PhD Thesis, 2014
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.
 "Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 4.0 International - Cc by-Nc-Sa 4.0," http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
 . "SoundCloud." 2012 - 2014, from http://soundcloud.com
 Grant, N. "Momentum." 2012-2014, from http://momentumproject.blogspot.com.
 . "Facebook." 2012-2014, from http://facebook.com.
 . "Twitter." 2012-2014, from http://Twitter.com.
Download PDF here.
Momentum. Harmony. Audience Engagement and Participatory Arts Practice.
Conference Paper, Australasian Computer Music Conference - Melbourne, July 2014.
A short presentation focusing on audience involvement in my cumulative composition project - Momentum.
Download PDF here.
Music and Collaboration: Rapport, Leadership and the Role of the Individual in Collaborative Processes
Master of Music thesis, 2010
This research investigates the collaborative processes that occur when new creative work is born, with a particular focus on musical collaborations. This thesis is based upon the responses to interviews that were conducted with 25 artists currently engaged in professional collaborative arts practice. Each artist was asked to define collaboration, then to give details of past collaborative experiences. All of the artists’ answers and experiences varied, but there were three areas that were of particular interest to all of the participants. These were: the relevance (if any) of rapport within collaborative arts practice, the role of the individual in collaborations, and the place of leadership in collaborations. This thesis shows that many of the artists involved in this study valued some kind of personal rapport within a collaborative project. A number of the artists claimed that it was not possible to separate artistic and personal rapport, and that they only wished to work with artists with whom they had that kind of rapport. But in the absence of a close personal relationship many of the participants in this study valued mutual respect, openness and understanding of personal differences within collaborative processes. Each artist had different experiences of the roles of the individual and of leadership within collaborative projects.
This study found that the answers to these questions varied mostly depending on the individual artist’s role in a particular project, their understanding of that role and their relationship to others in the collaboration. All the artists agreed that it is of utmost importance to be clear of one’s role in collaboration in order to function successfully and creatively with other artists. Many of the artists involved in this study also agreed that if a collaborative project is to be led then it should be done so in a non-dictatorial fashion, and that if this is not possible then the project should not be labeled ‘collaborative’. With this in mind some of the participants in this study amended their definition of collaboration throughout the interview process, as close examination of their experiences sometimes didn’t match up with their initial thoughts on the subject. The overall results of this thesis are many and varied, and give a detailed insight into current thinking on collaborative processes within music.
Link to this abstract via Melbourne University
Full PDF version available here.
Text, Movement and Music: an Annotated Catalogue of (selected) Percussion Works 1950 - 2006
Music Honours Thesis, 2006
This dissertation takes the form of an annotated catalogue of percussion works incorporating text and/or movement. The topic grew out of my own personal experience in performance of percussion repertoire with prescribed motion, spoken word, dance and/or singing. As a student and performer with a particular interest in such works I found it difficult to access comprehensive sources of information regarding this literature. The purpose of my Honours Thesis is therefore to provide better access to information on this kind of repertoire for both percussion students and professionals.
This dissertation focuses primarily on works for solo percussionist and small ensemble.