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Title: Commentary on the Portfolio of Compositions submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Composition
Author: Goodenough, John Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 9174
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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Portfolio Contents: 1. Ubi Caritas 2009 - for Violin & Piano 4.36 2. String Quartet 2010 - for String Quartet 5.15 3. Echoes of Poems & Prose 2010 - for small ensemble 32.45 4. Fountains 2011 - for String Quartet 4.45 5. Stato di Cambiamento 2012 - for large ensemble 5.10 6. Triptych 2012 - for small ensemble 5.20 7. Divergenza 2013 - for large orchestra 33.12 Total time 91.03 Other musical examples (not part of the portfolio) Sette archi spezzati 2013 - for small ensemble 5.28 This portfolio has three principal themes. The first, explored with the discussion of Ubi Caritas and the (2010) String Quartet, concerns the interpretation of harmony; that is harmony, plainly being the vertical component in music but having an inbuilt propensity for horizontal movement, including line and counterpoint. In echoes of Poems & Prose, there is a disregard for any horizontal reasoning, harmony is constrained to the point of isolation and focus fundamentally shifts to the chord as 'object'. I consider this 'objective' sense in detail, in subsequent music in this portfolio. A second theme hinges on a discussion of 'musical material' (the term devised by Theodor Adorno); this considered alongside Samuel Beckett's description of a relationship, between 'mess and confusion' (Beckett's terms for material) and the 'form' that contains it. In Echoes of Poems & Prose, I consider material explicitly, in particular the singular sound. With Fountains and Stato di Cambiamento control of the sounds and their overall architecture become increasingly obscure, with issues around form, substantively re-defining the compositional process. A third theme is the consideration of aspects of structure, which become of particular significance in the final pieces Triptych and Divergenza (the term 'structure' being as defined by John Cage). In Triptych, exploration is made of a confining form into which structural material grows; material that yields intensely colourful musical moments. In the final piece Divergenza, the Fibonacci sequence applies a vice-like grip on the material, but as I remove the conceptual dependence on this sequence, the music's intrinsic characteristics of rhythm and character grow to become of central importance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available