Portfolio of compositions

Hedsund, Helene (2021). Portfolio of compositions. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This is a portfolio of six electroacoustic multichannel pieces created between 2013 and 2019. They illustrate chronologically my desire to completely stop using Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and only work with my own software tools. I call these software tools instruments/composition tools because they are both. I have a background as a software developer so such a wish comes naturally to me, having enjoyed building large code structures before. I find it an intuitive way to develop a composition. When I started this PhD project I was not able to produce a musical piece without some use of a DAW but now I can, so this text also illustrates my learning curve. Working within DAWs imposes certain limitations and assumptions upon the user. Working with instruments allows greater flexibility both in the compositional process, and in creating alternative versions, for example for different speaker layouts. That said, in keeping with the nature of the programme at Birmingham, the main focus of this portfolio is the compositions themselves. It is not a detailed investigation of different workflows. However, I hope that it might serve as an example and inspiration for other composers to reflect on their own workflows and perhaps inspire them to build their own toolsets that go beyond DAWs and other standard tools. The compositions themselves serve as a concrete example of such workflows employed in practice. In a broader sense, these instruments/compositions are one contribution to a renewed surge of interest in the use of code and custom software in the creation of musical compositions, which has arisen in part in response to the limitations presented by commercial software.
An additional area of exploration of the ‘unmasking’ of previously masked sounds in recordings as a compositional strategy, revealing hidden aspects of a sound’s spectrum. This is employed in two of the pieces in the portfolio.
Finally, in musical terms they were designed with certain symbolic aspects such as the choice of durations, and the dates on which the recordings were made. These symbolic aspects and choices relate to my mother, to whom the portfolio is dedicated.

Please see USB stick content and Appendix in the thesis text before trying to download the archive files. All instrument are Mac OSX only and the pieces are all multichannel.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 All rights reserved All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: Other
Other Funders: STIM, Helge Ax:son Johnson, Konstnärsnämnden, University of Birmingham
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11268


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