Dunn, Lawrence (2019) Melody by way of itself: Compositions 2015-17. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The present thesis commentary begins with a conception of the melodic derived from Christian Wolff—of music’s existence as tied to succession and on-following. With this as a basis, the thesis explores a portfolio of compositions from three differing temporal standpoints. First, in a condition of afterness, examining the roles of digestion, embodiment, and homage in the compositional process. Second, in the condition of the ‘long present’, exploring the present-tense conditions of mood, melancholia, mourning, and their relation to melodic unfolding. Third, exploring the condition of ‘anticipatory consciousness’, examining the immanent tensions and futurity of monophony, drawing on theories of self-similarity, and the accretion of melodic identifiability and itselfness.

Alongside melodic aspects, the commentary examines the roles of Just Intonation in the portfolio music. The commentary adopts a synoptic approach, drawing from a wide range of musical and textual sources, including Christian Wolff, Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, Charlotte ‘Claribel’ Barnard, Conlon Nancarrow, Ornette Coleman, Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Robert Burton, Jorge Luis Borges, Heinz Bude, Carlo Rovelli and others. Alongside contemporary music theory and aesthetics, reference is made to theories of embodied cognition, histories of experimentalism, the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, studies of the microbiome, the history of emotion, medieval music theory, theories of temporal succession, history of early-modern melancholia, and other subjects.

FINAL PROCESS - DUNN.pdf - Accepted Version
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