Portelli, Daniel (2016) Mapping the dynamic life of lines in a multimodal compositional practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This thesis tracks my journey through eight creative works which employ a broad range of
methodologies to map the dynamic life of lines and that focus on concepts of ephemerality,
gestural tracing, grains and swarms of sound, and temporal independence. My original
contribution to knowledge in composition is led by my personal relationship to sound as
mediated through physical gesture in performance. Drawing upon the work of anthropologist
Tim Ingold, I have worked with video as a medium for my own sketch processes and as a
scoring platform. Video is used to capture and document qualities of motion that bring
choreographic and multimodal thinking into my music, propagating divergent approaches to
structuring and determining parameters. Through this I have developed ways of thinking
compositionally through the visual medium and worked with micro and macro qualities in
timbre and movement to achieve effects that I term 'dynamic stasis'. Central to my thinking is
an expanded concept of the line as gestalts of sound, video, bodily and mechanical
movement, with form arising from a meshwork of such lines. The line as represented in video
and musical action contributes to the tendencies and behaviours of precisely notated sound
and physical movements in my music, that are reflected in irregular divisions of time and
frequent fluctuations of sound characteristics. My discussion of the visual and choreographic
perspectives of my notation and multimodal ways of thinking about composition is
contextualised with examples from composers such as Jennifer Walshe, Simon Steen-
Andersen and Stefan Prins, and the video scoring systems of Cat Hope.

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