Exposition

Orchestrating timbre - unfolding processes of timbre and memory in improvisational piano performance (2019)

Magda Mayas

About this exposition

The doctoral research investigates the orchestration of timbre from a performer’s perspective. Through the dissertation, I explore orchestration as means to “unfold” improvisational processes. The foundation of the work lies in my practice as a pianist in the realm of improvised music, in which I often use preparations and objects as extensions of the instrument. Whilst timbre is often understood as a purely sonic perceptual phenomenon, this view of timbre does not accord with its use within con- temporary site-specific improvisational practice. This research grew out of the need to explore the potentiality of timbre, and to renew and situate it within my own practice. Through the research, I argue that a range of aspects that exceed the purely sonic—for instance, changing spatial circumstances, the affordances and agency of instruments and objects, and the performer’s movements and gestures— all impact upon a performance and the listening experience. All of these aspects need to be taken into account in understanding and working with timbre. In this dissertation, I introduce and argue for an extended and situated understanding of timbre in relation to material, space, and body that recognizes timbre’s complexity and embraces its potential to contribute to an ethical engagement with the contextual environment. I understand these material, spatial, and embodied relations to be non-hierarchical, inseparable, and in constant flux, and to require continuously re-configuration without being reduced or simplified. This timbral approach, which navigates multiple media beyond the sonic, radiates throughout my research. From a performer’s perspective, I define “orchestrating” timbre as the attentive re-organization of these active agents and the creation of musical structures on micro and macro levels through the sculpting and transitioning of timbre— spatially, temporally, physically, and mentally—within a variety of com- positional frameworks. Understanding timbre in this way requires that we recognize the multiple and complex roles that memory plays in contemporary improvisational practice. I therefore introduce the term timbral memory in order to describe how I use memory strategically as means to gain knowledge about improvisational processes undertaken in line with an extended understanding of timbre. In the course of the research, I conducted four investigative projects that were integrated into my practice, which were further extended through collaborations with sound engineers, an instrument builder, and a choreographer. The resulting practice-based research explores multiple, combined, artistic, and analytical approaches to timbre: I use systematic mappings to detail vocabulary and technique, explore amplification and recording in the creation of spatial compositions, em- ploy a custom-built device for live spatialization as a means to expand and deepen spatiotimbral relationships, adopt gestural approaches in composing timbre choreographies, and articulate a range of diverse perspectives through dialogues and interviews with other practitioners. Taken together, these diverse studies constitute an exploration of both timbral memory as a structural, reflective, and performative tool, and the creation of performing and listening modes as integrated parts of timbre orchestration. The thesis opposes the notion of generalizable, reproducible, and transferable techniques and instead offers detailed and intimate approaches to technique and material, describing object timbre, action timbre, and gesture timbre as active agents in sound-producing processes. Orchestrating timbre forms a hybrid compositional approach, which can be applied to various improvisational contexts and which, by engaging with dynamic relationships, reconfigures them; in this, it offers a way of understanding and using the potentials that instrument-body-space interactions afford. By reaching beyond the sonic, my research makes a contribution to the field of critical improvisation studies. It addresses practitioners and audiences in music and sound art alike, attempting to constitute a bridge from artistic research in music—which is often viewed and treated as a self-contained discipline—into multiple artistic fields, in order to inspire discussions, creation and education in broader audiences.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsimprovisation, composition, inside piano, prepared piano, listening, timbral memory, spatialization, gesture, choreography, musical perception, embodied musical performance, artistic research, extended timbre
date28/07/2017
published28/12/2019
last modified28/12/2019
statuspublished
share statuspublic
affiliationGothenburg University
copyrightmagda mayas
licenseAll rights reserved
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/382024/382025
doihttps://doi.org/10.22501/rc.382024
published inResearch Catalogue


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694544 HaRn magda mayas All rights reserved
694547 HaRn2 magda mayas All rights reserved
694549 ny.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
694552 SkSBw magda mayas All rights reserved
694554 SkBl magda mayas All rights reserved
694557 Ha2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
694560 Fk3.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
694562 SkBl2 magda mayas All rights reserved
694565 MtBl magda mayas All rights reserved
694567 FkBlKy magda mayas All rights reserved
694569 SkMt magda mayas All rights reserved
694571 BlKy magda mayas All rights reserved
697712 SkMtnew magda mayas All rights reserved
697715 SKMtnew magda mayas All rights reserved
697718 SKMtnew magda mayas All rights reserved
697720 HaKy magda mayas All rights reserved
697722 Mg7cubethrow magda mayas All rights reserved
697724 Mg6roundthrown magda mayas All rights reserved
697726 magnet metal frame magda mayas All rights reserved
697728 Mg2columnhitframe magda mayas All rights reserved
697731 MgKy magda mayas All rights reserved
697733 rubber magnet magda mayas All rights reserved
697735 mgky2 magda mayas All rights reserved
697737 MgKy5 magda mayas All rights reserved
697740 chopstick scratch magda mayas All rights reserved
697742 SkKy magda mayas All rights reserved
697744 mgky6 magda mayas All rights reserved
697746 MgKy4 magda mayas All rights reserved
697748 chopstick tremolo magda mayas All rights reserved
697754 basspluck magda mayas All rights reserved
697758 Ha4hitchpl magda mayas All rights reserved
697760 MgKy3 magda mayas All rights reserved
697762 Sk6vibrating magda mayas All rights reserved
697764 mg5 ptchbend magda mayas All rights reserved
697766 bl.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
697768 EbBl magda mayas All rights reserved
697770 mg3colvib magda mayas All rights reserved
697772 Fk high magda mayas All rights reserved
697774 fork low magda mayas All rights reserved
697776 MgBwBl magda mayas All rights reserved
697778 Sk5bent magda mayas All rights reserved
697784 Sk3 thick single magda mayas All rights reserved
697787 Sk4thin single magda mayas All rights reserved
697791 Skthinmulti magda mayas All rights reserved
697793 skthick magda mayas All rights reserved
698170 SKMtnew magda mayas All rights reserved
698173 MtBl magda mayas All rights reserved
698175 mg5 ptchbend magda mayas All rights reserved
698177 ny.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698179 HaKy magda mayas All rights reserved
698181 Sk6vibrating magda mayas All rights reserved
698183 fork and ball magda mayas All rights reserved
698185 ball rolling magda mayas All rights reserved
698187 SkBl magda mayas All rights reserved
698189 chopstick tremolo magda mayas All rights reserved
698191 SkSBw magda mayas All rights reserved
698193 chopstick scratch magda mayas All rights reserved
698196 strumming Ha3 magda mayas All rights reserved
698198 HaRn magda mayas All rights reserved
698203 HaRn2 magda mayas All rights reserved
698206 Mgslide magda mayas All rights reserved
698208 Fklow magda mayas All rights reserved
698211 whisk magda mayas All rights reserved
698213 Mg7cubethrow magda mayas All rights reserved
698215 skthick magda mayas All rights reserved
698218 Skthinmulti magda mayas All rights reserved
698220 MgBwBl magda mayas All rights reserved
698223 Fk high magda mayas All rights reserved
698225 mg3colvib magda mayas All rights reserved
698227 Sl.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698229 Sl2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698231 EbBl magda mayas All rights reserved
698233 Mg6roundthrown magda mayas All rights reserved
698235 Mg2columnhitframe magda mayas All rights reserved
698237 Mg4wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698611 animMethod small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
698648 SkMtreal magda mayas All rights reserved
698686 animGesture small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
698693 Video Action Timbre magda mayas All rights reserved
698842 animobject small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
698845 animObject small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
698859 animTimbre small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
698882 ny2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698884 Ny3.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698886 MgKy3 magda mayas All rights reserved
698888 Fk3.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698891 Ha4hitchpl magda mayas All rights reserved
698893 rosin bass string hand magda mayas All rights reserved
698896 basspluck magda mayas All rights reserved
698899 Ha2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
698903 Sk3 thick single magda mayas All rights reserved
698905 Sk5bent magda mayas All rights reserved
698912 Sk4thin single magda mayas All rights reserved
698918 SkBl2 magda mayas All rights reserved
698920 MgKy magda mayas All rights reserved
698922 BlKy magda mayas All rights reserved
698930 mgky6 magda mayas All rights reserved
698933 MgKy4 magda mayas All rights reserved
698935 mgky2 magda mayas All rights reserved
698938 SkKy magda mayas All rights reserved
698940 rubber magnet magda mayas All rights reserved
698943 MgKy5 magda mayas All rights reserved
698945 mgky8 magda mayas All rights reserved
698946 mgky8 magda mayas All rights reserved
698950 MgKy5 magda mayas All rights reserved
698953 SkKy magda mayas All rights reserved
699361 mg5 ptchbend magda mayas All rights reserved
699366 MgKy3 magda mayas All rights reserved
699370 Ha2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699374 Ha4hitchpl magda mayas All rights reserved
699376 Fk3.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699379 hand magda mayas All rights reserved
699382 chopstick scratch magda mayas All rights reserved
699384 SkKy magda mayas All rights reserved
699577 Mg6roundthrown magda mayas All rights reserved
699579 mgky6 magda mayas All rights reserved
699581 MgKy4 magda mayas All rights reserved
699584 Mg7cubethrow magda mayas All rights reserved
699586 Mg2columnhitframe magda mayas All rights reserved
699588 Mg4wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699590 strumming Ha3 magda mayas All rights reserved
699592 BlKy magda mayas All rights reserved
699594 EbBl magda mayas All rights reserved
699596 SkBl2 magda mayas All rights reserved
699598 skthick magda mayas All rights reserved
699600 Ny3.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699602 Sk2thinmulti magda mayas All rights reserved
699604 ny2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699606 SkBl magda mayas All rights reserved
699608 ball rolling magda mayas All rights reserved
699610 MgBwBl magda mayas All rights reserved
699612 MtBl magda mayas All rights reserved
699614 SkSBw m All rights reserved
699616 mgcolslide magda mayas All rights reserved
699618 HaKy magda mayas All rights reserved
699620 mgky8 magda mayas All rights reserved
699622 whisk magda mayas All rights reserved
699624 FkBlKy magda mayas All rights reserved
699626 fork magda mayas All rights reserved
699628 fork low magda mayas All rights reserved
699630 mg3colvib magda mayas All rights reserved
699632 SkMt magda mayas All rights reserved
699634 mgky2 magda mayas All rights reserved
699637 mgky magda mayas All rights reserved
699639 MgKy5 magda mayas All rights reserved
699650 mgky7 magda mayas All rights reserved
699657 Sl.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699659 Sl2.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699661 ny.wav magda mayas All rights reserved
699663 Sk5bent magda mayas All rights reserved
699665 HaRn magda mayas All rights reserved
699667 HaRn2 magda mayas All rights reserved
699672 Sk3 thick single magda mayas All rights reserved
699674 Sk4thin single magda mayas All rights reserved
699740 SkBl2 magda mayas All rights reserved
699745 SkMtreal magda mayas All rights reserved
699750 ACCRECTION SHORT EDIT-Small Magda Mayas All rights reserved
699755 ACCRECTION SHORT EDIT-Large 540p Magda Mayas All rights reserved
710398 chopstick tremolo magda mayas All rights reserved
710429 mallet on string magda mayas All rights reserved
710433 ebow magda mayas All rights reserved
710437 ebow magda mayas All rights reserved
710448 pluck magda mayas All rights reserved
710454 magnet metal frame magda mayas All rights reserved
737093 Ebow pure magda mayas All rights reserved
737099 Ebow pure magda mayas All rights reserved
737102 piranha magda mayas All rights reserved
737107 piranha magda mayas All rights reserved
739378 Magnetic Island SPILL magda mayas All rights reserved
739383 stereo magda mayas All rights reserved
739387 magnetic island magda mayas All rights reserved
739423 Magda Mayas - Orchestrating Timbre - inlay - 2019-11-23c magdamayas All rights reserved
739435 piranha magnet magda mayas All rights reserved
739438 piranha mag magda mayas All rights reserved
739440 ball gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739443 ball gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739448 ball drop gaffer magda mayas All rights reserved
739451 ball drop m All rights reserved
739455 single key magda mayas All rights reserved
739456 single key magda mayas All rights reserved
739459 single key magda mayas All rights reserved
739461 gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739465 ball gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739468 chord magda mayas All rights reserved
739471 chord magda mayas All rights reserved
739475 hand mute string +keys magda mayas All rights reserved
739478 mute +keys magda mayas All rights reserved
739481 harmonic +key magda mayas All rights reserved
739485 harmonic + keys magda mayas All rights reserved
739488 mid reg nylon magnet magda mayas All rights reserved
739492 nylon magnet magda mayas All rights reserved
739496 metall bowls vibrate magda mayas All rights reserved
739499 metal bowl vibrate magda mayas All rights reserved
739501 Ebow bamboo magda mayas All rights reserved
739504 Ebow bamboo magda mayas All rights reserved
739506 ball magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739509 magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739511 chord m All rights reserved
739518 fork and key magda mayas All rights reserved
739521 fork key magda mayas All rights reserved
739526 guero magda mayas All rights reserved
739531 guero magda mayas All rights reserved
739534 Stroking strings magda mayas All rights reserved
739537 bamboo flick magda mayas All rights reserved
739540 bamboo flick magda mayas All rights reserved
739542 ball gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739544 ball gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739546 ball magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739548 magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739550 metall bowls vibrate magda mayas All rights reserved
739552 metal bowl vibrate magda mayas All rights reserved
739554 stroke strings magda mayas All rights reserved
739557 plasticine magda mayas All rights reserved
739561 gaffer +keys magda mayas All rights reserved
739564 fork and key magda mayas All rights reserved
739568 ball drop gaffer magda mayas All rights reserved
739572 gaffer drop ball magda mayas All rights reserved
739576 ball magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739578 magnet gliss magda mayas All rights reserved
739584 harmonic +key magda mayas All rights reserved
739586 harmonic + keys magda mayas All rights reserved
739590 ball distortion chrod magda mayas All rights reserved
750489 Magda Mayas - Orhestrating Timbre - digital edition magdamayas All rights reserved
750496 Magda Mayas - Orchestrating Timbre - digital edition magdamayas All rights reserved

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