The Intersection of Improvisation and Composition:
A Music Practice in Flux
This exegesis traces the development and recording of a series of works for solo trumpet/laptop electronics, and medium sized ensemble integrating improvisation and live electronic processing. Through a reflective and intersubjective account of the creative process it develops a cultural context for this activity based on my experience as a trumpeter/composer living and working in Australia while also
taking account of broad movements in contemporary music particularly in improvised forms. In addition, it 'zooms in' on my personal biography focussing on my development as a musician through experiences in brass bands and school orchestras to my discovery of jazz and the emergence of my desire to move beyond the idiom. This sheds light on specific aspects of Australian music culture and practice and offers a rich backdrop for listening to the music created during the course of this research.
Following a practice-based research model, this exegesis documents a series of workshop sessions in mainly solo and duo formats with a focus on improvisation and experimentation. From these sessions the raw materials for the composition phases of my projects are drawn and through this development process, along with the reflection detailed herein, I investigate how composition and improvisation intersect in my practice as composer and improvising trumpeter.
I also describe and reflect upon the use of electronic processing, sampling, and layering in my improvisational and compositional language as I outline the broadening of my practice through the integration of this media. The study and practice of extended techniques for the trumpet and the incorporation of these techniques in solo and group settings are also a significant component of the work documented here. This will be of specific interest to trumpeters, laptop artists and other musicians working in contemporary music, as my areas of enquiry are relevant to current practice particularly in relation to improvised music and music integrating live electronic processing. In addition, this work will offer broad insights into contemporary music practice for the non-specialised reader/listener.