Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Capturing Transience: Modelling Relationships Between Improvised Music Practice and Recording Processes
    McLean, Alistair James ( 2022)
    This research examines the relationship between improvised music practice and recording processes, and in doing so develops and tests new analytical models to better understand how improvised music practitioners undertake recording projects. Prior analytical models of music recording demonstrate multiple ways that recordings may be created and considered, but fail to take into account the diversity of practice in improvised music. By considering the varied nature of contemporary improvised music practise, these existing models are synthesised into a new Documentarian/Idealised model, which asks whether improvised music recordings are best considered as documents of performance events, discrete artistic objects, or a combination of both. Findings from interviews with improvised music practitioners are used to test and further develop the Documentarian/Idealised model, resulting in an expanded model better able to represent the diversity of practice found within improvising music recording projects, referred to as the Intention/Process model. Case studies of two improvised music recording projects are conducted as part of this research project, contributing ninety minutes of new improvised music recordings to be considered alongside the written thesis. These two projects reflect markedly different approaches to recording improvised music, and analysis of their creation examines the wide range of practice that occurs within improvised music recording situations. This research demonstrates that while improvised music recording practise is diverse, a number of commonalities are present, and that the intention and motivation of practitioners may be fluid and change during recording projects, as evidenced by a Multi-stage recording model for examining recording projects. In addition to providing multiple analytical models for use in further research, this study significantly informs both our understanding of how improvised music recording projects are undertaken and how they are perceived by practitioners of improvised music. It further contributes to the ontological understanding of improvised music recordings by arguing that improvisational music practice should not be viewed in opposition to composition or recording, but rather as a generative creative practice that can be utilised in tandem with other activities, and by showing that recordings of improvised music do not possess less improvisational qualities due to their fixed and reproduceable nature.
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    Finding flow: constraint and the creative process
    Humphries, Alice Miranda ( 2021)
    The application of constraints during the process of music composition can be creatively stimulating and directive. However, constraint is potentially restrictive when acting as restraint, stifling the spontaneity of musical idea or the instinctual flow of creative process. A creative folio at its core, this research examines how the application and consequent dissolution of constraints during the compositional process affect musical outcome. The dissertation presents an in-depth analysis of select folio works to illuminate how constraints were constructed and implemented, when and why rules were broken, and how this influenced musical outcome. The thesis then examines how use of constraints evolved over the course of the folio, reflecting on the concept of flow and creative process. The work evaluates how the application of constraints aides in resolving compositional problems as well as facilitating a state of flow during the creative act.
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    The Musical Activities of Duchess Sophie Elisabeth of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1613–1676) as Reflections of Seventeenth-Century Protestant German Court Life
    Spracklan-Holl, Hannah Frances Mary ( 2020)
    This thesis aims to demonstrate how an analysis of the musical activities of Duchess Sophie Elisabeth of Braunschweig-Lueneburg (1613–1676) can provide insight into both the cultural life of the Wolfenbuettel court in the middle decades of the seventeenth century and the music-making of seventeenth-century German-speaking consorts at Protestant courts. As duchess consort to Duke August the Younger of Braunschweig-Lueneburg (1579–1666), Sophie Elisabeth had a number of duties and responsibilities associated with her social role. This thesis focuses on two of these responsibilities and how Sophie Elisabeth fulfilled them through her musical activities. First, she was responsible for the devotional life of her family, her court, and the wider populace through maintaining a strong sense of her own personal piety, encouraging piety in others, and interceding with God on behalf of the principality. Second, she played an important role in the artistic representation of her husband, August, as a ruler, and the broader representation of his dynasty, the House of Guelph. While the responsibilities of consorts and the musical activities of Sophie Elisabeth have both been studied in recent literature, their interaction has been hitherto neglected, particularly in musicological scholarship. This thesis addresses this lacuna by proposing that Sophie Elisabeth’s musical activities and her social and political role were not mutually exclusive, and that they constantly interacted with each other. This contention has implications for our understanding of the role of consorts at early modern German-speaking Protestant courts and provides a framework for analysing how music-making, of different kinds, contributed to this role.