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Title: Towards hypertextual music : digital audio, deconstruction and computer music creation
Author: Britton, Sam
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 8700
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2017
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This is a study of the way in which digital audio and a number of key associated technologies that rely on it as a framework have changed the creation, production and dissemination of music, as witnessed by my own creative practice. The study is built on my own work as an electronic musician and composer and draws from numerous collaborations with not only other musicians but also researchers and artists, as documented through commissions, performances, academic papers and commercial releases over an 9 year period from 2007 to 2016. I begin by contextualising my own musical practice and outlining some prominent themes associated with the democratisation of computing that the work of this thesis interrogates as a critical framework for the production of musical works. I go on to assess how works using various techniques afforded by digital audio may be interpreted as progressively instantiating a digital ontology of music. In the context of this digital ontology of music I propose a method of analysis and criticism of works explicitly concerned with audio analysis and algorithmic processes based on my interpretation of the concept of `hypertext', wherein the ability for computers to analyse, index and create multi-dimensional, non-linear links between segments of digital audio is best described as hypertextual. In light of this, I contextualise the merits of this reading of music created using these affordances of digital audio through a reading of several key works of 20th century music from a hypertextual perspective, emphasising the role information theory and semiotics have to play in analyses of these works. I proffer this as the beginnings of a useful model for musical composition in the domain of digital audio which I seek to explore through my own practice. I then describe and analyse, both individually and in parallel numerous works I have undertaken that seek to interrogate the intricacies of what it means to work in the domain of digital audio with audio analysis, machine listening, algorithmic and generative computational processes and consider the ways in which aspects of this work might be seen as contributing useful and novel insights into music creation by harnessing properties intrinsic to digital audio as a medium. Finally, I emphasise, based on the music and research presented in the thesis, the extent to which digital audio and the harnessing of increasingly complex computational systems for the production and dissemination of music has changed the ontology of music production, a situation which I interpret as creating both substantial challenges, but also great possibilities for the future of music.
Supervisor: Wiegold, P. ; Fox, C. ; Barrett, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Generative music ; Algorithmic music ; Parametric music ; Machine listening ; Musical metacreation