Composing under the Skin

The Music-making Body at the Composer’s Desk

Paul Craenen

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Monograph - paperback

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A revealing study of the physical presence of the musician in musical performance. Fingers slipping over guitar strings, the tap of a bow against the body of a cello, a pianist humming along to the music: contemporary composers often work with parasitic, non-conventional sounds such as these. Are they to be perceived as musical elements or do they shift attention to the physical effort of music-making, contact between a body and an instrument? Composer Paul Craenen explores ways in which the musician’s body is revealed in musical performance. He leads us from Cage, Lachenmann, Kagel and their contemporaries to a discussion of how today's generation of young composers is writing a body paradigm into composition itself. Micro-temporal physical gestures and instrumental timbre provide the key to unveiling the physical presence of both a musician and a ‘composing body’. The author's concept of ‘intercorporeality’, along with the idea of an alternating linear and non-linear relationship of the composing body to time, casts new light on the relationship between musicians, composers, and music consumers.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Chapter I: Music from Here and There
Metamorphosis of the Sounding Space

Music in the World
The Space surrounding the Music
The Space for the Music
The Space of the Music

Music from Here and There
Eye and Ear
Music from Somewhere
Points, Lines, Spheres
Concrete Music, Moving Sound
Music from There
Music from Here
Travelling between Here, There, and Somewhere

Chapter II: The Body Resounds
The Silent Body
Collective Tension
Spatial Frustration

The Sounding Body
Instrumental Theatre
Contact Microphones and EEGs
Between the Abstract and the Concrete
The Voice Exposed

A Concrete Turn
Ideology, Rediscovery, Experiment
Audible Processes
Sound Art
Musique concrète
Musique concrète instrumentale

Chapter III: Composed Instruments
A Mediated Relationship
The Ecology of Hearing
The Dynamics of Resonant Presence

The Instrumental Extension
An Invisible Instrument
Isolation and Selection
Inspiring Effort

Playing Technique and Musicality
The Virtuoso Body

Instrumental Thinking

Music-Making as Performance
Instrumental Intentions
Instrumental Imagination

Instrumental Identity
Striking and Bowing
Seeing, Hearing, Feeling
Mirroring the Strike, Voicing the Instrument
Enacting and Subvocalising
Multi-modal Gesture

The Point and the Line

Sequenza V
The Trombone as Percussion
Percussive Silence
Sequenza V, Section B

Composed Instruments
Dynamic Identity

Chapter IV: The Composed Body
The Composer's Perspective
An Impossible Object
Access to the Body

Compositional Strategies

Linearity versus Nonlinearity
From Composition to Design

The Composing Body
The Writing Body
The Signature of the Composing Body
The Body's Touch
The “Now” of Timbre

The Body as a Strategic Zero Point—Beyond the Body
The Body as a Filter
The Body as Memory
Kinaesthetic Explorations
Beyond the Body

About the author

Format: Monograph - paperback

Size: 285 × 190 × 20 mm

284 pages

ISBN: 9789058679741

Publication: April 29, 2014

Series: Orpheus Institute Series

Languages: English

Stock item number: 90445

Paul Craenen obtained a PhD in the arts at Leiden University in 2011 (docARTES Programme). He is director of Musica, Impulse Centre for Music.