2016 Conference Booking and Travel Information

Music and/as Process 2016 is based at Bath Spa University’s Newton Park campus, primarily in the Michael Tippett Centre, our new Commons building, and outside (weather permitting).

For any queries, please email James Saunders – j.saunders[at]bathspa.ac.uk


To book a place at the 2016 Music and/as Process Conference please visit the Bath Spa Live website.

RMA Members: £40
Non-RMA Members: £50

Bath Spa University – Newton Park Campus – Useful Information for Visitors

Full Address: Newton St. Loe, Bath BA2 9BN
Phone: +44 1225 875875
Web: www.bathspa.ac.uk
Google Map Link for directions: http://goo.gl/maps/BRYDM

How to find us – by Bus, Car, Train or Air (includes campus maps):

Accommodation near Bath Spa University – Newton Park Campus

The new University residence in Bath – Green Park House – will be open in time for the conference. Booking access will be available by the beginning of June. A single room will cost £65 per night, and the bus to the campus is just outside.

Below is a map with other accommodation choices listed, including hotels, B&B’s, hostels and guest houses. They are all priced in the mid to cheap range. Bath is expensive so we have included some options further afield. Bristol is worth considering if you have a car, as it is close and the Newton Park campus is actually outside Bath and a little towards Bristol. Even without a car, hotels close to Bristol Temple Meads Station (as listed here) would be a viable option. Please note these are not approved by us, so please check the accommodation meets your requirements independently.
Click this link for a full-screen Google Map, which is a little more useable than the embedded version –  http://goo.gl/maps/uyYdS

Airbnb might be a good option here since hotels are pricey. Click here for a link to a wishlist of nearby properties. Please check locations before booking – some of these (outside of Bath) might suit visitors with a car but be less accessible by public transport. We’d also suggest a search of your own as listings change rapidly.

Music and/as Process conference 2016

1-2 July 2016, Bath Spa University (Newton Park Campus)

Friday 1 July

1.30pm Registration: Michael Tippett Centre

2:00: Welcome

2:15pm-3:45pm: Session 1 (workshops). Michael Tippett Centre

  • Marcelo Gimenes (Plymouth University): Collective decision-making with smartphones for music composition and performance
  • Richard Harding: The use of ‘People Processes’ in Musical Composition: Questioning Conceptions of Composer Authority
  • Stefano Kalonaris (Queen’s University, Belfast): Markov Networks as a framework for freely improvised musical interactions

3.45-4.15 Tea

4:15pm-6:15pm: Session 2 (papers). CM107

  • Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey (University of Oxford): Influence and action: tracking the emergence of expressive performance parameters in orchestral practice
  • Tania Lisboa (Royal College of Music): Synchronous Distance Learning: a focus on rehearsal strategies in ensemble playing over LOLA
  • Louis D’Heudieres (Bath Spa University): Notions of failure (and success) in scores written in time-based media
  • Vassilis Chatzimakris (Bath Spa University): Interfacial Scores: An exploration of approaches to indeterminacy of performing means

6.15pm: Buffet dinner

7.30pm: Session 3 (performance presentations). Michael Tippett Centre

  • Alistair Zaldua (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Adam Hodgkins (University of Westminster): Improvisation/Notation, Video/Sound
  • Steve Gisby: Iterative Music
  • Simon Limbrick: Between Boundaries

9.10pm: bus to city centre


Saturday 2 July

8.35am: bus from city centre

9.00am: registration. Michael Tippett Centre

9.30-11.00 Session 4a/4b (6 papers).


  • Rogerio Costa (University of São Paulo): Entremeios: sound, image, collective creativity and technology
  • John Hails (Edinburgh Napier University): On Decalcomania: Organisms and enlightenments
  • Maya Verlaak (Birmingham City University): Embodying context during the music compositional process, leading to a re-evaluation of the connection between musical concepts, values and their means of execution.


  • James Williams (University of Derby): Exploring Collective Decision-making in Collaborative Rehearsal Environments: Three-dimensional Improvisations between Composer, Performer and Live Electronics.
  • Alexis Porfiriadis (Bath Spa University): Structuring the unknown: decision-making in open-form compositions for groups.
  • Jonathan Cole (Royal College of Music): Intensifying the role of musicians within the performance of new music

11.00 Coffee

11.30-13.00  Session 5 (lecture-recitals). Michael Tippett Centre

  • Zubin Kanga (University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis/Royal Academy of Music) and Adam de la Cour: Through the Silver Screen: Filmmaking as Collaborative Catalyst in Creation and Performance of Adam de la Cour’s Transplant the Movie! for piano, video and electronics.
  • Pavlos Antoniadis and Panos Ghikas (Canterbury Christ Church University): Open Cycles: Embodied Navigation of Unreal-time improv

13.00: Buffet lunch

14.00: Keynote: Howard Skempton (CM107)

15.15: Tea

15.30  Session 6 (2 performances). Michael Tippett Centre.

  • Stephen Chase: music on the move, in the moment, out-of-doors suite.
  • TOPOS KOLEKTIV (Prague): Site-specific improvised music (Annabelle Plum, Martin Klusák, Hana Hrachovinová and Marek Matvija)

17.30: END. Dinner in Bath

Keynote Speaker: Howard Skempton

We are delighted to announce that Howard Skempton will join us as our invited keynote speaker at this year’s conference. He will address our optional theme from his wealth of compositional and collaborative experience.

Howard Skempton is a professional composer whose works have been published by Oxford University Press since 1994.  His best known work is “Lento” (1990), commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was performed at 2010 BBC Proms. Much of his music is available on CD.  The Oxford University Press website includes discography, a biography and details of recent compositions.  He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.

‘Only the Sound Remains’ was shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.  The piece, a large scale composition for viola and chamber ensemble, was written for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and had its premiere in 2010.  Howard has had previous success at the Awards with his string quartet,Tendrils, written for the 2004 Huddersfield Festival. It won the Royal Philharmonic Society award for chamber-scale composition.  Tendrils also won the Chamber Music category in the BBC Radio 3’s British Composer Awards.  ‘The Moon is Flashing’ won the 2008 award in the vocal category.

Howard has continued to compose choral music, including an Advent antiphon for Merton College Oxford and anthems for Chester and Wells Cathedrals.

Call for Papers: 4th Annual Conference, 2nd July 2016, Bath Spa University

RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 4th Annual Conference

2nd July 2016, Bath Spa University

with the support of the Centre for Musical Research at Bath Spa University

This year the Music and/as Process study group extends its focus to collective working practices which involve group decision making as part of the composition process, rehearsal, or performance. The day will include practice-led presentations, workshops, and papers and will be based at Bath Spa University’s Newton Park campus.

Call for Contributions

We welcome proposals for contributions in the following formats:

  • Paper (20 minutes)
  • Lecture-recital (30 minutes)
  • Participatory lecture/workshop (30 minutes)

Proposals on any aspect of process in music are welcome, although this year we are particularly interested in proposals that address:

  • collective composition working practice
  • collective decision-making in rehearsal
  • live group decision-making in performance
  • uses of technology to mediate collective behaviours and decision-making
  • formation and operation of collectives
  • distributed creativity

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

  • the name(s) of presenter(s)
  • title of paper/lecture-recital/workshop
  • 300-word abstract
  • [for participatory workshops only] description of the format of the workshop, including a full list of any technical requirements and other resources.

Please send your proposals by email to Lauren Redhead:lauren.redhead@canterbury.ac.uk

Deadline for proposals: 18th March 2016

Notification of successful presentations can be expected in April.

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 delegates will be required to pay the conference registration fee, but this will be kept as low as possible.

attend the conference, or to support the creation or performance of works at the conference. All presenters and delegates will be required to pay the conference registration fee, but this will be kept as low as possible.

Compositional Processes as Research: Music and/as Process at the RMA Annual Conference 2015

Compositional Processes as Research

RMA Annual Conference, University of Birmingham, 9th – 11th September 2015

Presenters: Dr James Saunders (Bath Spa University), Dr Fabrice Fitch (Royal Northern College of Music), Dr Larry Goves (Royal Northern College of Music), Dr Richard Glover (Wolverhampton University), Dr Steve Gisby (independent composer), Cara Stacey (University of Cape Town/School of Oriental and African Studies)

Session Outline

This session incorporates two major areas of interest for the Music and/as Process Study Group: music which is composed from, by, or can be said to be entirely, processes and practice-led or practice-as research. The session will comprise the presentation of research in composition, drawn from a call for works amongst the study group members, which includes or is based on process from members of the study group working across a variety of genres, styles and approaches in contemporary music. Music as process represents a compositional trend or tradition in contemporary music which has been most readily recognised in minimalist musics but also includes serialism, algorithmic composition, the inclusion of pre-tonal devices and non-western influences in music, and improvisatory approaches. As a result, today the composition of and using process transcends genre and represents an important line of enquiry for composer-researchers and improviser-researchers.

This session aims to represent the composers in the Music and/as Study Group in an innovative way. It creates the opportunity for them to present their work in a way which is particularly appropriate to research in this area, highlighting both the research and practice components of their work equally. The members of the Music and/as Process Study Group are investigating many relatively new areas or practice and research; in particular the spaces between improvisation and composition and the boundaries between practice and process. Recent areas of interest have emerged as devised music, collaboration, and process in relation to graphic, text and open notation.

Important considerations in the presentation of practice-led research are that the music should be allowed to speak for itself and that that the music should be recognised as the research itself, rather than merely a presentation or demonstration of research knowledge. These two considerations are reflected in the non-traditional presentation of the work of practitioner-researchers in this session. It attempts to bridge the gap between research presentations and practice presentations in a lecture recital style structure which will be part way between a concert and a conference session. Composers will offer short introductions to their music, accompanied by critical programme notes. Their works will then be heard in full either as live performances or recordings. Such presentation of work has been trialled at the annual Music and/as Process conferences leading to fruitful discussion about issues in and around the music presented, and the perception by the composers involved that the research aims of their work have been clearly articulated.

Presenter abstracts and biographies here

Presenter Abstracts and Biographies

James Saunders, things to do

things to do is an ongoing project which currently comprises a series of autonomous pieces which may be performed individually or simultaneously. Each of the constituent pieces uses a set of instructions in different categories (currently noises, pitches, devices and processes) which are spoken by players during the performance and which govern the actions made by the players. Players respond to instructions they can hear by realizing the defined actions as soon as possible after they are spoken. The differences in each piece, and the relationships between the players, are determined by constraints which govern who each player responds to and who gives instructions. It creates modes of interaction between individuals, allows group behaviours to emerge, and reveals the personal characteristics of each performer in an immediate way. Players may use any instruments, sound-producing objects, devices or sound processing equipment (digital, analogue, or acoustic), and performances are characterised by the wide range of personal choices brought together as a group. The pieces model behavioural processes and develop my interest in embodied systems, drawing on research in decision-making theory.

Fabrice Fitch, Per Serafino Calbarsi IIIa: Antistrophes (pour voix seule)

This work is the last panel of a triptych based on the work of François Rabelais. It sets or ‘enacts’ a spoonerist alexandrine in French. In keeping with the French tradition of complex spoonerisms, which are something of a national pastime, the encoded version is ‘clean’ (‘que j’aim’ le vent qui siffle dans la flût’ de pan’) and its decoded version obscene (‘que qui s’enfle dans le flan: j’aim’ la vie de put[e]’). Spoonerisms are meant to be read (aloud or not), so the piece is a ‘performance’ of it in real time, gradually unfolding first the coded version (page 1), then a transition from the coded version to the uncoded one (page 2 and 3). Part 1 begins with a single syllable, adding one with each line until all twelve are present (but each line has two syllables not used in the previous line, and subtracts one). Page 2 reverses the process, and Page 3 begins it again until the uncoded version is revealed in full. The number of syllables in each line and in each section are thus regulated by triangular numbers and Fibonacci relationships. In addition, each syllable is set to a single pitch, a one-to-one relationship that is maintained throughout. (The resulting twelve-tone row is derived from a fragment in Boulez’s Pli selon pli.)

A historical precedent (in which learned and ludic are held in balance) might be proposed in Josquin’s motet Ut phoebi radiis, which also uses accretive processes focused on the syllable, whose effects have direct consequences for the interaction of text and music. However, the tension in this piece lies (in my view) in the way that the listener’s perception of these very basic, strict serial and combinative procedures co-exists alongside the markedly anarchic shifts of (textual) meaning to which they give rise. (Spoonerism is, after all, a form of combinatoriality.)

Larry Goves, Two from Dr Suss 

Dr Suss is a poem by Matthew Welton which responds to Simon Patterson’s lithograph The Great Bear. Patterson takes Henry C. Beck’s 1931 map of the London Underground and replaces all the stations’ names with proper nouns in thirteen categories (one for each underground train line). Welton alphabetises these nouns and groups them in thirteen sections; each sentence within each section is identical apart from a changing ‘Patterson’ noun and a descriptive word of his own.

Two from Dr Suss is part of an ongoing compositional response to this text which explores process as a tool for compositional variety, framework and engagement with performance practice. In Getting into the car… each sentence is set partially traditionally notated and partially governed by speech rhythm. For each repetition a spoken syllable is removed and replaced by either/or a note from the flute or cello. This process of transformation produces subtly unpredictable rhythmic variety, a negotiation between the performers for the identity for the spoken rhythm, informs the compositional actions and provides a structural framework for the rest of the piece. The second song adheres to my more usual approach to composition but affected by the processes in the first.

Richard Glover, Logical Harmonies (1) and (2) (2010) for solo piano

These two short piano pieces present an example of simple audible processes: the chords of the circle of fifths are played unison in both hands, after which one hand phases the progression by one chord at a time until returning back to unison with the other hand. Logical Harmonies (1) phases the right hand, (2) the left. These pieces came out of obsessions with the idea of non-arbitrary composition; an unattainable ideal, but one in which as few decisions are made in the construction process. I have discussed elsewhere that, if I feel a process is right, then it needs no interference from me; these two pieces best represent that notion within my overall compositional output. The pieces are also designed to take full advantage of what I deem the clarity of the piano to be; I would articulate what is meant by this, and how the register, dynamic, and notational design support this idea.

Steve Gisby, Fragmented Melodies

Fragmented Melodies (2014) is the latest composition as part of my interest in catalogue pieces. The piece combines processes of both pitch and rhythm, working through all seventy permutations of a bisected duration: eight beats, constructed of four played beats and four silent beats. The rhythmic patterns appear in a reverse binary sequence, beginning with 11110000 and ending with 00001111. Pitches are assigned to specific beats, which are then heard or not heard, depending on the rhythmic patterns.

The concept of catalogue pieces has been my primary interest as a composer over the last few years. This is based on my fascination with combinatorics – the branch of mathematics concerned with finite structures. My recent pieces have been built upon process that rigorously work their way through all permutations of a given idea, in combination with some form of indeterminacy. The juxtaposition of strict, mathematical logic whilst also allowing the performers some freedom of choice within given parameters, continues to be an area of great interest for me. Fragmented Melodies, however, marks a departure from this idea, and will hopefully lead to new (for me) compositional territory.

Cara Stacey, Ligwalagwala

Ligwalagwala is a multi-movement composition created from makhoyane musical bow songs composed during my PhD research. The work is written for voice, makhoyane bow, visuals, and electronics. The doctoral research investigates how this Swazi gourd-resonated bow and its music are representative of individual artistic expression in Swaziland. It examines how the makhoyane interacts with the greater Swazi national cultural imaginary. I study compositional methods and modes of musical transmission amongst key bow players in Swaziland, as well as perceptions surrounding musical bows throughout Swazi society.

From Conquergood’s idea of “dialogical perfomance” (1985), Feld’s “dialogic editing”, the principal methodology in this research is through “compositional conversations”. The act of performing makhoyane songs involves careful aural response to quiet overtones, creative music-making, but also involves the player’s body as a mechanism by which the instrument makes sound (the chest acts as the calabash mute and provides added resonance). Through composition-based practice, I compose makhoyane songs myself and perform these for the musicians I work with, in order to stimulate conversation surrounding the music, but also to further my ethnographic coperformative witnessing. Ligwalagwala is a creative demonstration of these makhoyane songs and their interaction with space and landscape in Swaziland.

James Saunders is a composer with an interest in modularity. He performs in the duo Parkinson Saunders. He is Head of the Centre for Musical Research at Bath Spa University. See http://www.james-saunders.com for more information.

Fabrice Fitch is active as both composer and musicologist working in the field of early music. As composer he has worked with and been performed by Ensemble Exposé, distractfold, Exaudi, Trio Atem, Fretwork, Ensemble Leones, the Orlando Consort, The Kreutzer String Quartet, and individual performers including Neil Heyde, Peter Hill, Christopher Redgate, Daniel Serafini, Carl Raven, and Richard Craig. He is completing a triptych commissioned by Trio Atem (with funds from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust) based on the work of François Rabelais. He is currently Head of the Graduate School at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Larry Goves is a composer based in Manchester. He has written for numerous ensembles, had music broadcast around the world (including BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 6 Music, New Zealand’s Concert FM and New York’s WQZR) and been released on NMC, Dutton Epoch, The London Sinfonietta’s Jerwood Series, Nonclassical, Slip Discs and PRAH. He is a tutor in composition and academic studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, runs the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain composition course and is the former composer in residence for Royal Holloway, University of London.

Richard Glover is a composer and researcher investigating the perception, construction and notation of experimental musics. He has written book chapters on the music of Phill Niblock and the role of technology in minimalist music, and Overcoming form: reflections on immersive listening was co-authored with Bryn Harrison and published in November 2013. He is currently working on a major new publication concerning the temporal experience in experimental music, and his portrait cd Logical Harmonies was released on the ‘another timbre’ label in October 2013.

Steve Gisby is a composer, bass guitarist and educator living near London. His music has been performed in the UK, Europe and USA. As a bass guitarist, he has performed throughout the UK, as well as on HTV West (ITV), Channel 4, and satellite broadcasts to the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Far East. In May 2014, along with pianist Michael Bonaventure, he gave the world premiere performance of Tom Johnson’s Intervals. He has given lectures and papers at IRCAM in Paris, Furman University in South Carolina, California State University at Long Beach, Surrey University, the University of Huddersfield and Canterbury Christ Church University. He also works as an examiner for Trinity College London

Cara Stacey is a South African musician, composer and researcher. She is a pianist but also specialises in different southern African musical bows (umrhubhe, uhadi, makhoyane) and vocal traditions. Cara holds a BMUS from the South African College of Music (University of Cape Town). She completed her Masters in musicology at Edinburgh University in 2009 and a MMus in performance from SOAS (London) in southern African musical traditions in 2012. Cara is a doctoral candidate at the UCT and SOAS, researching the makhoyane bow of Swaziland. Her first solo album features Shabaka Hutchings, Seb Rochford, Ruth Goller, and Hugh Jones and will be released in 2015.

Call for Works: Compositional Processes as Research (Deadline 14th December)

Call for Presentation of Works

Music and/as Study Group: Compositional Processes as Research

Deadline: 14th December


Proposals for presentations of compositional works which incorporate process are sought for a session led by the RMA Music and/as Process Study Group during the RMA Annual Conference 2015 (9th-11th September, University of Birmingham).

The session title is “Compositional Processes as Research” and we expect to include up to five presentations within the 90 minute session.

This session attempts to bridge the gap between research presentations and practice presentations in a lecture recital style structure which will be part way between a concert and a conference session. Composers will offer short introductions to their music, accompanied by critical programme notes. Their works will then be heard in full either as live performances or recordings.

Proposals to take part in this session are invited and should include:

– the title of the proposed work

– a 200 word summary of the work and the role of process in its composition or performance

– a 100 word biography of the composer/presenter

– a list of any technical requirements

– an indication as to whether the work would be performed live or heard as a recording (both are acceptable

Acoustic, acousmatic and audio-visual works can all be considered, although very complicated technical set-ups may not be possible to accommodate. It is likely that only stereo presentation of audio will be possible.

Please send your proposals to Lauren Redhead (lauren.redhead@canterbury.ac.uk) until 14th December 2014

A panel drawn from the study group committee will make a decision on which works to include by 22nd December 2014.

Details of the RMA annual conference can be found here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/music/events/2015/rma-conference-2015.aspx

Further details of the Music and/as Process Study Group can be found here: http://musicandasprocess.org/

Note:All participants (save Dent and Le Huray guests and designated conference organisers) are required to register for the concference and pay the applicable fee. Registration fees cannot be guaranteed at this stage, but are expected to be no more than £65 for RMA members and £80 for non-RMA members, with concessions available at half-price and a discount offered for early-bird registration. The study group also cannot cover any of these costs on behalf of presenters.

Any additional costs, such as travel, accommodation, and costs associated with any performers or the hire of instruments or equipment, will also need to be met by the presenters.

MP 2014: Keynote Concert 2: Vocal Constructivists

Vocal Constructivists – In-Form-ation

Formed in 2011 by Jane Alden, Vocal Constructivists have performed a variety of contemporary works, some of which are composed by members of the ensemble. The ensemble specialise in open and graphic notation and work together to produce a musical discourse as part of a process towards a performance – they state that there is no artistic director in the group but that each performer is integral to the creative and performative processes of the group . The singers also work with scores of fixed notation, and a variety of forms of composition will be explored in their concert today. The ensemble was the first to perform Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise as an exclusively vocal piece in its entirety, and performed an excerpt of it at the concert, as well as a selection of pieces by American and British composers.

Vocal Constructivists are expanding their repertoire constantly and are performing a world premiere of Charles Hutchins’ Immrama, a work commissioned for the ensemble, today. Their appreciation of all forms of notation means that they are developing as an ensemble and continually gaining notoriety.

– Kelly Butler, Music and/as Process Intern

Video edited by Adam Byard, Music and/as Process Intern

MP 2014: Keynote: Jane Alden, ‘Form as possibility’

Jane Alden (Wesleyan University) presented her keynote talk, ‘Form as Possibility’ (from Cecil Taylor’s liner notes from his album Unit Structures (1966)) as the penultimate event at the conference. The presentation took the stance of performative process and served as a truly informed pre-concert talk before her ensemble Vocal Constructivists took to the stage. Alden acknowledges that performers inject form into musical process due to learning and engaging with the music and the score, be it notated or graphic. Further to this, she explained that there is no one way to perceive form, structure or process in a performance, or in a score, as informing the performance is not one-dimensional itself, and Vocal Constructivists are proof of this.

Alden gave historical context, detailing that process dates back to 15th Century and the mensuration canon. She exampled the Agnus Dei from Josquin’s ‘L’homme armé super voces musicales’ where a main melody is imitated but at different speeds (or mensurations – this term, however, refers to early music: ‘prolation’ is used in reference to more modern music). Alden then went onto explain the elements of music making that have been probed since the late 20th Century, due to chance, determinacy and, therefore, “elements free of human agency” (like aleatoric sound objects). By extension, then, the roles of composers, listeners and performers are also no lo longer set in stone.

Alden gave an overview of Deep Listening (http://deeplistening.org/site/), developed by Pauline Oliveros, a regular composer for the ensemble whose piece was premiered in the concert following the talk, detailing the method of “slowing down musical time” so minute details within the music become forefront to the listener, promoting a new and more organic way of listening. This was in the context of not just her music, but the presence of ancillary (necessary) noises and sound objects within any piece of music.

With the end result pertaining to discipline of a ensemble and a performance due to the process that they conceive within it, Alden concluded that discipline is not necessarily conforming to a form or structure, but to work together efficiently and with articulate initiative.


Jane Alden is Associate Professor and Chair of Music as Wesleyan University, CT. Her research includes music notation and visual culture from the medieval era to the present day, as well as British and American experimental music. She has been published multiple times on themes spanning her research fields, and in 2011, she form the Vocal Constructivists ensemble that specialise in realising graphic, open and text-based scores.
– Kelly Butler, Music and/as Process Intern

(Edited by Adam Byard, Music and/as Process Intern)

MP 2014: Session 5: Composer’s showcase concert

On the second day of the conference, five composers presented their current works and research in a concert in the Maxwell Davies building. Each piece was markedly unique, highlighting the composers’ own tropes and styles of writing, and the process of composition and, sometimes, performance, was explained to the audience before hearing the pieces.

Charlie Sdraulig’s Between invites the performers (a flautist and a violinist) to explore a repertoire of fragments and subtle variants. There is need for a navigational process (between the performers) to pass from one sound, or instrument, to another, and the performers are required to influence and be influenced by one another. As well as process as a performative element, process as listening, both by performers and audience, is present here, in order to create connections between each apparently isolated sound object. Due to the improvisatory nature of the piece, it is created in the present: instead of the piece being composed via process, the process is being created and performed instantaneously. Furthermore, the gentle dynamics and sporadic sound production accentuates the finite temporality of the piece, and encourages more careful listening by the audience.

Charlie Sdraulig is an independent composer specialising in physicality and perception in human performance. His music is perceived at ‘the threshold of audibility’, which allows for individuality and human expression in performance. His music has been performed internationally by renowned ensembles such as the Mercury Quartet and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Charlie Sdraulig introducing his piece, Between

Following his presentation on his Leiden Translations installation, Alistair Zaldua (Goldsmiths, London) presented a single-screen version of the work. The Leiden papyrus is a series of alchemic recipes found in the 19th Century but dating back to c.3rd Century. Zaldua took an English translation of the text and translated it into three forms: notation (Ancient Greek gylphs), physical communication (BSL) and musical performance (contrabass improvisation). The work is a multi-faceted semiological response to verbal and non-verbal communication resulting, ultimately, in a tripartite musical process via listening and performing.

Alistair Zaldua is a composer of contemporary and experimental music, writing for chamber ensemble and orchestra, solo instrument, live electronics and audio-visual installation. His work has been performed by many renowned musicians and ensembles, such as Ensemble Modern, Ian Pace and Lauren Redhead, and has been performed internationally.


David Bremner presented the third piece, logic ballad #2. The piece is the music-theatre style and is for solo soprano (this performance was by Elizabeth Hilliard). It is made up of short phrases, varying in constructive order. The process behind the production of the piece is the difference between what can happen and what does happen: while it is a composed piece, the performer’s use of the permutations connotes instantaneity, thus creating a dramatic story and journey of the character portrayed.

David Bremner is a contemporary composer whose works have been performed internationally, and commissioned by ensembles including RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Soprano Elizabeth Hilliard performing Bremner’s logic ballad #2


Adam Strickson (University of Leeds) and Lauren Redhead (Canterbury Christ Church University) presented their work in progress, The Carp Flop – a music-theatre piece for voices and tape based on the life of Holocaust survivor Iby Knell. They explained their method of composition as non-chronological and fragmental, connoting memories in the human mind.

Adam Strickson is a director, poet, script writer and librettist currently completing a PhD at Leeds University. Two of his poetry collections have been published and he has been commissioned by Bolton Octagon Theatre, Priory 900, Leeds Trinity Centre and Ceramic Review. His collaborative work with composers includes the opera written with Lauren Redhead, green angel.

Lauren Redhead is a composer, organist and musicologist specialising in contemporary music and new aesthetics. Her music has been performed internationally and she has received commissions from renowned organisations such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Octopus Collective with the Arts Council of England.

They have collaborated since 2009, their first work being A Burlington Tale, a radio play set in Bridlington. Their opera, green angel, premiered in 2011, received support from Arts Council England. Workshopping is integral to their creative process, and further collaborators’ (such as performers Stef Connor (soprano) and Simon Walton (tenor)) interpretation of their work influence the future of the piece.

Singers performing Carp Flop, a work-in-progress devised piece by Redhead and Strickson

– Kelly Butler, Music and/as Process Intern 2014

MP 2014: Session 4a: Meta-processes

Scott McLaughlin (University of Leeds) presented his paper ‘Instrument as process’, dealing with instruments as compositional material.

He began with a contextual introduction to Tim Ingold’s Ways of Walking (2008), where, in short, the author examines how humans interact reflexively with their environment during the process of walking from one place to another under the auspices of ‘speculative anthropology’. McLaughlin transferred this theory to his research, and how instruments respond to stimuli and environment, and how this affects sounds they produce as they process (transform) from one state to another.

McLaughlin used illustrative examples from composer Alvin Lucier. I Am Sitting in a Room (1969) acknowledges the room as the instrument. Lucier played a recorded narration into a room, and then re-recorded the resulting sound. This process was repeated a number of times, and, due to the particular resonance in the room, certain frequencies were emphasised until the words became unintelligible and were replaced with tones and harmonies from the resonance of the room itself. McLaughlin calls this a non-responsive process, since after being set up, it is entirely left alone during the performance, and the compositional material is based upon materiality (or temporality), ultimately affording performative paths.

Opera with Objects (1997) is a work that utilises objects as instruments. The process heard here is the sound objects transforming based on what the object is interacting with – for example, a pencil tapped against a brick will produce a different sound to one being tapped against a glass bottle. The instrument (object) produces the action and resultant musical gesture, meaning that the instrument is the process itself, and so the instrument (as process) endorses the gestures themselves.

McLaughlin calls this process a performative exploration of acoustic and amplification phenomena, meaning that the performance is informed by the resulting sound of two objects meeting – no two venues and object combinations will produce the same sound. Further to this, the work falls into the category, ‘opera’ because the objects gain character and narrative happens through the process of the objects ‘meeting’.

Scott McLaughlin is a composer and improviser (cello, live electronics) based in Huddersfield. He also lectures in composition and music technology at Leeds University, and his research focuses on the physical materiality of sound and performance. His debut CD, there are neither wholes nor parts was recently released on Ergodos Records.

– Kelly Butler, Music and/as Process Intern 2014