This post is in the Self Observation category

Collaborations of particular interest to me occur in the studios, rehearsal rooms and across the individual workspaces of cross-disciplinary collaborators. They can be broadly divided into different forms related to proximity in both time and space. A synchronous collaboration in music may occur where the individuals are working simultaneously, and in either close physical proximity such as an instrumental ensemble or in a virtual space such as a network jam session. Communication in this environment tends to be non-verbal, gesture based, or contained within the music itself. An asynchronous collaboration is the opposite, i.e. the individual’s creative process occurs in degrees of spatial and/or temporal isolation, for example in studio overdub practice or interdisciplinary work such as composition for film or theatre. In these instances, discussion about the music occurs between bouts of actual music-making. Specific situations were targeted to record such interactions, analyse the tapes and discuss the observations with the other participants. Some of these were previously planned as part of my practice, and others were initiated specifically for the sake of the research.

These sessions took the following forms

Recording sessions with a variety of musicians during composition and production of music for a documentary

A series of recording sessions was undertaken during the composition and production phases of music for a documentary film. The music was quite varied, and sessions included a “tryout” vocal sessions with a young singer, and several sessions with musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds playing tabla, sitar, harmonium, guitar and voices. Cameras were set up in sessions and a hand-held camera also operated by the film maker captured elements of these sessions, generating around many hours of video. Informed consent was gained for recording, however consent was not granted by all participants for the use of the video in the final thesis.  This has necessitated some creative licence in presentation, including cartooning and other illustration forms in order to convey the essence of the interactions.

Recording sessions with students at my work with myself in role of producer

A recording session at my college was filmed in the course of normal activities there. In this instance a vocal session was undertaken with myself in the role of teacher / producer with student engineers and vocalists. Video was taken in the control room. 1

Preproduction sessions with a singer and guitarist

One project was initiated with the specific intention of gathering data. In this instance I was approached by a young singer to work on pre-production and demos of some songs. She was willing to participate in the research via the informed consent process. This aspect involved two sessions, one purely preproduction, working on the songs and ideas, and a second session with a guitarist, introducing him to the track he would play on.

Presentation of lectures and workshops

Also recorded were three lecture presentations. These presentations were all based around the research process and findings, and were presented to the RHD cohort at the Conservatorium, music teachers at a private high school in-service session, and student researchers at JMC Academy. The purpose of recording these presentations was to observe my own behaviour in more formalised settings, as a presenter and in question and answer discussion.

Recollected practice

In addition to these “situated practice” sessions, a number of interviews were recorded on video with persons with whom I have had significant work relationships during the research period. In particular I wanted to access the thoughts of individuals with whom I had shared experiences that it was not possible to film, such as theatre work. The discussions were quite wide ranging and allowed a form of co-reflection, where I could question the interviewee on my own observations. The texts were partially transcribed and the vision has generated some useful insights.

In all cases the sessions were filmed on digital video tape, in some cases with two cameras, then transferred to computer in FinalCut Pro for analysis and transcription. Sound was collected by the camera mics only, and in some cases this resulted in audio that is transcribable, but not suitable for publication. In some cases permission was sought to use sections of video within the document. This was an extension of the informed consent process, as the permission for exhibiting content was not sought at the time of recording. As a matter of protecting anonymity and also as an aesthetic choice, vision for use on the site has been treated to create a “cartoon” appearance for the subjects. This is discussed in more detail in the Presentation section of this document.

The material generated by these video sessions can be found throughout the Insights section of the site in forms video interview, analytical discussion and autoethnographic prose.

  1. In this instance the good stuff happened off camera – but you can’t have everything … []

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