Programme: Creative Music Practice - PhD

Start date: September 2013

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Humanising relationships in live electronic performance

A professional clarinettist for over 20 years, my career has covered a broad spectrum of musical activities and interests, from concerts with orchestras and ensembles to free improvisation, arranging and conducting, education at all ages and standards, and more recently, solo performances with electronics.

The emergence of ‘electro-instrumental’ or ‘live electronic’ practice since the 1960s has afforded significant augmentation to traditional acoustic instruments in terms of timbre, harmony, pitch range and spatiality. More recent advances in computer memory and processing speed have also made it possible to develop real-time capability and forms of virtual dialogue or exchange between human musicians and programmed machines. This combination of augmentation and exchange offers up new realms of expression to both composer and performer; a panoply of sonic possibilities and a meeting place for hitherto disparate musical genres, such as contemporary classical, minimalist, jazz, turntablism, noise and EDM.

What is “humanising”?

humanise verb [with obj.] 1 make (something) more humane or civilised

This practice-led research involves: documenting an exploration and expansion of live electronic repertoire for the clarinet (and bass clarinet); seeking to articulate the embodied knowledge of the experienced musical performer; studying and developing principles of ‘good practice’ in a still relatively young field, thereby creating a fruitful environment for collaboration, and easing access for those wishing to explore the genre.

humanise verb [with obj.] 2 give (something) a human character

My work also explores the relationships between human presences, machine intervention and considerations of space in live electronic ‘performance ecosystems’, and asks questions about identity, agency and perception (including personal 'sound' and 'voice') in a 21st Century musical context.

My research programme at the ECA is supported by the AHRC.

(definitions: Oxford Dictionary of English. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010)