The development of dialogic music

Stapleton, Paul (2004) The development of dialogic music. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis exists to contextualise, document, and evaluate the knowledge contributed by the practice as research PhD project: The Development of Dialogic Music. The area of this project's investigation is expressed by the phrase 'experimental sonic performance', a term used to describe my own practice. This practice is historically positioned in relation to a broad selection of artistic activities, ranging from Luigi Russolo's (1913) The All of Noises to the relatively recent activities of musical groups such as AMM and Einsturzende Neubauten. Within this project I have primarily focused on the possibility of
dialogue, as described by Martin Buber, and its actualisation within music making activities. The thesis attempts to clarify misconceptions regarding Buber's study of humanity's 'twofold attitudes' towards relation, whilst also exploring Walter
Kaufmann's critique of dualism in an attempt to augment Buber's dialogic ontology. While partially relying on knowledge gained from such philosophizing as a starting point, my own understanding of dialogue has developed through a process of sonic experimentation through performance. The resulting five practical works, and their generative processes, have been recorded and summarised in the form of an audio-visual documentary, made available as part of this thesis. Interlaced with documentation of workshops, rehearsals, instrument construction and performances are extracts from a series of interviews that present the reflections of research participants including codirectors, performers, designers, and audience members. This practical work is presented in two parts. 'Documentation of Early Practical Investigations' presents material that was created during the preliminary stages of the project, prior to the written articulation of my theoretical framework. 'Documentation of Later Practical Investigations' provides a form of access to the work that was developed in parallel to this project's written components. In both parts the documentation is presented in a linear order clearly to illustrate the developmental process that took place during the project's realisation. Knowledge gained through feedback, conversations, and personal reflection on this body of work has been communicated in the form of an ethic of practice. It should be made clear that my use of the term 'ethic' relates more directly to its older relationship with the word 'ethos', rather than to a dogmatic set of rules, or maxims. This ethic has beendesigned to challenge dominant notions regarding how one should go about perceiving and making music. Further, in this section I hope to challenge and/or affirm individual artistic practitioners and active listeners who feel that a certain responsibility exists within their actions. Also included within this ethic is a
workshop programme for directors of musical ensembles. This programme attempts to encourage the reader to take the 'idea of dialogue' presented by this thesis, and attempt the more meaningful leaming experience accessible in the
actualisation of dialogue. The thesis concludes with an epilogue, which makes explicit the project's multiple contributions to knowledge, the relationships between these contributions, and their significance to the field. The epilogue continues to stress the importance of an approach that does not aim to generate definitive results, but rather emphasises the need for continual development. In light of this notion, the epilogue concludes by pointing to the possibilities for future research.

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