canterbury.ac.uk> who will be chairing the session, by 30th June 2017.

Anyone who attends the RMA conference, including those who perform in the session need to register. Unfortunately, the study group is unable to offer funds to support this. The conference fees are very reasonable, particularly the ‘early bird’ rates, and a discount is offered for members of the RMA. Details of the conference and fees can be found here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/music/rma2017/

“As sure as time…” is part of an ongoing series of performances that use the same score. It is a spoken word piece that can be performed by one to four vocalists, and includes a variety of structural elements, sound/vocal techniques and movements. The score consists of a quote from Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (London: William Heinemann, 2015): “As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lesson”. The work allows for performer interpretation with the vocalist performing an individual compositional process; where there are several performers, several compositional processes occur simultaneously. Rather than a traditional concert performance, the listener should experience the work as an installation in a gallery or other environment, allowing them to explore the environment as they wish to, talk and enter/leave when they like. When observed in its entirety, the series presents a new sense of extended duration with long silences separating the performances and the totality being the performance of the work itself. The work also highlights the numerous interpretations of silence as silences of unpredictable length are used within the performances and between each performance; the interpretation of silence is thus questioned as it never truly exists.

eigenzeit is one of over 25 concepts contained in Mathias Spahlinger’s work (written in 1993) vorschläge (suggestions). The instructions read:

“find or invent possible objects or performance methods that are barely modifiable regarding their tempo, rhythm, and total duration; and which, once they have begun, cannot be further influenced; and whose processes cannot be reversed.

examples and suggestions: circling plates and cymbals, falling ping-pong balls, pendulating giant feathers, buzzing/snapping a ruler held over a table-edge, marbles thrown over a marble lane, rubber balls thrown down the stairs, etc.

each player decides by themselves when to play, and how they ‘stage’ their unique, and unmistakable sounds, bearing in mind their approximate duration. frequent accumulation of density and vain repetitions are to be avoided.” (Translation: Alistair Zaldua)

Performing Temporal Processes: RMA Annual Conference Session

In September, the study group will present a session at the RMA annual conference, titled: Performing Temporal Processes. This session also represents a co-authored article by members of the Study Group that will be published in 2018 in the New Sound International Journal of  Music.

 

Session outline: 

All process music deals with time as a part of its material. However, in the case of this music, the experience of time in music is not simply the experience of music as Zeitkunst (in Adorno’s terms), but the experience of time itself. Where many musical works offer an experience of time as an experience of change or development, process works offer the opportunity to experience time as time. That is to say, these works offer the expression and experience of units of time that are defined by, and enclose, processes. Where the duration of a non-process work might be defined by its form, here the work’s form is defined by its duration.

This experience of musical time has been described by Lawrence Kramer as ‘vertical time’ (1981/1988): the extended perception of a single moment. Such an experience of vertical time might be easily identified in Steve Gisby’s Iterative Music and Alistair Zaldua’s Foreign Languages. Both works are entirely prescriptive—even to the level of moment-to-moment duration in the case of the Gisby. Yet, in their performance, the moment-to-moment sonic details of the work remain undefined and are discoverable only as they unfold highlighting an unexpected characteristic of highly prescriptive music: its unpredictability.

Henri Bergson’s (1889;1910) Time and Free Will outlines the distinction between a ‘scientific’ understanding of time—as units of duration understood as a spatial metaphor—and ‘real duration’ which is the experience of time passing in the present. This is expressed as a differentiation between a quantitative and a qualitative multiplicity. In the latter case “several conscious states are organised into a whole, permeate one another, gradually gain a richer content.” (1910, p.122). By enacting such ‘scientific’ processes of spatial duration in their approach to time in their works, the composers featured in this session conversely allow the experience of ‘real duration’ through the reification of the quantitative multiplicity of time on the surface of their music. In Mathias Spahlinger’s eigenzeit the duration of the piece is clearly determined by the duration of its processes, although these durations remain undetermined until they are enacted. In foreign languages time is determined by a series of actions that have no duration until they are enacted. Sophie Stone takes this further in “As sure as time…” by imagining each performance of the piece to be a unit of duration in a theoretical meta-performance of the work, and hearing the spaces between them as silence. These composers, then, show how the performance of temporal process “un-mixes” space and time through making concrete the quantitative nature of units of duration and shifting the focus of the listener to an experience of vertical time.

This session foregrounds the experience of these works, first presenting them as compositional research outcomes. Each performance involves the piece’s composer, excepting that by Mathias Spahlinger which will be performed by members of the study group. The performance will be followed by a round table discussion of the temporal processes and issues in the music, bringing out the common research themes and interests between the composers.

Programme Notes

Iterative Music is an ongoing series of pieces that Steve Gisby has been composing since 2014. There are four in the series so far, which are all identical in terms of both structure and duration. They were created using a simple mathematical process that involves gradually assembling and then superimposing five layers of audio material, with each layer building up in the exact same way. The process itself is fundamentally very simple but, even if it has been correctly perceived by the listener, there is no possibility of predicting exactly what musical material each new step in the process will bring – meaning the piece is simultaneously predictable and unpredictable. The project has now been developed for live performance. Using pre-prepared audio material, Ableton Live and MaxMSP, a piece can be created that follows the same mathematical process. It is impossible, from the outset of a piece that uses this process, to conceive of the composite patterns that will emerge as a result. A key feature in the approach to performing the piece live has been the incorporation of a degree of indeterminacy in regard to the rate at which the process progresses. In Music As A Gradual Process, Steve Reich stated that “One can’t improvise in a musical process – the concepts are mutually exclusive.” Gisby believes this depends on where one sets the parameters of a process: what material, or elements of a piece are determined by the process, and what aren’t? This juxtaposition of performer autonomy as a counterpoint to strict, logical systems has been a feature his work.

foreign languages for solo percussion and live electronics was inspired by reading both Maurice Blanchot’s Death Sentence which is a short novel in two cryptically related parts, and Jacques Derrida’s commentary on Blanchot’s text. This work is not representational in any way; Zaldua’s interest was to foreground the problem of translation in a work for percussion. More than works for any other instrument percussions pieces define their cumulative ‘instrument’ anew with almost every piece.

The composer will be performing the 2nd part of this two-part piece, for solo cymbal and live electronics. The deliberately curtailed notation presents the performer with a map of the cymbal with a set of directions for the beater to follow. The rhythm used is the rhythm of the performer’s own (internally) spoken voice (derived from the original French and translated English of the Blanchot text) which is tracked by the computer to trigger changes in the compressor and filter settings. While playing, harmonics are accessed using simple paper beakers, and this, as well as the tracked spoken rhythms, in turn influences the filter settings in the electronics.

eigenzeit is one of over 25 concepts contained in Mathias Spahlinger’s work (written in 1993) vorschläge (suggestions). The instructions read:

“find or invent possible objects or performance methods that are barely modifiable regarding their tempo, rhythm, and total duration; and which, once they have begun, cannot be further influenced; and whose processes cannot be reversed.

examples and suggestions: circling plates and cymbals, falling ping-pong balls, pendulating giant feathers, buzzing/snapping a ruler held over a table-edge, marbles thrown over a marble lane, rubber balls thrown down the stairs, etc.

each player decides by themselves when to play, and how they ‘stage’ their unique, and unmistakable sounds, bearing in mind their approximate duration. frequent accumulation of density and vain repetitions are to be avoided.”

“As sure as time…” is part of an ongoing series of performances that use the same score. It is a spoken word piece that can be performed by one to four vocalists, and includes a variety of structural elements, sound/vocal techniques and movements. The score consists of a quote from Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (London: William Heinemann, 2015): “As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lesson”. The work allows for performer interpretation with the vocalist performing an individual compositional process; where there are several performers, several compositional processes occur simultaneously. Rather than a traditional concert performance, the listener should experience the work as an installation in a gallery or other environment, allowing them to explore the environment as they wish to, talk and enter/leave when they like. When observed in its entirety, the series presents a new sense of extended duration with long silences separating the performances and the totality being the performance of the work itself. The work also highlights the numerous interpretations of silence as silences of unpredictable length are used within the performances and between each performance; the interpretation of silence is thus questioned as it never truly exists.

Composer Biographies 

Steve Gisby is a composer, bassist and educator based near London, UK. He holds a PhD in composition from Brunel University and his music has been performed across the UK, Europe and the USA. Two of his works appear on Symmetry | Reflection, the recent CD by US percussion duo Novus Percutere, alongside music by Steve Reich, John Psathas, Chrisopher Adler, Ivan Trevino and Luis Rivera. In May 2014, along with pianist Michael Bonaventure, he gave the world premiere performance of Tom Johnson’s Intervals.  He has given papers and presentations at IRCAM, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Furman University in South Carolina, California State University at Long Beach, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Surrey, the University of Birmingham and the University of Huddersfield. He is on the committee for the Society for Minimalist Music. He also works as an examiner for Trinity College London on their Rock & Pop syllabus, having conducted exams in the UK, Northern Ireland, Italy, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau.

http://www.stevegisby.com / http://www.iterative-music.com

Alistair Zaldua is a composer and conductor of contemporary and experimental music who currently teaches at Canterbury Christ Church University. His work has been performed both internationally and in the UK: Huddersfield Festival (2014), Sampler Series Barcelona (2014), Borealis (Bergen, Norway, 2014), Leeds New Music Festival (2013), UsineSonore (Malleray-Bevilard, Switzerland, 2012), Quantensprünge ZKM (Karlsruhe, 2007 & 2008), Música Nova (Sao Paolo, 2006). Alistair currently works with Lauren Redhead in performances for organ and live electronics, and improvises in a duet with film maker Adam Hodgkins (violin and live electronics).

alistiar-zaldua.de

mathias spahlinger was born in frankfurt in 1944. his father was a cellist. from 1951, he received lessons from his father in fiddle, viola, recorder and later, violoncello. he began piano lessons in 1952. from 1959 spahlinger developed an intense interest in jazz, took saxophone classes and wanted to be a jazz musician. in 1962 he left school and began an apprenticeship as a typesetter. during the apprenticeship he took private classes in composition with konrad lechner. after completing his apprenticeship he continued his studies with lechner at the städtischen akademie für tonkunst (state academy of music) in darmstadt (piano classes with werner hoppstock). in 1968 he took up a teaching position at the stuttgart musikschule (music school), teaching piano, theory, musical education for children and experimental music. from 1973-1977 he studied composition with erhard karkoschka at stuttgart’s staatliche hochschule für musik und darstellende kunst (state academy of music and performing arts.) in 1978 he became guest lecturer in music theory at the hochschule der künste (arts university) in berlin, and in 1984 professor for composition and music theory at the staatliche hochschule für musik (state academy of music) in karlsruhe. from 1990 to 2009 he held the position of professor of composition and head of the institute for new music at the staatliche hochschule für musik (state academy of music) in freiburg. he currently lives in potsdam near berlin.

Sophie Stone is a PhD student in music composition at Canterbury Christ Church University working under the supervision of Lauren Redhead and Matt Wright. She received her bachelor and master of music degrees at CCCU specialising in composition. Her research interests include extended duration music and the compositional and performance strategies that surround this genre.

Free Registration is Now Open for our 5th Annual Conference

You are warmly invited to attend the Fifth Annual RMA Music and/as Process Conference at the University of Wolverhampton’s Performance Hub in Walsall on Saturday 20 May. This year’s conference is in association with the Society for Minimalist Music.

This one-day conference is themed around patterns, with presentations covering a range of subjects from hip hop as musical process to old and new minimalisms, and from sight-reading pattern recognition to compositional structures as dramaturgical tools. Jennie Gottschalk, author of the recent Bloomsbury book Experimental Music since 1970, will give the keynote, and Paul Cassidy will present a solo performance of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase in the evening concert. A detailed programme for the day is attached to this email, and the conference will be followed by an informal meal at the Metro Inn by the Walsall Campus.

Information for the UoW Walsall campus can be found here:

http://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/contacts-and-maps/all-maps-and-directions/map-and-directions-for-walsall-campus/

Registration for the conference is free; lunch and refreshments are provided throughout the day. If you would like to attend the conference, please register by following the link to the eventbrite page below, detailing any particular accessibility or dietary requirements:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/music-andas-process-2017-conference-tickets-34200597909

The recommended accommodation for the conference is the Metro Inn, within a few minutes’ walk of the campus:

http://metroinnswalsall.co.uk

There is more accommodation in central Walsall (a 30-min walk from campus, or a short bus/taxi ride away):

Premier Inn:

http://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/west-midlands/walsall/walsall-town-centre.html

Lyndon House Hotel

http://www.lyndonhousehotel.co.uk

The Park Inn by Radisson is slightly closer to campus, further along the ring road:

https://www.parkinn.co.uk/hotel-birminghamwalsall

If you have any further questions about the event, please contact Richard Glover.

We look forward to see you there!

The RMA Music and/as Process Study Group in association with the Society for Minimalist Music

The conference is supported by the University of Wolverhampton and the Royal Musical Association

Information for the UoW Walsall campus can be found here:

http://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/contacts-and-maps/all-maps-and-directions/map-and-directions-for-walsall-campus/

Please note that there is also an X51 (express) bus service which runs by the Walsall campus from Birmingham city centre.

RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group Conference: Associate’s Session

We’re very pleased to be hosting an associates session at the RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group conference. Our session examines Ephemeral Scores and the Work Concept. The session will include 5 works by composers who have taken different approaches to ephemeral notation and has been covered by the study group’s PhD student representative: Louis D’Heudeiers.

Read all of the details of the composers and works here.

Full details for the conference, including early bird registration details, can be found here.

Our session description:

This session explores the relationships of 5 contemporary composers with the ‘work concept’ through the medium of performative presentations of ephemeral scores. The 5 works presented in the session explore facets of notation from video to audio to objects which eventually degrade. Whilst the score of Charles Hutchins’ work Immrama is in fact a programme which generates live pages of notation that disappear after a number of seconds specified by the performers, Robert Stillman’s work The Wheel is inscribed on vinyl that is partly degraded by each performace, eventually rendering the music unperformable. In Andy Ingamells’s Waschen, the score is washed off the composer’s body as he performs it; in Louis d’Heudieres’s series Laughter Studies, it exists solely as an mp3 that is responded to in real time; in Maya Verlaak’s Supervision, it takes the form of an interactive sculpture that is physically altered by a flautist’s sound. In each case, the model of the score as a transcription of, or set of instructions for, the ‘work’ has been abandoned in favour of a concept of the score as a dynamic object that is—perhaps—more of a facet of the performance of the piece than a lasting trace of the compositional process. Taken together, the pieces presented are a statement of a number of possible positions from which the ‘work’ of music might be viewed in the present day, and offer a discussion of the relationship of the work of composition and performance with the ‘work’ of music.