Date of Award

1-1-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Faculty

Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Advisor

Lindsay Vickery

Second Advisor

Maggi Phillips

Abstract

For this thesis, a detailed study was undertaken to determine whether techniques derived from traditional meditation systems can be applied to "co-participatory" music systems in order to enhance their accessibility, interactivity, and experiential impact, In order to adequately address this subject, a number of investigative steps have been taken. First, a workable list of definitions for what meditation actually is was made by comparing the practices and philosophies of a number of traditional meditation forms. The conclusions derived from this stage of the discussion served to create a definitive "blueprint" for meditation and served as a theoretical foundation for the rest of the dissertation. The second stage was to see how these definitions manifest in the meditation form; of the modem world. This approach provided insight into how changed cultural perspectives exert a major influence on the effectiveness andlor appropriateness of certain traditional techniques. In addition to modern meditation practices, the definitions from chapter two were also examined from the perspective of modem science, another important aspect of modern culture. The observations from this chapter served as the basis for chapter four, in which the experiential, symbolic and conventional features of Western Art Music were examined. This was to provide some points of reference with which to consider the possibility of using meditation techniques to enhance the "musical experience". In chapter five, an examination was made of a number of composers and artists and their relevant works who have devised methods by which some of the more "restrictive" aspects of West em Art Music can be overcome or bypassed, so as to gain access to the full potential of that "musical experience". This stage of the discussion provided a practical framework with which to discuss the background, design and realization of my own wod. ~ connected to this research, collectively called the Wheel of Life project. One of the main aims of this creative project has been to subvert many of the "anachronistic" conventions of Western Art Music, particularly conventions such as performer/audience separation and overly rigid or ambiguous musical structures. By doing this, it is hoped th3t musical systems can be created that allow the participant to engage in a much more personally meaningful and actively creative experience.

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