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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Determining Conditions: Towards an Aesthetic of Emergence in Live Electronic Music
by Corder, Nathan Anthony, M.F.A., Mills College, 2018, 48; 10822167
Abstract (Summary)

The concept of emergence, and/or emergent properties, is one that has gained resurgence within the realm of various branches of science and the humanities. Emergence is an idea that explains to/for us how dynamical systems, complexes of elements, bodies, and even concepts, begin to exhibit properties and behaviors that are at least seemingly greater than the sum of their parts- how irreducible, novel, complexities arise from constructs of fundamental entities. I argue that in some music of 20th and 21st century American experimentalists, we have music that is under-theorized and lacking in an appropriate contextualization in regards to emergent properties within music. I claim that a careful distinction between indeterminate forms and emergent properties is needed to further develop how we think about these works, and examine them in light of more recent philosophical and aesthetic developments. This paper does not aim to lay out a fully ontology or metaphysics of what emergence is in general, but rather works towards a working definition of a kind of emergence present within the music of various American experimental composers (John Bischoff, Tim Perkis, Chris Brown, David Tudor), and how to apply such a definition of emergence to an aesthetic framework of understanding live electronic music.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bischoff, John
Commitee: Bernstein, David
School: Mills College
Department: Music - Electronic Music and Recording Media
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music theory, Music, Aesthetics
Keywords: Aesthetics, Electronic music, Emergence, Materiality, Music theory, Systems theory
Publication Number: 10822167
ISBN: 978-0-438-00504-4
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