Context as Compositional Material
If, as a chorus of scholarly voices propose, music functions differently in different contexts, how might those differences be compositionally productive? This presentation takes contemporary theories of contextually contingent listening and questions their implications for compositional practice. I argue that certain interdisciplinary performance contexts offer the practitioner the ability to compose how sound is encountered, what kinds of listening are invoked and the perceptual space that sound occupies. Theatre, in particular, is compositionally attractive because it offers the potential to direct when (and what kind of) listening is important. Mindful of the authorial and disciplinary implications, I will discuss, firstly, what it might mean to include context within a range of compositional materials and, secondly, musical materials reconceived as a set of modular contexts.
Tom Parkinson is a composer and sound designer working primarily in an interdisciplinary context. He has written the music for over eighty dance and theatre productions in twenty countries. His output is diverse, having been played on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, 6Music, 1Xtra, Classic FM and Resonance. He has worked with/at the National Theatre, The National Dance Company of Korea, The National Theatre of Tunisia, Scottish Ballet, Complicite, The Royal Opera House, Prague Chamber Ballet, Stadsschouwberg Amsterdam and Forest Fringe. Regular collaborators include theatre-makers Bryony Kimmings and Sharon Smith (of Gob Squad) and choreographers Keren Levi and Ivgi&Greben. He has published articles on the design of fade-outs and vocal technologies in performance, and recently joined the music department at Royal Holloway as Lecturer in Digital Composition.
Location: Wettons Terrace, room 001
All welcome, no booking required.