”Adding voices to the world's polyphony: the role of technology in in-situ composition”, published in the Proceedings of the Global Composition conference on sound, ecology and media culture in 2018. This paper wants to present a different view on sound technology: one in which technology is not used to create an artificial, controllable sound world and composition, but enhance a dialogue with the living surroundings outside the concert hall. This is a short summary:
In this paper a context is sketched to understand the role and concept of technology in in-situ composition. First, background information is given on the history and the use of the terms 'site' and 'in-situ' music. Next, technology is situated within an art work which is sensitive to the immediate surroundings. These surroundings are considered as an instantiation of the complex, diverse and dynamic physical world. In a following part, this living world is interpreted as full of human and natural agency and therefore 'performance' and 'instrument' are crucial in on-site music and its technology. Finally, recent compositions of the author are described in which a 'distributed instrument' is created, integrating sound production, supporting technology and the site into one overarching instrument.
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The book ”Score by Score” of artist Min Oh is out, with an extensive interview on my recent compositions and the role of notation.
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My article ”Bridging the Gap: A Study of Artistic Research in Composition in Flanders” was published in the online (open access) Journal of Urban Culture Research (2016, vol. 13). This is a short summary:
In this article an exploratory study of artistic research in music composition in Flanders (Belgium) is presented. More specifically, the interaction between artistic practice and research in master and doctoral research projects is examined. The results indicate that there are three gaps, one between the discourses on artistic research and results of artistic researchers, another between the artistic practice and the research part and a last one between master and postmaster research. Next the author makes proposals to tackle these problems, improve the dissemination of research outputs and suggests to focus on a shared environment for composition research and the expression of an explicit design and method, in dialogue with existing knowledge fields in music composition.
Luk Vaes wrote about this article on his blog about artistic research.
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My article ”Comparing the main compositional activities in a study of eight composers” appeared in the journal Musicae Scientiae (2016, vol. 20, 3). This is a short summary:
This article addresses the problem of comparing individual creative processes in music composition, across aesthetic visions, research concepts, data collection and analysis methods. Eight professional composers are studied in a real-world setting in search of broad compositional activities that are both common to the composers studied and that are meaningful for individual compositional processes. To compare individual creative processes, the analytic route, specifically the last analysis phases of the research process, is made as transparent as possible. The need for a synthesis phase is clarified by presenting two visual syntheses, apart from four textual synthesis themes: an ”events time line” - a general chronological account of salient compositional activities - and a ”music in progress” visualization, displaying the development of the new composition.
To apply similar criteria in the analysis of eight creative processes, an analysis framework is proposed, consisting of four main compositional activities (planning, exploring, writing and rewriting) and three attributes (productivity, level of musical abstraction and creativity). The results of the study show how the eight processes are individually characterized by a specific configuration, that is, the four main compositional activities appear in a selective presence, chronological order and hierarchy. Although no activities or strategies common to all eight composers were found, some configurations were also recognized in creative processes outside the current study. Finally, indications are discussed that general models of compositional processes and actions, such as evaluating, may be related to specific configurations of the four main activities.
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You can download my PhD dissertation ”The Creative Process in Contemporary Polyphonic Music: A Study and Reflection on the Main Activities and Processes in the Act of Composition” here. A short summary is also available here. The original dissertation also contained a CD with recordings (some recordings were made during live performances, the quality was not always excellent). The CD is available here (as a zip file with mp3 files, 154MB).
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chapter “Cycles of Experimentation and the Creative Process of Music Composition” (in Artistic Experimentation in Music: An Anthology, edited by Darla Crispin and Bob Gilmore, 231-39. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2014)
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chapter “Interview with Agostino Di Scipio.” (in Artistic Experimentation in Music: An Anthology, edited by Darla Crispin and Bob Gilmore, 315-21. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2014)
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article “Data-Collection Methods and Reflection within a Self-Study on the Creative Process of Music Composition.” (in Knowing (by) Designing, edited by Johan Verbeke and Burak Pak, 157-64. Brussels: LUCA, Sint-Lucas School of Architecture, 2013)
In research on the creative process in music composition it has been a challenge to develop real-time data collection methods that do not disrupt this process in its natural setting, especially for composers who do not solely use the computer to compose. A two year self-study is presented in which the traceability of the creative process is enhanced by creating real-time data collection methods that are based upon the knowledge and practices of the composer. Some methods are closely related to 'administrative' practices within the creative process, others take advantage of the availability of mobile technology. Over more than one year, several compositions were made without any significant obstruction caused by these data collections methods. This self-study also functions as a reflective research project with a close interaction between research and artistic practice. Parts of the data collection methods such as the verbal accounts have now become a composition method.
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chapter “Integrating the Exposition in Music-Composition Research.” (in The Exposition of Artistic Research: Publishing Art in Academia, edited by Michael Schwab and Henk Borgdorff, 153-64. Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2014)
In this book chapter a research mode for music-composition research is proposed where unfinished sketches are presented to a selected audience. These composed 'open sketches' focus on artistic problems and new possibilities. The creation of these sketches requires both a neutralizing distance and artistic composition skills. To investigate expressive and communicative issues seriously in music-composition research, a central role for the audience is inevitable. By having these 'open sketches' performed and by explaining the context, the artist-researcher, together with the selected audience can create an experimental space that enables close interaction between the composer's intentions, the composer's music, and the perceptions of the audience. This 'open sketch' mode has the potential to communicate in a transparent way about composition problems and its active involvement of an audience can help the researcher to distinguish between finding information and practices that are personally enriching and others that add new insights for a community of people.
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article “Abunch, a Tool to Teach Live Electronics in Pre-College Music Education.” (Journal of Music, Technology and Education 5, no. 2 (October 18, 2012): 181-93)
This article proposes an outline for a live electronics course in pre-college music education, examines whether open source music software is suited to teach live electronics and finally presents Abunch, a library in Pure Data created by the author, as a solution for the potential educational disadvantages of open-source music software.