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Title: Cloud Triptych : an exploration of stochastic movement between discrete musical behaviours
Author: Cummings, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 831X
Awarding Body: Birmingham City University
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 2017
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The primary objective of my compositional research is to create perceptible, large-scale musical transformations. To this end, my research project was to compose a series of works employing algorithmic techniques of my own devising, specifically designed to map stochastic processes of movement between epicentres of discrete musical behaviour. The processes are codified in and realised by bespoke computer programs that generate the resultant musical material. This material is then interpreted, modified as needed and finally notated as a score. The implications and validity of these processes are thereby tested in the compositions. The specific focus of my research is music for acoustic instruments. The portfolio includes a principal work, Cloud Triptych, and five preliminary pieces for smaller numbers of players, exploring processes that generate portions of material to be incorporated into larger structures as well as complete compositions. An important part of this exploration was the integration of both computational and intuitive materials, and the extent to which computational models can effect an embodiment of my compositional practice, thereby simulating musical creativity. In each of the compositions the different aspects that make up any musical behaviour - such as rhythm, pitch, articulation and dynamic - are treated as independent parameters that together comprise the whole. As such, they are scrutinised and developed both on their own terms and in their role interacting with each other within larger musical entities. The central role of behaviour, and the way it can serve as a discrete epicentre of stable musical focus, is explored in several ways, abruptly alternating between contrasting behavioural states as well as various kinds of transition and transformation. The goal and outcome of this research was the composition of the extended large orchestral work Cloud Triptych, which lasts approximately 28 minutes. This was created using an extensive piece of software of my own design, CloudCube, that both encapsulates and greatly expands the computational outlook of the preliminary works, in so doing approximating closer than ever to an embodiment of the diverse aspects of my compositional practice. As well as the scores of the six compositions, the portfolio contains this 25,000-word commentary explaining the creative and technical processes I have developed, and discussing their implementation in the compositions, along with two accompanying CDs.
Supervisor: Johnson, Peter ; Skempton, Howard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G900 Others in Mathematical and Computing Sciences ; W300 Music