Improvised Process Music

One of the main strands in my compositional output in the last few years, this is a type of structured improvisation that uses simple permutational processes applied to 3- or 4-note phrases, most often with some form of 2-dimensional lattice used to provide pitches. The performer often has choice of the overall direction of the music, speed, timbre and dynamic; and the processes suggest a consistent ‘thought-process’ in the progress of the music.

Here is my first piece in this vein, Out here on Cottage Grove it matters.

(performed at Hilltown Festival, July 2010, by the Hilltown Ensemble. The title is from the poem ‘Pyrography’ by John Ashbery)

More recently, I’ve been interested in combining this approach with theatre. To this end, I founded an improvised music theatre group, TheOpenRehearsals, to experiment and develop our own practice. The group’s website is at http://www.theopenrehearsals.blogspot.com/. Here’s a video excerpt from a performance in The Back Loft. The performers are myself, Elizabeth Hilliard, Aidan McWatt, Enda Collins, Sandra Gonzalez Bandera, Andrea Scott and Paul Nolan. Video by Ciara McMahon.

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