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Title: Improvised experimental music and the construction of a collaborative aesthetic
Author: Chase, Stephen Timothy
ISNI:       0000 0001 3530 1872
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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Western musical aesthetics places composition at the centre of its enquiry, and this is expressed forcefully through the concept of the musical work: the product of a composer realised by performers who interpret the composer's score. European 'free' or improvised experimental music (IEM) is examined because of its challenge to mainstream musical thought, since it is the product of more than one organising mind in the moment of performance. The thesis shows how IEM draws upon ideas such as the work concept, articulating an identity which is bound to the work concept even as it criticises those ideas and work with ideas from other musical traditions. Following an account of the origins of IEM in Britain (chapter 1), chapter 2 focuses upon the work concept detailing both the resistance of the concept to new kinds of practice and its influence upon new music. Chapters 3 and 4 examine the role of the individual within a collaborative context, using materials from interviews with improvisers to draw out concerns which motivate IEM. The themes of performance and play are extrapolated which respectively complement and conflict with the 'work concept. Chapter 4 examines these themes in a more abstract way exploring parallels with the philosophical critique of institutional models of democracy. Chapter 5 presents a case study of musicians acquiring improvising skills under the guidance of an experienced improviser. The musical negotiations between the members of the group are considered in light of the themes of performance and play upon the making of the group's aesthetic character. Chapter 6 summarises the main themes of the preceding chapters showing that the aesthetic identity of IEM distinguishes itself from the concerns of mainstream musical aesthetics by virtue of its emphasis on collaboration, while at the same time drawing upon the individualistic motivations of the work concept. The thesis concludes with proposals for further research arising from these conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available