Composed Choices- Balancing aesthetic preference and indeterminacy in composing

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Högskolan för scen och musik

Abstract: This essay deals with experimental compositional methods. As a project, I explored indeterminacy in my music, and sought to balance this indeterminacy with my own musical aesthetics. This music was to be a combination of both determined and indetermined musical parameters. The purpose was to try and find a music that sounded different each time it was performed, while at the same time being able to retain its recognizability through a certain overall ‘sound’. The text follows the compositional method of a piece of music: Öm, in three movements. Each movement contains different degrees of indeterminacy, and each movement is conceived through a unique graphic score. When the piece was finished, two recordings, of two different performances, were made. Upon reflection, the music was able to retain its recognizability through the determined parameters that I had set. At the same time, the two recordings differ from each other due to each individual musicians’ choices at the time of performance. I concluded that the piece, due to my specific and slightly overdetailed instructions, was perhaps not as open a piece as I had set out to compose. It did, however, sound the way I had intended. These results led to further reflection on my part, regarding the potential directions of future works. That is, among other things, whether a music of similar audible qualities can be achieved by simpler, more innate means.

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