Performing Temporal Processes

Redhead, L; Zaldua, Alistair; Gisby, S and Stone, S. 2017. Performing Temporal Processes. New Sound International Journal of Music, 50, pp. 113-127. ISSN 0354-818X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the way that the performance of temporal processes in recent contemporary music reveals something about the nature of musical time. Process music deals with time as a part of its material, offering the opportunity to experience time as time: the expression and experience of units of time that are defined by, and enclose, processes, in works whose forms are defined by their durations. This experience of musi- cal time has been described by Kramer as ‘vertical time’ (1981/1988): the extended per- ception of a single moment. Such an experience can be identified in Gisby’s Iterative Music (2012–) and Zaldua’s Foreign Languages (2013–17). The moment-to-moment sonic details of the works are undefined and are discoverable only as they unfold, high- lighting the unpredictability of sometimes highly prescriptive music.
Bergson’s (1889;1910) Time and Free Will outlines the distinction between time as units of duration and ‘real duration’, which is the experience of time passing in the present. In the latter case “several conscious states are organised into a whole, permeate one another, gradually gain a richer content” (1910, 122). The duration of Spahlinger’s Eigenzeit from Vorsläge (1992–93) is determined by its processes, which are undetermined until they are enacted. Stone furthers this in As sure as time... (2016–) by imagining each performance as a unit of duration in a theoretical meta-performance. These pieces show how the per- formance of temporal process makes concrete the quantitative nature of duration and shifts the focus of the listener to vertical time.

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13 November 2017Accepted

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Date Deposited:

22 Oct 2018 14:40

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:55

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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