Sergeant, Matthew (2013) the churches of lalibela: erosion and encrustation as transformative musical processes. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis outlines a new compositional grammar for my recent compositional practice as demonstrated by the collection of original musical work supplied in the accompanying folio of compositions, itself collectively titled the churches of lalibela. The grammar here outlined and explored presents developments in compositional procedure resulting from re-considering acts of musical transformation in terms of erosion and encrustation. Within the terminologies of this thesis, erosion and encrustation are understood as classes of compositional action (applied to musical materials) defined by operations of erasure/removal and addition/accrual respectively. Using examples from the visual arts as a mechanism for discussion, the thesis develops a wider conceptual understanding of these terms, allowing them to be considered no
longer as opposites but as intertwined mechanisms mutually achieving a state of material distortion. A compositional scenario is thus derived in which the sonic surface of a given instance of a composition can be understood as being comprised of the debris resulting from such processes. To develop an understanding of this scenario, the thesis further explores ideas concerning ambiguity of material definition and the role such ambiguity can play in relation to material comparison within the experience of a musical discourse. As such, the grammar here derived can be said to exposit a preoccupation with comparison of material debris of different classes and/or degrees of distortion within the listening experience. The thesis also explores the nature and function of material consistency with regard to definition, illustrating the difference between two terms with a notion of consistency achieved through inconsistency.

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