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Pre-compositional algorithms in compositions by Boulez, Cage and Xenakis in the 1950s.

Jouanny, Steven (2016) Pre-compositional algorithms in compositions by Boulez, Cage and Xenakis in the 1950s. MMus thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In the 1950s, the idea of pre-compositional automation, or subjecting as many parameters as the composer desires to controls or formal plans other than the will/personality of the composer, was a theme that crossed over supposed stylistic divides, such as indeterminism versus serialism, or serialism versus stochasticism. I shall examine three crucial works from the period, Music of Changes, Structures 1a and Achorripsis by John Cage, Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis respectively. The first section provides a context for discussion of these composers by the investigation of selected works by Schoenberg and Webern. The following three sections explore the works mentioned, aiming to show that these works upon scrutiny themselves typify a high-level of compositional automatism unprecedented for each composer up to that time My analyses draw upon other commentaries as well as observations of my own. Following this, I aim to uncover why pre-compositional automation was chosen as a valid strategy for composition, as well as exploring what common ground the composers occupied aesthetically and intellectually. My conclusion is that the relative degrees of control of the material were the chief division between Boulez, Cage and Xenakis. The last section ends by looking at developments in the use of pre-compositional algorithms taken by other composers after the 1950s.

Item Type: Thesis (MMus)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Steven Jouanny
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2018 10:37
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 10:37
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18882

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