MusicExperimentX: Transdisciplinary Encounters in and Beyond Music is a research project in the field of creative music performance. In it, performance is regarded as an independent form of art: independent from works of music, from concepts and practices of musical interpretation, and from authoritative texts, instruments, and traditions. The project aims at reconfiguring musical practices, most prominently at merging the roles of composer, instrumentalist, and performer into one figure: the operator, a multitasking inventive person, intertwining, fabricating and “machining” unexpected connections between heterogeneous musical, artistic, and conceptual materials. The project challenges dominant modes of thinking about music, while offering concrete tools, methodologies and strategies for the making of imaginative music performances.
The research cluster Music, Thought and Technology posits a fundamental relationship between these three aspects of human behaviour. Taking its cue from recent research in technology theory, in new media and digital culture, MTT proposes a radical reorientation of the space and terms in which we think about music, exploring these ideas through creative projects.
This research cluster explores the ramifications of rhetoric for the historically informed performance of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century music, both solo and in small ensemble, with a focus on the keyboard in its various technological guises.
The HIPEX project traces, reconstructs, and documents historical practices in the performance of experimental post-WWII compositions, deepening our understanding of the role of the performer in the establishing of new repertoire and new performance aesthetics.
This project follows up on Luk Vaes’ doctoral work with regards to extended piano techniques. In contemporary music, clusters (dense aggregates of adjacent pitches) have become a common part of the musical language. Yet, our understanding of how clusters are perceived does not match its popularity in compositional practice. The few existing cluster theories are contradictory to each other as well as to the cluster’s history in scores; empirical data on the cluster's aural perception are almost non-existing.
MusicExperiment21 (ME21) is a five-year artistic research programme (2013-2018) funded by the European Research Council and based at the Orpheus Institute Ghent.
Fascinated by the riddle of music creation, both in performance and composition, the investigators of this project aspire to unravel exploratory oriented experimentation (EE) in artistic practice. The project’s hypothesis postulates that this method, starting from sensorial observation and dynamic interactive exploration, offers a valuable aesthetic and epistemic tool for music creation.
Throughout the 20th Century, the guitar has proven itself to be an instrument of many possibilities due to the increased interest shown by avant-garde composers. Several of these composers and/or compositions are either rarely performed, or performed with considerable difficulty due to problems of various nature. The key objective of this project is the documentation and reconstruction of the historical performance practice of such pieces. This result will be achieved through gathering information from historical performers and their collaboration with specifically relevant composers. Case studies to support the research will include music by Berio, Kagel, Lachenmann and Radulescu.
When it comes to Ludwig van Beethoven and his pianos, the question of “what was” is often obscured by “what could have been.” Statements by the revered composer such as “The piano must break!” or “I hope the time will come when the harp and the piano will become two totally different instruments” are two examples among many that have helped create a story in which extreme ambition (easily mistaken for “vision”) and dissatisfaction with available technologies are seen as colliding with one another.