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.