Document Type



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Performing arts studies, Musicology

Publication Details

arts research: publics and purposes

conference 15-19 february 2010, dublin

Defining an evolving aesthetic & innovation mechanism for Traditional & Improvised Music in Europe is of increasing importance to performers and researchers active in the traditional and improvised music field across Europe today. These research undertakings are underpinned by the understanding that traditional & improvising musicians today operate from a perspective based on a multiplicity of reference points demonstrating complex cosmopolitan histories of cross over and cultural cross-fertilisation which, as yet, have not been fully appreciated and understood. Our challenge is to confront the ‘nation state’ paradigm and to offer an aesthetic based on the experiences of musicians today demonstrating the ‘fluidity’ in how our traditions and cultures are in ‘real terms’ experienced and understood.

music: speakers include

  • Kristina Ilmonen (Sibelius Academy FI)
  • Anna-Kaisa Liedes (Sibelius Academy FI)
  • Timo Väänänen (Sibelius Academy FI)
  • Dr Joshua Dickson & Lori Watson (RSAMD, UK)
  • Dr Frank Lyons (Ulster, UK)
  • Alistair Anderson (University of Newcastle, UK)
  • Kruno Levaich (University of Zagreb, C)
  • Dr Helen Phelan (Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, IE)
  • Jan Lothe Eriksen, (The Norwegian Hub for Traditional Music and Dance N)
  • Ole Reitov (Freemuse, D)
  • Seán Mac Erlaine (GradCAM, DIT, IE)


This research questions how the expressive range of the saxophone / bass clarinet can be extended in new ways by employing both a systematic use of microtonality and electronic manipulation of the instrument.

The use of digital signal processing (DSP) is well advanced among certain music practitioners, most notably electric guitarists, extending that instrument’s expressive powers considerably. Woodwind instrumentalists have a huge unexplored potential to engage with new technologies, furthering the range, polyphonic voicings, loops, reverbs and general signal manipulation.

The marraige of these two disciplines with conventional woodwind practice greatly deepens the expressive range of the instrument while offering many new performance and compositional opportunities.

Similarily a practice-based investigation into the use of DSP technology with respect to woodwinds will form part of the research process. This research will explore the application of guitar effects processors, MIDI controllers, MAX/ MSP algorithms, electronic wind instruments, multi-touch controllers and the emerging technologies using Open Sound Control. The research will present the findings with relevance to practising instrumentalists.