Experimentation in music in Portuguese culture: History, contexts and practices in the 20th and 21st centuries
Alfonso Benetti Junior (co-PI)
November 26th, 2018 to November 25th, 2021
INESC-TEC - Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (instituição participante)
Faculdade de Ciências Sociais Humanas - Universidade Nova de Lisboa (instituição participante)
Helena Marinho | Alfonso Benetti Junior | Alexsander Jorge Duarte | Dario Ranocchiari | Jorge Salgado Correia | Francisco Monteiro | Rui Luís Nogueira Penha | Luís Alberto Bittencourt | Joana de Sá Catarino Tavares | Belquior Marques | Filipe Lopes | Paulo Maria Rodrigues | Sara Carvalho | Álvaro Barbosa de Sousa | José Manuel Rodrigues Nunes | Pedro Roxo | Maria do Rosário Pestana
Experimentation in music, both its concept and its practices, is frequently associated with musical and multidisciplinary creations from the mid-20th century by artists such as John Cage or Pierre Schaeffer. Recent projects and publications on the subject suggest a distinction between that historical context and its recent affordances, labelled as post-experimental. Operational definitions have been proposed, namely by Gilmore (2014), who associates the concept and its practices to intentional and methodological approaches diverging from mainstream paradigms, departing from concepts such as experimental systems (Rheinberger 1998; Schwab 2013) or epistemic complexity (Assis 2015). In the Portuguese cultural context, experimentation in music is an area scarcely studied, as most studies address specific composers or restricted contexts, but do not engage with the area as a potential continuum of practices. This project will thus focus on experimentation in music in the Portuguese context from the second half of the 20th century to the 21st century, in order to contribute to an integrated research outlook of its history, contexts and practices. This project will address three main paths of investigation, through the application of methods such as archival work, observational and participative fieldwork, and implementation of creative labs:
1. The historical path will study the context and contribution of composers/performers and groups who adopted a deliberate approach to experimentation, such as Jorge Peixinho and the Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa, and Constança Capdeville and the Colecviva ensemble. This path intends to explore their activity in an integrated manner, documenting their practices, discussing their contexts, and examining their connections with performance-art production.
2. The ethnographic path will focus on experimental musical scenes, events and associations. This path will address the current context of experimentation in music, mapping practices and extant networks (live and virtual), and their ideological backgrounds. Music making associated with specific settings, both in urban contexts and in alternative communities, as well as the input of technology as a tool of creation (electronic and mixed music) and as a manner of dissemination and communication will also be examined.
3. The creation path will intersect the dimensions of performance and composition in order to understand current theoretical backgrounds and patterns of creation and practice involved in musical experimentation. Issues addressed include: a) exploration of musical resources (instruments, artefacts and digital applications, techniques); b) studying patterns of creation through the application of experimental methodologies associated with artistic research, in the context of creative lab activities, as well as community projects; c) communicating experimentation: presenting the artistic outputs and associated research outcomes.
Contemporary music; Portuguese music; Experimentation; Musical creation and performance.