Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Monophony, Mouvance, and Directionality: Finding Meaning in the Neumed Songs of the Codex Buranus
    Kadkol, Neera ( 2022)
    Nationalist agendas have favoured the study of vernacular medieval song over that of its Latin counterpart for many years. The result has been the neglect of Latin medieval monophonic song, to the point that there is much that is still unknown about the genre. This dissertation aims to address a part of this neglect by studying the neumed songs of the Codex Buranus (D-Mbs Clm 4660). Focusing on Dic Christi veritas and Bulla fulminante as case studies, I examine the two songs and their staffed, square-notated concordances for evidence of two geographical traditions of transmission, specifically Germanic and non-Germanic. I apply first Paul Zumthor’s concept of mouvance and its ideas of textual fluidity and authorial anonymity to examine and compare the way the songs are presented in each manuscript by reading their layouts as texts. I then provide a non-diastematic analysis of the neumatic notation of the two songs, drawing on Leo Treitler’s concept of directionality to analyse the shape of the melismata in each manuscript version. By applying these two frameworks in new ways, my analysis breaks with previous attempts at studying this repertoire, allowing for specificity through dispensing with the rigidity of fixed scores and false perceptions of diastematic superiority.
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    New mirrors for people like us: A qualitative inquiry exploring identity and shared solidarity with six Indonesian young autistic women in collaborative online music sessions
    Subiantoro, Monica ( 2023-10)
    This PhD research project explores the participation of six Indonesian young autistic women in an online music group. Within the 12 weeks of co-designed online sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic, these women exchanged music and life stories together. They analogised this experience to gazing into a metaphorical mirror where they could collectively explore their identity and share solidarity. While autism is often depicted as a ‘hidden disability’, this project revealed other aspects underneath this notion, including autistic people’s ‘hidden strengths’ (articulating their thoughts and desires), ‘hidden needs’ (wellbeing and mental health), and ‘hidden use of music’ (their use of music in everyday lives).
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    Folio of Compositions
    Maticevska, Lilijana ( 2023-04)
    Master of Music Composition - Folio of Compositions Four original compositions composed between 2021 and 2022 comprising of: - [looped square symbol], for orchestra. Recording duration 11 minutes and 28 seconds - You Can Call Me CV01, for contrabassoon. Recording duration 8 minutes and 50 seconds - 8 Preludes to the Deepsea Metro, for piano. Recording durations of each movement: 1 minute and 4 seconds, 1 minute and 35 seconds, 2 minutes and 28 seconds, 1 minute and 13 seconds, 1 minute and 8 seconds, 1 minute and 28 seconds, 2 minutes and 33 seconds, 1 minute and 17 seconds - The Second Sound of the Future (Overture and Act 1), for triple chamber ocarina in C, double bell bass trombone, Hatsune Miku and electronics. Recording duration 29 minutes and 17 seconds.
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    Musical Care: Exploring a person-centered caregiver singing protocol in dementia care in South Africa
    Stuart-Röhm, Karyn Lesley ( 2023-10)
    This thesis includes three studies which aimed to explore the role of a formal caregiver-led singing training protocol in the delivery of person-centered care for people living with dementia, and how this might support caregivers in South Africa. A systematic mixed studies review was conducted to examine literature relating to formal caregiver training in live music for use in one-on-one caring contexts. Nine English, peer-reviewed studies adhered to the inclusion criteria. Integration of thematic analysis and narrative synthesis findings indicated that training caregivers in live music applied during care situations may contribute to significant reductions in dementia symptoms, resistiveness, and elicit mutual experiences of wellbeing and relationship between formal caregivers and residents. This benefitted person-centered care by supporting communication, easing care, and capacitating caregivers to meet the needs of people with dementia. Findings encouraged caregiver training but illustrated gaps in training component details and the lack of music therapists’ involvement. The action research qualitative study aimed to co-design and refine a person-centered caregiver singing (PCCS) protocol. PCCS is defined as singing in a manner that employs various prosodic and empathic musical elements to aid communication and promote feelings of connection, safety, validation and that aims to enhance the delivery of person-centered care. Ten caregivers from two care homes participated in four iterative cycles of: ‘workshop, interview, and amendment;’ an observation phase; and one-on-one interviews. This process culminated in the final version of the PCCS workshop. Thematic analysis findings suggested that PCCS was a helpful, relevant and easy-to-implement resource for caregivers. The Person-Centered Caregiver Singing Model illustrated the interplay between benefits to caregiver capabilities (including self-efficacy); mutual wellbeing; relational mutuality and reciprocity; the environment; and positive caregiving experience. PCCS implementation was not always successful due to residents’ unpredictable moods and caregivers’ perception of their own music skills. The sharing of music therapy-informed skills contribute to the caregivers’ safe and effective application of attuned singing, which may help them better attune to and meet residents’ needs. The third study was a mixed methods study exploring caregivers’ experiences and acceptability of the PCCS protocol. Forty-one formal caregivers from seven care homes attended one PCCS workshop and completed a questionnaire containing a Likert scale and space for written reflections. Findings were integrated inductively using seven components of acceptability. These illustrated the caregivers’ positive caregiving experiences and enhanced capabilities, improvements in residents’ observed wellbeing, empathic connections, and extension of PCCS benefits beyond the one-one-one care situation. Implementation challenges included limited song repertoire and residents’ unpredictability. Nonetheless, PCCS was considered useful, effective, and highly acceptable. Overarching findings suggest that person-centered caregiver singing is a helpful, relevant, highly acceptable resource that may contribute to caregivers’ delivery of person-centered care. PCCS may promote positive aspects of caregiving and highlights the value of caregivers’ own personhood as essential to quality care provision. Findings affirm the significance of inter-disciplinary skills-sharing by music therapists and support the application of PCCS within care homes in South Africa and similar contexts. Recommendations include booster workshops to support appropriate and sustainable application and the inclusion of family members and other staff in PCCS training. Further research could offer insight into cost-effectiveness of PCCS, test PCCS in similar and other contexts, further develop the PCCS questionnaire, and explore outcomes relating to caregiver self-efficacy and PCCS with family caregivers.
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    Brass and the Subversion of Cultural and Gender Normativity in Shoujo Anime Openings
    Gilham, Jessica ( 2023-06)
    This thesis explores how the treatment of brass in anime openings reflects gender bias across various areas of Japanese Popular Culture including in the history of shoujo manga, Japanese Idols and the kawaii movement. By highlighting the ways in which the shoujo genre is often discriminated against in favour of its male-dominated counterparts, the use of brass in shoujo anime openings is being utilised as a tool to represent how anime is being marketed to audiences through a binary societal view of what is feminine and what is masculine.
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    “With music, you feel it more”: A narrative inquiry into an online music therapy project for adults living with mental health challenges related to adverse life experiences
    Hillman, Kirsten ( 2023-09)
    This thesis sought to explore the experiences of adults living with mental health challenges related to adverse life experiences who participated in an online community music therapy program. Previous research into music therapy and psychological trauma in adults has largely focussed on the perspectives of music therapists (Landis-Shack et al., 2017; Stewart, 2010; Sutton, 2002). This project takes an up an expanded definition of trauma that privileges participant self-identification over trauma-based diagnoses to attend to the lived perspectives of participants. Three interconnected studies, two qualitative meta-syntheses and a narrative inquiry project, comprise the thesis. The first study presents a critical interpretive synthesis, exploring recently published music therapy literature looking at music therapy and mental health challenges related to psychological trauma in adults. This study primarily highlighted the underrepresentation of participant perspectives in the literature, and the privileging of clinical discourses of trauma. The second literature synthesis further explored the presence of participant voice in extant music therapy literature related to adult mental health and trauma through a qualitative ethnographic meta-synthesis. Its findings illuminated a number of strengths-based recovery outcomes congruent with previous research into participant perspectives of recovery-oriented music therapy in mental health (McCaffrey, 2018; Solli et al., 2013; Solli & Rolvsjord, 2015), as well as some experiences more specific to the context of trauma-related mental health challenges. The third study yielded the central findings of the thesis. This study was a narrative inquiry into the experiences of participants in an online community music therapy project for adults who identify as living with mental health challenges related to adverse life experiences. Five adults were recruited via community and community mental health channels across Naarm/ Melbourne. An online group was co-facilitated with a mental health peer worker for five sessions, after which the format of the project altered in response to feedback and participation decisions from participants. After a seven-week group process, three participants chose to continue with individual music therapy sessions within the data collection period. Narrative inquiry (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Kim, 2015), a methodology centred around narrating stories of experience, was chosen to pursue the data analysis and presentation of findings. Five narratives are thus presented as the results of the thesis in Chapter Six. An additional dialogical narrative reflecting on the experience of co-facilitation between the mental health peer worker and myself, is presented in Chapter Five. The presentation of individual narratives is interspersed with theoretical discussion in Chapter Six, and further exploration of resonant, or shared threads of narrative experience in the second discussion chapter, Chapter Seven. Practice implications are then discussed, exploring differentiated music-centred experiences, considering the need for different levels of engagement, and developing approaches towards collaborative approaches to working alongside with people with lived experience. I then explore the alignment of narrative therapy approaches with anti-oppressive theoretical approaches that may bring a critical lens to exploring adverse experiences. I finish with a model expanding the notion of a musical asylum (DeNora, 2016) toward an assemblage of interconnected musical opportunities within a musical recovery community.
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    Composition Folio
    Kington, Wayne Joseph ( 2023-06)
    This thesis explores the noumenal aspect in music, emphasising its practical application in music creation and performance. It examines the role of the noumenal, how it can be accessed, and preserved from composition through to performance. The noumenal is defined philosophically as things as they are in themselves, as opposed to things as they are for us, knowable through the senses. Accessible through practices like meditation, the noumenal is also evident in various musical traditions. The thesis describes the composer's journey in utilising practices to access the noumenal during composition, highlighting specific techniques tailored for the included scores. Steps to retain a sense of the noumenal during rehearsal and performance, such as guided meditation, are discussed. The concept of a 'mindfulness score' is introduced, a novel method incorporating meditative elements into music notation to foster mindful listening and intuitive performance. This approach, compared to traditional scoring, better maintains the noumenal essence throughout the composition and performance process. However, using techniques to access the noumenal can also support sensitivity and depth in traditionally scored music.
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    Folio of Compositions
    Bartsch, Natalie Ann ( 2023-04)
    Folio of compositions with short written introduction. Included works: Hope (album) for piano/string quartet and optional live ambient effects Where We Were for piano/classical guitar A Group of Kalutara Peasants (from 'The Glasshouse') for piano and mixed quintet J.F.W. Herschel (from 'The Glasshouse') arranged for Symphony Orchestra These works explore individual and collective experiences during the 2020 Covid pandemic and Black Summer bushfires in Victoria. The included works explore neoclassical ostinati, improvisation within classical composition, jazz harmony, suspensions, neo-impressionistic acoustic and electro-acoustic ambience.
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    “A Thousand Twangling Instruments”: Towards a Functional View of Inner Music
    Chadwick, Remy ( 2023)
    In the words of Shakespeare’s character Caliban, music can sometimes take the form of inward “humming” about the ears – an experience without external sonic stimulus. However, there are currently too many distinct scholarly terms referring to this experience. This thesis calls for a functional view of inner music to resolve definitional issues in the literature. To address the problem, I explore the topic from psychological and philosophical perspectives, and from the interdisciplinary intersection of these disciplines. My study outlines the available research and investigates an emerging hypothesis in the literature: the music memory corpus. Applying this hypothesis to musical expectations, music recollections, and inner compositions, I propose a functional, interdisciplinary conception of inner music. Such a conception may enlighten the nature of music, which in turn holds significance for theoretical and practical domains in which music is applied. This thesis concludes with key questions for the future study of the topic.
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    Somewhere Nice: A creative work investigation of how modes of collaborative and solo music production practice impact making and realising self-composed work
    Cygler, Imogen Regina Taylor ( 2023-07)
    This thesis of creative work only, investigates how various modes of collaborative and solo music production practice impact the making and realisation of self-composed work. The composer explores the multi-faceted meaning of music production in the process of creating a 45-minute album, an audio-visual EP and selected ‘home studio’ production works. These new works illuminate the impact of different production and collaboration methods on creative outcomes and artistic identity and offer evidence that music production is an extension of individual compositional voice.