Glover, Richard (2011) Influence of sustained tone minimalism in my recent music. In: Third International Conference on Music and Minimalism, 12th-15th October 2011, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. (Submitted)

Having composed solely with extended sustained tones in gradual processes for a number of years, the influences from Steve Reich's process manifesto and drone minimalism are clear. This paper presents three recent pieces of mine, Gradual Music, Corradiation and in tones, and elucidates on the aforementioned influences whilst also discussing links between with other, less well known composers active today operating within a reductionist approach. As well as looking at the compositional construction of this music, I will discuss the perceptual consequences for the listener which form a significant part of my compositional process.

After discussing why I employ sustained tone textures, I will describe the transformational pitch processes in my music, along with related issues of closure. The distinctive identity of these processes is situated amongst other approaches from the wider minimalist field, such as the austere constructs of Rytis Mažulis and the interweaving pitch parabolas of Peter Adriaansz. The non-transformational pitch structures from my installation in tones are examined, and their lack of closure is contrasted with the more teleological processes from the other pieces.

The microtonal pitch clusters in my music create a particular identity which I will explore, along with further explanation as to how the listener's perceptual grouping mechanisms process the music's vibrant surface layer. I will also briefly look at how these mechanisms affect our temporal perception of the music, contrasting this with the sustained tone textures of Phill Niblock and Alvin Lucier.

My choices of homogenous instrumental forces are discussed, examining how monochromatic ensembles enhance the perceptual effects which I aim to create in my music. I will also discuss why the manner in which the ensemble interacts has gradually come to play a greater role in my approach; by considering the relative effectiveness of approaches taken in previous works, I consider why certain routes are deemed more successful for future compositions. The performance tradition of minimalist sustained music throughout the past fifty years is discussed and used to contextualise my own particular demands from performers.

Finally, I will present the various notational methods from the three pieces, particularly with regard to influences from experimental minimalist composition through my use of text in scores. I explain what role I want my notation to serve, and the how minimalist performance tradition has directed the evolution in my notation through recent years.


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