Momentum: Experiential Development in Music Composition
thesisposted on 08.10.2019, 05:35 by Nat Grant
Momentum is an experiential, cumulative music composition and blogging project, conducted throughout 2012. For 366 consecutive days I collected and recorded sonic material that comprised musical and non-musical field recordings, intentional and incidental found sounds, snippets of musical works, and improvisations. I then sculpted and layered the recordings utilising a digital audio workstation and an arsenal of audio editing tools. The outcome is a four hour-long sound-art work. I invited contributions to the project, and as a result more than 60 people from all over the world collaborated on Momentum, providing recordings to be included in the project.
Momentum was conceived as an exercise in experimental and experiential composition. The project was created sequentially and chronologically, with new musical material being introduced and intermingling always with the existing material at the end of the work. I lived Momentum as I created it; it became a part of my everyday life and the project and my lived experiences influenced one another.
The goal in conducting Momentum was to explore cumulative compositional processes via a method of self-imposed disciplined practice. This involved building, over one year, hundreds of micro compositions that were then disassembled and recomposed into one musical work in 12 movements, one for each month of the year. Each completed movement is 15-30 minutes in length. Via a blog and other online platforms my audience were able to engage with both the day-to-day processes and practices involved in the smaller pieces as well as the larger monthly movements as they were completed.
Momentum investigates the results of a disciplined and habitual approach to art making; a non traditional and community oriented compositional method which is self-derivative, chronological and directly cumulative. Momentum was created within strict guidelines, via a process whereby each day’s work was partly derived from and informed by the previous day’s work, but where the majority of the creative material was unknown in advance. Momentum examines the role of audience in the creation of a body of work, through transparency of process and by opening this process up to feedback and collaboration. This exegesis is reflective of the process that I used to develop Momentum; the art and research framework grew and developed simultaneously.
Momentum has since gone on to encompass a 30 minute album, created cumulatively over one month in Istanbul, a 4 day and night live performance event in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and an ongoing, online community sound art collective. The work-in-progress was (and remains) accessible via several online sources, and the audio is free to listen to, download and re-purpose within the confines of a Creative Commons License. I continue to invite feedback, comments, audience participation and derivative works via the music site SoundCloud , my blog , email, Facebook , Twitter and other social networking media.