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Title: The physicality of sound production on acoustic instruments
Author: Williams, Tristan Rhys
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 0962
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis presents practical research into sound production on instruments, working collaboratively with players, in order to build an understanding of the sounds available. I have explored the way in which instrumental technique can be extended in such a way as to function as the basis for musical material. The function of ‘figuration’ has also be brought into question, by employing seemingly primitive, residual material pushed to such a degree that it is possible to hear what happens underneath a gesture. Research in this area has been conducted by, among others, Helmut Lachenmann and Rebecca Saunders; I am drawn to the way their work highlights the tangible quality of sound. The exploration of the physicality of sound production inevitably encounters the problem that the finished work becomes a catalogue of extended techniques. My research has drawn on the work of these composers and has attempted to resolve this problem by exploring the way in which texture can suggest ‘line’ and the structural implications of sculpting self-referential material through angular and polarized divisions. This facilitates a Braille-like reading of a sound’s progress by foregrounding a non-thematic sound-surface of resonance and decay. This takes a positive and active approach to the problems of musical language, by questioning the functions and expectations put upon music. The possible solutions have been worked through in a series of works for mixed chamber ensembles, in order to investigate the palette possibilities of fusing instruments in intimate settings.
Supervisor: Croft, J. ; Barrett, R. ; Fox, C. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Musical form and structure ; Figuration ; Extended techniques ; 'Musica Povera' ; Convalescence