University of Tasmania

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The simplification of complex notation presented in aleatoric forms

posted on 2023-05-27, 08:21 authored by Scott McIntyreScott McIntyre
The simplification of complex notation presented in aleatoric forms This project seeks to find solutions to questions of complex musical notation and whether they can be simplified by using techniques of limited-aleatory. A folio of compositions has been written, constituting eighty percent of this project. These compositions demonstrate that by using limited-aleatoric notation developed by Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), that I can achieve a complex outcome than if I had used a more complicated rhythmic language. The exegesis constitutes twenty percent of the thesis with the remaining technique. As the musical language of composition grew more complex during the 20th century there also developed the need for ever more complex notational systems. The performers' often-improvisatory input was abandoned in favour of a strict control from the composer in a hyper-detailed notation. As notation of melody, harmony and rhythm became more complex, the performance outcome often sounded as a 'notated improvisation' wherein all sense of metre and melody seemed to be lost. This led inevitably to aleatoric practices in the 1960s of notating more simple ideas but arranging them to create more complex outcomes. In my own composition the need for hyper-notated scores has given way to simpler forms where an element of chance has been introduced at the point of performance of the score. The compositions I write do not strictly fall into total forms of chance or indeterminacy as I still exercise a level of control in the organisation of structure, pitch and time. By allowing a degree of aleatory or randomness into the score there is a room for a simpler notation working to achieve a blurring of melody, harmony and rhythm that occurred in many of my earlier complex scores. In this exegesis I will show how examples of extreme notational complexity and simpler notation through aleatoric techniques (although at times graphically experimental) achieve the same ends in compositional and sonic complexity to the performer and listener.


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