Exploratory Experimental Practices In Music

A scientific and artistic inquiry into the nature and potential of exploratory experimentation in composition and performance

Kathleen Coessens (Principal Investigator)


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.

An understanding of the tacit knowledge embedded in these processes needs to be done from within the practice itself and its artistic material. Taking this perspective as a guiding principle, the methodological framework involves systematic research by a study of literature and music (scores/recordings) to clarify the origins and characteristics of EE and practice-led experimental research by the creation of both music compositions and performances to investigate its potential for artistic output exploratory experimentation (EE) implies an active observational and sensorial exploration of the outer world, dependent upon the intricate subject ‐ object relation.

Its roots can be traced back to the eigthteenth century Goethian sensorial and interactive approach of knowledge discovery which departed from Newton's more analytic and cognitive approach. While science has prioritized theory-driven, hypothesis-led, explanatory experiments over more open-ended, dynamic experience-driven experiments, EE remained part of experimental scientific practices, and, as we will investigate, a main method in artistic creation.

Related researcher(s)