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Composition portfolio

  • Finnissy, Michael
  • Foster, Christopher
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
OpenGrey Repository


Composition is a process of applied research. In a portfolio of eight original pieces, the technical and aesthetic components of this process are investigated from the perspective of several theoretical precepts which both inform and underpin its creative strategy. Drawing on theories of intertextuality, composition is collocated within a broad current of thought in which ideas and material from pre-existing ‘texts’ across a variety of disciplines are utilised and explored to create new compositional ‘texts’. This procedure is tested from several, key perspectives, characterised variously as: (i) problem-seeking, (ii) serendipitous, (iii) transgressive, and (iv) transcriptive. The first of these draws on John Dewey’s notions of art as a form of creative problematisation. In the second, techniques are developed in which performance flexibility is balanced against structural exactitude, aided by a series of parametric tables that outline a range of variables across the different elements of musical sound. As a transgressive process, compositional procedure is informed by Viktor Shklovsky’s theory of aesthetic defamiliarisation. Finally, as a form of transcription, the research draws on Ferruccio Busoni’s observations about notation and its key transmutational role in manipulating and recasting musical ideas. By adopting an eclectic attitude towards materials and techniques, a compositional strategy is formulated which offers an alternative to the assumption that advancement in the field is inevitably shaped by an ineluctable, dialectical process. A polyvalent approach and direct interaction with materials, it is argued, are the important creative ingredients which present valuable and meaningful developments in compositional language, form and technique. / EThOS - Electronic Theses Online Service / GB / United Kingdom

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