Baldwin, Michael S. (2017) Effaced/reflected/being: documents and/of/as musicking bodies. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The submitted portfolio of work emerges from a focus on treating musicking bodies as compositional material. The work explores aspects of awkwardness in performance, slow motion movement, confrontation, simultaneous and multiple forms of intersubjective identity, public presentations of private activities, and dialogic relationships with performance. Because of these interests, and their grounding in performance, my practice has involved developing compositional approaches and strategies for working with documented forms of performance. The accompanying written commentary reflects on the findings of this investigation by focusing primarily on techniques of working with documents of performances.

By considering Nicholas Cook’s notion of scores-as-scripts, by which musical scores are expanded from being isolated and autonomous texts of musical work to existing in relationship with instances of performance, I propose the notion of documents-as-scores. Reflecting on the capacity for documentation to transform representations and manifestations of performance, I suggest that chirographic and/or typographic representations of musical notation inscribed in the document-form
of sheet music have the potential to function as documentation of performance. Expanding on this potential, and drawing from various definitions of the word “document,” I suggest that other document-forms such as audio/video files or human bodies can be musically inscribed to function as scores for performance. These scores are made of document-forms inscribed with information that I treat as material subject to compositional protocols of manipulation, which include protraction, expansion, situation, distortion, effacement, dislocation, isolation, and contextualization, among others. To narrow the scope of this research, I focus on ways in which musicking bodies are intellectually/physically engaged with, represented in, and embodiments of these documents-as-scores.

Integrating examples from the portfolio, the commentary introduces the notion of documents-as-scores and proceeds to examine ways of working with different document-forms. In Chapter 1, physical and digital forms of notation are effaced to articulate facets of awkwardness and integrative destruction in music. In Chapter 2, distended, incomplete, and overlaid video and audio recordings are reflected in performance by looking and listening for representations and indices of physical action. In Chapter 3, humans/persons become formally constitutive embodied documents whose verbal, physical, and musical memories are situated within performative reading contexts.

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