Developing an Urban Art Music

March, Neil. 2015. Developing an Urban Art Music. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Developing an Urban Art Music)
MUS_thesis_MarchN_2015.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The focus of my thesis is on the development of an Urban Art Music; urban in the sense that it reflects the character and events emanating from my experience of post-globalization urban society.

The Commentary demonstrates how my approach has evolved and changed substantially from a starting point of deploying very specific and challenging but, to some extent, theoretically-based compositional techniques through to my current approach which is more spectrally-influenced and focuses on the utilization of physically recorded sounds from my urban environment as direct and indirect compositional source materials.

I describe various means by which I have attempted to capture features of this society within the construction of musical works, whether by using contrasting strands of movement and stasis to reflect events and behaviours or by physically recording and manipulating actual urban sounds so that snapshots of my immediate environment play a direct part in shaping the music. Originality has remained important throughout the period of this work too. As such, I have tried to remain consistent in postulating a musical language that is ethereal in quality, perhaps reflecting both the vagueness of how events truly play out in current urban society and the sense of detachment and suspended reality I sometimes feel when relating and responding to a complex, unpredictable world; one I sometimes struggle to understand but nonetheless try, in an abstract sense, to comment on through my music.

The contents are divided into three distinct parts. Part One seeks to explain how and why I compose music and elaborates on the socio-political aspects. Part Two focuses on the forms, structures and techniques that are the foundation of my music and highlights those specific pieces which demonstrate important, frequently deployed features. Part Three is a series of commentaries on the individual compositions included in the portfolio.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Music, Contemporary Art, Urban, Spectral, Electronic, Ambient, Ethereal, New, Progressive, Modernism, Postmodern, Instrumental, Post-Spectral, Jazz, Atonal, Modal, Whole-Tone

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 March 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2015 12:41

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:10


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)