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Title: 'Voice, and verse' : exploring the salience of text in the communication of newly composed music
Author: Mitchell, Stuart Murray
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 4175
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2020
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Through this portfolio of compositions I aim to explore the significance of text in my compositional process, whether recited or not. In String Quartet No.2 poetry is a vital means of compositional stimulus with the structure of the text as well as its imagery in terms of affect and perceived sound effects garnering musical material. Similarly in the work Horo, working with two poets, new texts were created with the foundations of these deriving from the original folksong and its text, Turn Ye To Me. Furthermore, Totentanz deals with aspects of deconstruction and parody, both in terms of textual deconstruction from the written word to phonetic sound, and also cognitive deconstruction regarding the semantics of Goethe's poetic work. Furthermore, the following commentary will detail the interaction I as a composer have with three significant factors during the creative process: the performers, the audience, and the location of the work's performance. The work for chamber choir and organ, A Song to David, takes into account the various constraints that are present when composing for young or amateur musicians, for example vocal range and balance between voice parts. My interaction with the audience relies on a number of aspects, namely whether the work is to be heard in a concert setting or for an act of celebration or worship, and also the effective communication of text and/or affect. Finally, in terms of performance location, my work considers the acoustic of the building and the position of the performers within it. Five Introits demonstrates this with each introit being composed to exploit the resonance of the building as well as the positioning of the choir. It is through these three distinct considerations that the role of composer as facilitator is explored with regard to the commissioning process.
Supervisor: Dempster, Ken Sponsor: Edinburgh Napier University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: music composition ; text ; poetry ; performance location ; performers ; audience