Chapter published in Experience : Music : Experiment - Pragmatism and Artistic Research, ed. William Brooks (Leuven: Leuven University Press, Orpheus Institute Series), 2021

DOI: 10.11116/9789461663924


Live music-making operates in places and forms often distinguished by physical and social structures: in halls with acoustics and tiered seating for focused acts of listening, at particular starting times, and so on. Such presentational circumstances play key roles in the apprehension of musical performance. As a composer and artist-researcher, I seek to augment them by exploring and developing the conventions of musical activity. In establishing a theoretical ground for this work, the philosophy of John Dewey has been a guiding influence. My field of enquiry also includes game studies. I am interested in the possibility that some creative commingling of art and life could be shaped by our innate capacity for “play,” which could also be of benefit for personal growth. In this chapter, I address this theoretical context in relation to a recent work of mine, Structural Cohesion (2019), which was first performed at Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium, in association with the Orpheus Institute, Ghent. I begin by addressing questions concerning the nature of the work as a musical performance. I discuss it in relation to physical, architectural space, with particular reference to “circulation” in architectural theory: that is, the way people move through and interact with a building. I also consider the way in which various acts of the performance inscribe musical form. Finally, I conclude my chapter with comments on the apprehension of “rules” in the game-like elements of the work and the role of the audience.