A practice-led investigation into improvising music in contemporary Western culture

Bailey, S. (2013) A practice-led investigation into improvising music in contemporary Western culture. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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This thesis presents improvised practice with accompanying contextualisation alongside a discussion of the broader issues involved in improvising music in contemporary Western culture.

The first chapter explores aesthetic and philosophical issues relating to improvisation in general while also establishing a context for the practice that follows. Starting by examining the role of a musical instrument in an improvising situation, this chapter goes on to discuss how improvisation challenges distinctions such as art and craft or subject and object. The issues of risk, vulnerability, dialogue and collaboration are then considered leading to an exploration of the role that memory, the familiar and habit play in improvisation. The chapter finishes with an investigation into the
relationship between ethics and improvisation.

The second chapter consists of improvised practice presented as four separate projects: The Quartet, Spock, CCCU Scratch Orchestra and a duo with Matthew Wright. Each of these projects consists of a commentary discussing particular issues raised through this research followed by the presentation of the relevant improvised practice. This practice is documented through and presented in the form of audio recordings.

A concluding section reprises and identifies the overall themes of the thesis and provides contextualisation for the final live performance that forms an important practical component of this research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2015 12:54
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 17:16
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13291

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00