Exploratory Experimental Practices In Music

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

Kathleen Coessens, Stefan Östersjö, Valentin Gloor, Juan Parra Cancino, Jan Schacher, Bart Vanhecke, Anne Douglas


2014 - 2017

Clusterproject 2014-2017

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Coessens

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 exploratory experimentation (EE) and practice-led experimental research by the creation of both music compositions and performances to investigate its potential for artistic output exploratory experimentation 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 eighteenth 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.