Keith Hamel

Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

 
 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Forms for string quartet and computer (2018)

Forms is a musical composition for string quartet and computer. This is a musical mimesis of the dynamic integrity that arises from diversities coexisting and developing harmoniously. The music presents vertical time, the time that unfolds in music where the foreground fluidity and background stasis mutually define each other. Forms is written in mereological form that I formulated through observing various representations of nonlinear musical time and philosophical concepts. In mereological form, the sonority of musical structures is formed through a parts-to-whole synthetic process. I formalized the theory of the modal universe accordingly, which provides harmonic resources that individually manifest a high degree of intrastructural association and relative interstructural difference. The theory thereby allows composing the constituent parts of a musical fabric with qualities of self-containment and identity. The nonlinear harmonic means of association between the musical structures establishes a comprehensive network that unifies the standalone parts with individual identifies into the proportional form of the whole composition. I described the composition procedure by illustrating the large-scale associational structures and the techniques to form the local structures based on the theory and by providing sectional analysis of the pitch structure and the electronic events. The performance system of Forms consists of human and software agents; the HCI draws on the environmental interface that I designed, which invisibly enhances the performance space, treating the whole environment as the interface. The software agent is a situated behavioural AI: in the theme of embodied virtuality, the computation—all the different ways the computer processes the human input and generates new data—is brought into the physical world through the interface, hence the HCI as part of the phenomenal world. The software components integral to the interface are formgen and FGLive that I developed for the generative function. The mapping for the electronic events does not prescribe the formative trace of the structural process but only provides auditory affordances for the agents. Following the trajectory of an ongoing conversation, the embodied interaction between the agents turns the otherwise static structures into flux, inciting the audience’s participative sense-making, enactive listening.

View record

Ortus (2015)

This thesis entitled Ortus, for chamber ensemble, interactive electronics, and motion tracking, establishes a novel approach to spectral composition. It is scored for flute/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon, piano, percussion, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, and real-time electronics. A conceptual narrative transforms the abstract spectral data into a story telling device through the inherent meaning and semantic implications of the chosen sound files. Ortus relies on the recording and analysis of a heartbeat as its foundation; the heartbeat is used as the musical material for the three tutti movements, with extracted pitch material used to create formal and conceptual cohesion between all of the movements. Additionally, two conceptually different sound file families are integrated, which form the basis for the small ensemble movements and are used for the creation of all pitch, structural, and formal materials.

View record

Sparks of Union (2014)

This document delves into the precept of unity in diversity from a musical perspective, in order to replace the timeworn aesthetic norms with ones that may induce a music befitting the fabric of our contemporary global village. It deals with the contemporary musical zeitgeist from this perspective and examines the transformations in musical substance derived from the copious changes in dissemination since the information revolution. It also presents Sparks of Union, a 20-minute composition for ten Western instruments and interactive electronics. This composition aims to focus on different musical languages in search of polarizing and uniting elements, and explores free interactions between the different musical elements. As a result it strives to create new sonorities derived from a fully democratic multicultural interaction.

View record

Conversations with Silence (2010)

Conversations with Silence is a collage theatre work of approximately 50 minutes in length. It is scored for mezzo-soprano, flute/piccolo/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, cello, piano, percussion, and electroacoustics. The broad subject of the work is an exploration of female creativity and how gender plays a role in creating art. Although Conversations with Silence is an abstract examination of this topic, my inspiration began with four theoretical readings: Eva Rieger’s article "'I Recycle Sounds': Do Women Compose Differently?", Linda Catlin Smith’s essay “Composing Identity: What is a woman composer?”; Susan McClary’s book Feminine Endings; and Sally Macarthur’s book Feminist Aesthetics. In Conversations with Silence I emphasize many of the qualities of “feminist aesthetics” that were already present in my previous compositions in order to explore these musical ideas even further. The work consists of seventeen movements divided into five separate scenes. Each scene includes two to four movements and is centred around a different dramatic character. There is no linear narrative to connect the scenes and characters. In place of one story, Conversations with Silence offers an amalgamation of stories, characters, and ideas. Each scene has a different thematic focus, which relates to the central ideas of female creativity and feminist aesthetics.

View record

Exploring the waterfall (2010)

Exploring the Waterfall is a 13-minute composition for 12 strings in 2 continuous movements. It realizes important aspects of a harmonic theory that I have been developing over the past 15 years. This theory is an attempt to recreate and expand tonal resources through a rational method based on acoustics. It focuses on the ability of oneprimary principle, the regulation of frequencies through number series, to generate the entire harmonic content of a piece of music. In the first movement, this is mainlyaccomplished through series selection, whereby many different series are grouped together according to the similarities and differences in their numeric and intervallic structure. In contrast, the second movement uses only a few different series, but attains harmonic variety through the Intervallic Design concept, in which a single series is segmented and recombined to produce a multitude of different intervallic structures. This harmonic theory illustrates how a wide spectrum of harmonic color can be achieved and united under one system. Finally, from an aesthetic viewpoint, Exploring the Waterfall defies some of the double standards that one often encounters in the realms of jazz and classical music composition.

View record

Folie à deux : a musical composition for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone with electroacoustic music and live audio processing (2009)

Folie à deux is a musical composition for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone with electroacoustic music and live audio processing. It explores the idea of musical influence through the metaphor of shared delusion.This dissertation is made up of four main sections. The first will look at the background to thepiece, the historical and personal influences that led to its composition. The second section will discuss those aspects of the piece that are somewhat unique as well as an examination of how it does not correspond to standard practices. Next, a detailed examination of the steps taken to bring the piece to fruition will be explored. Finally, some concluding remarks will be made about the piece and the future creative directions that may be followed in its wake.

View record

Sans fin sans (endlessness): for guitar, seven wind instruments and double bass (2009)

sans fin sans (endlessness) is a fifteen-minute musical composition scored for solo guitar, seven wind instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone) and double bass. Although the work is in one continuous movement, it consists of seven distinct sections, each constructed from fragmented pieces of a precomposed originating structure. Influenced by the prose of Samuel Beckett, sans fin sans is an exploration of non-linear time and the Deleuzian notion of art as abstract machine.

View record

Elucide (2008)

This thesis presents the musical composition Elucide, scored for a chamber ensemble of ten players. The work builds upon concepts and compositional methods that are central to the spectral approach to composition, established by such composers as Gérard Grisey, Tristan Murail, and Hugues Dufourt. This musical genre is characterized by a focus on the acoustic properties of sound, a concern that is typically reflected both in rich and colourful musical textures, as well as in the conceptual foundations of compositional processes. It is often the case that spectral composers will refer to computer analyses of acoustic phenomena during the pre-compositional stages of a work’s development, using these data to generate the piece’s raw materials and to inform structural decisions. Although the spectral approach is rooted in the perceptual appreciation of sonic phenomena, the manner in which analysis data are obtained and applied can encourage a range of listening postures, potentially leading the listener towards both perceptually- and semantically-oriented hearings. Furthermore, this music displays varying symbolic facets stemming from the poetic idea of a musical composition unfolding from the internal structure of sonic materials. The interplay of these dynamics raises a number of issues that are inherent in the compositional application of spectral information; this thesis first examines the spectral endeavor from a philosophical perspective, and then goes on to demonstrate the ways in which Elucide develops from and comments upon these issues. In order to explicitly engage these dynamics in a musical composition, I developed a set of software tools using the graphical programming environment "OpenMusic". These tools provided raw musical materials that were employed at various levels during the compositional process. While the early stages of the work aim to draw aural connections between the overtone structures of source sounds and musical structures, individual spectral elements are progressively divorced from their acoustic origins and woven into musical semantic patterns over the course of the piece. In its elucidation of the relationships between perceptual phenomena and musical semantics, therefore, Elucide represents a broader exploration of the mechanisms by which the human mind finds meaning in sensory information.

View record

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Compositions (2017)

No abstract available.

Compositions (2016)

No abstract available.

Compositions (2015)

No abstract available.

Compositions (2012)

No abstract available.

 

Membership Status

Member of G+PS
View explanation of statuses

Program Affiliations

Department(s)

 

If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.