Late breaking information



MA Graduate Conference 2014

Friday 24 October, 14:00-17:00
Oudemanhuispoort, room F 0.02


14:00-14:30 Pieter van Vliet
14:30-15:00 Anneke van Woerden
15:00-15:15 Tom Wolfs
15:15-15:30 Break
15:30-16:00 Sybren Woudstra
16:00-16:30 Mira Withers
16:30-17:00 Erik Spronk


Pieter van Vliet
Everything is coming together: the interrelationship between repetitiveness, modern (recording) technology and music in 21st-century electronic dance music

This thesis focuses on the interrelation between repetitiveness, (recording) technology and the practice of music by closely looking at the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Ableton Live 9. Live, as it is often called, is the most common software to produce electronic dance music. Ableton’s repetitive nature is extraordinary suitable for producing electronic dance music and offers the possibilities of producers performing their produced music in a live situation: the software ‘blends’ two separate spheres – the sphere of the music-producer and the sphere of the DJ – and gives the opportunity for computers to vividly participate in the live performance of music.

During the presentation certain aspects of the thesis will be further examined. First of all we’ll discuss the concept of electronic dance music (further referred to as EDM), recording technology and repetitiveness: the main subjects of this thesis. We will discuss the historical position of Ableton Live within the history of audio recording and technological/compositional innovations during the 20th century. Secondly we’ll have a closer look upon Ableton Live’s position within electronic dance music and how it shapes the musical practice of live-performance in the 21st century. We will do this by closely examining live performances of producers Pantha du Prince and Nicolas Jaar.

The first case, Pantha Du Prince’s performance of Elements of Light, will give us more insight in how technology offers the producer the opportunity to participate in a live performance as a vivid, improvisational musician, bringing the possibilities of a studio to the stage. Most important is the relationship between the DAW and the ‘conventional’ instruments during the performance.

The second case, focusing on Nicolas Jaar’s stance towards electronic music’s aesthetics, will relate to the problem of authenticity within EDM. Jaar, probably unintentionally, shows how the ‘upcoming new practice’ (meaning: the blurring of DJ and producer and the possibilities of live performance of electronic dance music) gave rise to a demarcation between the ‘honest authentic’ and the ‘dishonest inauthentic’ music.

Anneke van Woerden
Degrees of sampling sound: 3 case studies of Brazilian music

My master thesis, titled “Sampling Sound: How (Some) Brazilian Music Travels”, focuses on the question how sampling contributes to the travelling of Brazilian sounds. Through the focus on the concept of “sound” and the practice of “sampling sound”, I aim to look at what happens specifically on a musical level when sounds travel from one musical context into another.

In this presentation I want to demonstrate different degrees of sampling sound, using three different musical case studies. First of all, I will shortly illustrate the practice of sampling employed within the genre of hip-hop, tracing the sample of “Saudade Vem Correndo” by Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfa into “Runnin’”, a song by hip-hop formation the Pharcyde. Subsequently, I will zoom in on the practice of “sampling sound” and illustrate different degrees of sampling sound through two additional case studies, comparing music of Herbie Hancock to João Donato and Ivan Lins.

In order to explain why and how the music from these case studies show striking audible similarities, I use the framework of “memetics of music” by Steven Jan (Jan 2000, 2007). Taking from him the idea about the importance of separate musical parameters such as pitch and rhythm, I argue that the more, and the more accurate all present parameters are replicated, the closer a musical reference comes to the practice of sampling a sound.  Additionally, not only the sound within the sample, but also the way the sample is placed in its musical context is important. Thus, to truly sample a sound, not only all parameters should be replicated, but their importance and sonic influence should extend beyond their replicated context, matching the overall sound.

Tom Wolfs
Seeing Is Believing: The effect of musicians’ body movements on the valuation of a musical performance 

(Graduation ceremony, but without a presentation of the research.)

Sybren Woudstra
On Three

An important aspect of popular music is metre. The bar, as the underlying metrical concept, can indicate several different measure types. The two that I opposed are the binary and the ternary measure type. I did this to investigate the difference in musical meaning between quadruple and triple metre, because triple metre is, for some reason, much more scarce than quadruple metre. How do three and four relate to each other? And what can be expressed by deliberately choosing one or the other as the basis of musical rhythmical structure? Through interviews with several composers I tried to formulate answers to these questions.

Mira Withers
Possibilian theory of music: a rhizomatic approach to music as consciousness

“Music is perhaps the art presenting most philosophical puzzles”[1], “Is not music as much involved with what is not music as speech is with what is not speech?”[2], “We […] need to exercise ourselves in understanding music rather than robotically theorising it.”[3] We know a lot about music. But what harnesses our imagination is what we don’t know. Exploring the space of an unknown territory is where our questions and problem-posing take shape, actualizing their potential to become new hypotheses, new theories.

Possibilian theory of music is an assemblage of philosophical concepts, scientific ideas and music(ologic)al intuitions employed by a ‘what if’: it constructs a hypothesis of music as consciousness. The premise is to differentiate between ‘music’ created by and bound to our human umwelt, constrained by anatomy, perceptual capacity and culture, and ‘music’ that is a conscious thing on its own, with content, rules and evolution, hence the concept musika is introduced. The paper examines possible windows of understanding through which we could consider the (relative) independence of musika from the single mind, the distinction between musika and music and the basis of their relationship, the working mechanisms of an entity such as musika, its (free) will. In my talk I will focus on a couple of topics, namely Popper’s World3 object’s capacities and Deleuze’s topological map.

[1] Kania, Andrew, "The Philosophy of Music", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 
[2] Seeger, Charles (1977). Toward a Unitary Field Theory for Musicology. In Studies in Musicology 1935-1975 (pp. 102-137). University of California Press. 
[3] Abels, Birgit (2014, January 24) Cultural Musicology? Paper presented at the Conference on Cultural Musicology at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Erik Spronk
Migrerende muziek (presentation in Dutch)

Muziek beweegt. Niet alleen beroert het mensen wanneer die naar muziek luisteren, maar muziek verplaatst zich ook in tijd en ruimte, zowel in actieve als in passieve zin: mensen nemen muziek mee op hun reizen over de wereld en via virtuele en imaginaire werelden kan muziek ook steeds sneller nieuw publiek bereiken. In de etnomusicologie is dit dynamische en ruimtelijke aspect tot op heden onderbelicht gebleven; de norm was om muziek “in de culturele context” te bestuderen en te analyseren. Diverse voorbeelden van kruisbestuivingen in de muziek tonen inmiddels aan dat deze visie op niet-westerse muziek niet altijd opgaat. Daarom moet de vraag worden gesteld hoe (niet-westerse) muziek dan wel kan worden bestudeerd, op een manier waarbij het bewegende aspect van muziek wordt meegenomen en dit tevens praktisch uitvoerbaar is. Om dit te kunnen bereiken zullen er ideeën die gerelateerd zijn aan het bewegen van culturen en muziek en afkomstig zijn van andere vakgebieden binnen de geesteswetenschappen worden geïntroduceerd en toegepast op de muziekwetenschap, waarbij er ook oog is voor de ontwikkelingen in de musicologie zelf. Deze theorie zal worden geïllustreerd aan de hand van enkele voorbeelden van hybride en dynamische muziekvormen die zich over de wereld bevinden, waarvoor een literatuurstudie zal worden uitgevoerd. Op deze wijze zal worden getracht een bijdrage te leveren aan de ontwikkeling van de culturele muziekwetenschap als vakgebied binnen de musicologie.