Emergent Material: Reinventing the Compositional Process

Redgate, Roger. 2017. Emergent Material: Reinventing the Compositional Process. Principles of Music Composing, 17, pp. 117-126. ISSN 2351-5155 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper addresses various aspects of my recent compositional practice, which focuses on an interchangeability between pre-planned and spontaneous processes. For sometime my work has explored the relationships obtaining between complex compositional processes, and a more intuitive, even improvised, gestural scanning of the material. Notation and aspects of instrumental techniques further form an important part of this discourse as a means of articulating more complex relationships where emergent properties form a fundamental aspect of the material.

The resultant material, therefore, is generated through a symbiotic relationship between various interactive layers of complex compositional processes, which are then mediated by more informal, intuitive interpretations, with a specific gestural surface in mind.

This process inevitably problematizes the traditional view of the creative discourse as a kind of transcriptive process, where subjective material is often defined by certain inherited habits of thought. The work of the painter Francis Bacon or the shorter prose works by Samuel Beckett exhibit a similar relationship to the creative process in relation to the role of structure and the imagination, with a view to unlocking deeper areas of meaning beyond simple narrative or representation.

I will examine the nature of such structures in relation to my own compositional processes with a view to explore in the interchange between process and imagination.

Item Type:



notation, structure, improvisation, complexity, representation, intuition

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Contemporary Music Research Unit


September 2017Accepted

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Date Deposited:

18 Oct 2019 08:36

Last Modified:

28 Oct 2019 16:25

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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