Integrating Score, Performance, and Medium in the work-concept: The HypeSax as a Case Study
This thesis presents a novel music-technology project, the HypeSax, which affords new roles to the saxophone and enhances its sound capacities. This document presents a discussion of the musical ideas and design criteria behind the development of this new instrument, addressing issues of embodiment that arise from the use of new technologies, and of what this new medium means in the discussion of the ontology of the musical work. This project is intended to research the medium through a case study, in which the medium becomes the central focus of my compositional decisions.
As part of this project, a body of new musical works, associated with the HypeSax, was created. These compositions and the creative process from which they originated are analysed in relation to the HypeSax, questioning if the musical work is limited to the composition or if other processes such as the development of the medium, which in this case is the HypeSax, can be considered part of its ontology.
The desire to understand and define the ontology of the musical work has led musicians, musicologists and philosophers to formulate multiple propositions that observe perspectives of creation and reception, as well as different ways in which these interact. This thesis proposes the integration of a new element in the conversation of the work-concept: the medium. The argument presented is that, in light of compositional practices in the twenty-first century, the creative work begins when musicians design instruments, software, audio setups, and other new technologies, actively transforming the medium through which their work works are created. Despite the fact that the medium has always been in close relation with the composition, performance and reception of the work, it has not been considered an element in the ontology of the work. Nevertheless, it becomes impossible to ignore the importance of the medium as new technologies facilitate its manipulation as a part of the creative process.
New works featuring the HypeSax are discussed, as well as how this novel medium provides the affordances and possibilities that allow the creation of said works. This case study serves to demonstrate the importance of the medium in the context of a new tripartite model of the work-concept where score, performance and medium are integrated, in a non-hierarchical structure, as one inseparable reality of music.