Paper and Piece at International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition

I recently gave a talk and presented a piece at IFIMPaC, Leeds. My paper abstract is pasted below.

Corrective and Expressive Diffusion: interpreting acousmatic works in performance

In recent years, the art of sound diffusion has received a great deal of critical and theoretical attention. Some of this attention has helped to rationalise the role and function of sound diffusion (Harrison, 1999a; 1999b; 2010; 2011, MacDonald 1995; Smalley 1991), in other cases it has clarified the technical affordances and constraints of different diffusion systems (Emmerson 2007; Clozier 1998; Mooney 2005; Savouret 1998), and in certain recent cases, contributors have attempted to describe diffusion as a meaningful form of performance practice (Dack 2001; Stansbie 2013). During the same period of time, relatively little has been said about the nature of performance interpretation within such a practice. This is, at least in part, because interpretation is all too easily viewed as a purely subjective matter, resistant to prescriptive recommendations. This paper rejects such a view. It starts by outlining various reasons why the acousmatic, electroacoustic community must articulate the complex nature of performance interpretation, before considering some of the numerous barriers that must be overcome if they are to succeed. It goes on to offer a starting point, focusing upon the complex relations that hold between acousmatic works and their performances. In doing so, a fundamental distinction between corrective and expressive acts of diffusion is identified and discussed and, although this suggests a simple bifurcation of the interpretative act, this facilitates a discussion of the manifold decisions that interpreters must balance and navigate. The paper concludes with a series of case studies, in which interpretative acts are discussed relative to specific works.

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