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Transient Delete: Original Composition with a Critical Examination of the Compositional Process and a Survey of Digital Technology in Opera

Description: This paper explores various technologies available to the modern composer and utilized in recent modern opera, providing creative approaches to producing aural, visual, and theatrical performance environments. It also explores my own use of digital technology in Transient Delete. Transient Delete is a digital miniature-opera that explores different aspects of a community of post-human cyborgs. The story follows Iméra, a newly converted cyborg as she acclimates herself to this new cybernetic existence. During this process she meets several other cybernetic entities that are there to help guide her through her metamorphosis.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Shirey, Benjamin A
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Sound-Poetry of the Instability of Reality: Mimesis in Music, Literature, and Visual Art

Description: This paper uses the concept of mimesis to clarify the debate concerning the representation of reality in music. Specifically, this study defines the audio reality effect and the three main practices of realism as a way of understanding mimetic practices in multiple artistic media, in particular regarding the multimedia works of the "Landscape series." After addressing the historical debates concerning mimesis, this study develops a framework for the understanding of mimesis in sound by addressing the writings of Weiss, Baudrillard, Barthes, Deleuze, and Prendergast and by examining mimetic practices in 19th-century European painting and multimedia performance works. The audio reality effect is proposed as a meaningful translation of Roland Barthes' literary reality effect to the sonic realm. The main trends of realist practice are applied to electroacoustic music and soundscape composition using the works and writings of Emmerson, Truax, Wishart, Risset, Riddell, Smalley, Murray Schafer, Fischman, Young, and Field. Lastly, this study mimetically analyzes "2 seconds / b minor / wave" by Michael Pisaro and Taku Sugimoto and the works of the "Landscape series" in order to demonstrate the relevance of mimesis for understanding current musical practice.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Underriner, Charles Francis
Partner: UNT Libraries

Recent Approaches to Real-Time Notation

Description: This paper discusses several compositions that use the computer screen to present music notation to performers. Three of these compositions, Law of Fives (2015), Polytera II (2016), and Terraformation (2016–17), employ strategies that allow the notation to change during the performance of the work as the product of composer-regulated algorithmic generation and performer interaction. New methodologies, implemented using Cycling74's Max software, facilitate performance of these works by allowing effective control of generation and on-screen display of notation; these include an application called VizScore, which delivers notation and conducts through it in real-time, and a development environment for real-time notation using the Bach extensions and graphical overlays around them. These tools support a concept of cartographic composition, in which a composer maps a range of potential behaviors that are mediated by human or algorithmic systems or some combination of the two. Notational variation in performance relies on computer algorithms that can both generate novel ideas and be subject to formal plans designed by the composer. This requires a broader discussion of the underlying algorithms and control mechanisms in the context of algorithmic art in general. Terraformation, for viola and computer, uses a model of the performer's physical actions to constrain the algorithmic generation of musical material displayed in on-screen notation. The resulting action-based on-screen notation system combines common practice notation with fingerboard tablature, color gradients, and abstract graphics. This hybrid model of dynamic notation puts unconventional demands on the performer; implications of this new performance practice are addressed, including behaviors, challenges, and freedoms of real-time notation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Shafer, Seth N
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Virtual Stage": Merging Virtual Reality Technologies and Interactive Audio/Video

Description: Virtual Stage is a project to use Virtual Reality (VR) technology as an audiovisual performance interface. The depth of control, modularity of design, and user immersion aim to solve some of the representational problems in interactive audiovisual art and the control problems in digital musical instruments. Creating feedback between interaction and perception, the VR environment references the viewer's behavioral intuition developed in the real world, facilitating clarity in the understanding of artistic representation. The critical essay discusses of interactive behavior, game mechanics, interface implementations, and technical developments to express the structures and performance possibilities. This discussion uses Virtual Stage as an example with specific aesthetic and technical solutions, but addresses archetypal concerns in interactive audiovisual art. The creative documentation lists the interactive functions present in Virtual Stage as well as code reproductions of selected technical solutions. The included code excerpts document novel approaches to virtual reality implementation and acoustic physical modeling of musical instruments.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Lucas, Stephen L
Partner: UNT Libraries

Noisefold

Description: This documentary film follows the group NoiseFold as they rehearse and perform their unique style of interactive video art before an enthusiastic audience. Originally hailing from the vibrant art community in Santa Fe, New Mexico, founders David Stout and Cory Metcalf return home to prepare for a special performance along with the addition of collaborator and cellist, Frances-Marie Uitti. Shot in black and white, the film aesthetically borrows from early cinema and incorporates a blend of cinéma-vérité and direct cinema styles for the purposes of creating a film that is both visually and sonically rich.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Lewis, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries

Never Odd Or Even: Using Temporal Structures In Composing Music For Dance

Description: This study engages the collaboration of dance and music, focusing primarily on experiences in the production of a large scale collaborative concert entitled Never Odd or Even. Famous historical collaborations offer archetypal collaborative models, the more unconventional of which are applied to the pieces of the concert. Issues and observations regarding cross-influence, project evolution, and application of the collaborative models are engaged to determine effective means of collaboration given different circumstances. The key focus of the study, the temporal relationship between music and dance, is explored in great detail to determine three models for relating time between music and dance. These temporal relationship models are applied to the pieces and evaluated on effectiveness and potential strengths when applied to dance.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Bernardo, Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Relent: a Composition for Alto Saxophone, Double Bass, Two Percussion, and Interactive Electronics

Description: relent is a sacred work within the genre of interactive electronic music. the 20-minute composition is a multi-movement piece for four instrumentalists (saxophone, double bass, and two percussion) and computer that is inspired by the gospel message. relent is specifically about the gospel message that Christ died for man’s sins, rose from the dead, and through faith in him man can be reconciled to God. This project was an experiment in creating a work with a programmatic extramusical structure. in preparation for writing a piece based on Christian programmatic content, this paper presents an overview of research conducted on the intersection between art and Christianity referencing authors such as Harold Best, Nikolai Berdyaev, Hans Rookmaaker, Calvin Seerveld, Daniel Seidell, A. W. Tozer, Steve Turner, and Cornelius Van Til. This work was an experiment in trying to make very direct and specific musical ties to the narrative of the Gospel. Another highly experimental aspect of relent was in the way interactive electronics were used. Each acoustic instrument in the work has its own input and module within the Max patch, extending each acoustic instrument rather than adding an electronic accompaniment component. Additionally, non-traditional notation, both codified and real-time computer generated, improvisation, theatrical instructions, and a completely computer generated movement makes relent a piece that challenges and pushes the boundaries of current interactive electronic music.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Johansen, Benjamin David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Blood Brothers

Description: Blood Brothers as a media project works as a diptych. There are two – seemingly identical – pieces of the project that must both be experienced to understand the project as a whole. The first piece of the project is the linear documentary. This part captures the experience as it exists in the past. It exists as a master copy of the original story of mine and my foster brother’s relationship. This version of the story will always exist in the past. The second part is the live-cinema documentary performance. In this version of the story, my foster brother and I are no longer only images on a screen; we are living, breathing, and emotional subjects in the present. Our presence alters how the audience consumes the material.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Quam, Jonathon David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Nihilism and the Formulation of a Philosophy of Art

Description: Nihilism is often associated with feelings of despair, hopelessness and meaningless. It is certainly true that once the implications of this philosophy become apparent that these feelings are valid. However, this reaction is merely the first stage of dealing with nihilism and stopping here fails to examine the various types of nihilism that deal specifically with knowledge, ethics, metaphysics, truth, and art. Nihilism at its base is a philosophy that recognizes the history of human thought and what it means to be and to think. My focus is the way in which a completed nihilism is in fact an emancipatory act and the implications it has for art and the artist in the 21st century.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Hernandez, Brian
Partner: UNT Libraries

Some Soundwalks (Denton, Tx)

Description: some soundwalks (Denton, TX) is an audio portrait of the Denton square - the area in downtown Denton bordered by the streets Oak, Hickory, Elm, and Locust. For three months (June - August, 2012), I went on soundwalks in this area, recording the soundscape and collecting material from each hour of the twenty-four hours of the day. The resulting work is presented as a layered montage of this gathered material that takes the listener on a twenty-four hour journey through the Denton square in about eighteen minutes. Ultimately, this sonic portrait of the Denton square is my subjective reaction to the daily soundscape of an area of Denton that embodies a strong sense of tradition combined with a newer presence of a growing population.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Jackson, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

“Sunken Monadnock”: a Composition for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Violoncello, Electric Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Three Female Vocalists, and Computer

Description: Sunken Monadnock is a scripted combination of three modular musical surfaces. The word “surface” is borrowed from Morton Feldman, who compared the aural surface of music to the canvases of the action painters of the American Abstract Expressionists, and contrasted it with the work’s subject, or organizational structure. Composers’ transition toward a focus on surface through indeterminate compositional techniques, according to Feldman, parallels the development of modernist abstract art. “Sunken Monadnock: Composing with Visual Metaphors” is a companion critical essay that takes the surface/subject metaphor as a starting point for analyzing Sunken Monadnock.Other visual metaphors that inspired Sunken Monadnock, and are discussed in the essay, include Shakir Hassan Al Said’s mystical semiotics, Jasper Johns’s crosshatch prints, and Wassily Kandinsky’s theory of abstraction. The circle and spiral, especially, play influential roles in Sunken Monadnock as reflected by musical applications of repetition, rotation, compression/rarefaction, and endlessness. The void in the circle’s center also comes into play. The nature of the work’s formal counterpoint requires an innovative approach to the score, which consists of five sections, each of which reflects a different approach to the aural surface (i.e., to the traversal of time). The two outer sections are traditionally scored, but the three sections in the middle—labeled “Surfaces” are played simultaneously by three subsets of the ensemble. The piece is approximately 22 minutes long.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Harris, Joshua Kimball
Partner: UNT Libraries

Music as a Woven Narrative to an Absurd Tale in Act One of The Metamorphosis

Description: Act one of The Metamorphosis is based on the novella by Franza Kafka of the same title. In the writing of the act, George Benjamin's Into the Little Hill and Oliver Knussen's Where the Wild Things Are provide a model of using musical material as a storytelling device. Benjamin emphasizes the parallel nature of Crimp's text through the manipulation of similar music between the acts. Knussen uses form and color to emphasize Max's childlike energy and his desire to return home. In act one of The Metamorphosis these approaches are combined to enhance Kafka's absurd narrative through a rapid collage of texture and form that is influenced by both events and characters in the opera.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Poovey, Christopher A
Partner: UNT Libraries

Replenishment: A Musical Narrative Inspired by Sleep

Description: The Replenishment cycle contains five works that allude to the experience of sleep, beginning with awake drowsiness and ending with the piece inspired by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, titled Conceiving Realities. This last piece is an intermedia work composed for chamber ensemble, live painting with biofeedback, computer, and audiovisual processing. This critical essay describes the composition of Conceiving Realities within the context of the Replenishment cycle, followed by a thorough analysis of the research involved in the technological aspects of the piece, and finally, a description of the instrumentation, notation, intermedia elements, and technology comprising the work. Conceiving Realities uses a system of interactions between painting, biofeedback, music, and video, in which a painter wears brainwave and heartbeat sensors that send data to a computer patch processing the sound of an ensemble as the painter listens and creates the painting while responding to the music. This requires a passive biofeedback system in which the painter is focused on listening and painting. The computer uses the data to process existing sounds, instead of synthesizing new lines. The score blends elements of traditional notation, graphics, and guided improvisation; giving the performers some creative agency. This alludes to the way in which scenarios in dreams occur without voluntary control of the dreamer. Finally, a camera captures the painting and projects three video screens applying individual types of processing to the original video stream, controlled in real time by the amplitude of the ensemble. All these elements create an immersive experience for the audience that is mediated by the interaction of sight and sound.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Espinel Pulgar, Miguel Angel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sonic "Alchemy": An Original Composition for Piano and Electronics with Critical Essay

Description: This paper presents the history and the theoretical study of mixed music and focuses on two piano solo works and two mixed electroacoustic compositions for piano and electronics. By discussing the working process and giving the analysis of the original composition Alchemy for piano and electronics, this paper investigates the relationship between cause, source and spectromorphology, reflecting how the concept of energy-motion trajectory are embodied in this mixed electroacoustic work. Alchemy is a mixed composition for piano solo and 8-channel fixed electronics focusing on the gestural play and sonic expression. The live piano part explores the gestural sound played with a slide (cup), paper clip, and objects placed inside the piano. The 8-channel electronics part is mainly derived from the recorded acoustic piano. It extends the sonic potential of source materials and presents the diverse vectorial movements of spatialization.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Wen, Bihe
Partner: UNT Libraries

Cosmophonia: Musical Expressions of Astronomy and Cosmology

Description: Astronomy and music are both fundamental to cultural identity in the form of various musical styles and calendrical systems. However, since both are governed by incontrovertible laws of physics and therefore precede cultural interpretation, they are potentially useful for insight into the common ground of a shared humanity. This paper discusses three compositions inspired by different aspects of astronomy: Solstitium e Equinoctium, a site-specific composition for four voices and metal pipes involving an inclusive communal musical ritual and sonic meditation; Helios, a short symphonic work inspired by helioseismology; and Perspectives, a piece for soprano and percussion based on a logarithmic map of the universe.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Difalco, Elaine Celleste
Partner: UNT Libraries