The intuitive creative process is one where we are not always aware of the boundaries that we set ourselves. As composers, we feel the musical flow, the sounds as they pour out of the speakers and fill our ears. It is not anything we can truly understand, this artistic flair that feels so natural. Often, it is when the flow is complete, and the work has stopped that we can step back and realise precisely what we have created. But how do we express this ineffable process through words? Especially when words bring restrictions of meaning that might not accurately reflect our intentions. However, by imposing these lexical restrictions, we are made to address our art in more clearly defined terms, thus noticing some of the artistic boundaries that we subconsciously set ourselves. Texts such as programme notes are a useful exercise for communication and an opportunity for us to further understand our inner workings, but how can we as composers do more? Within this exciting area is where my research proposes a framework to aid such explorations.
This framework highlights the composer’s conscious and subconscious treatment of four elements of composition and performance (space, objects, agency, and place (S.O.A.P)) within two environments (the digital environment and the performance environment). The S.O.A.P. framework allows the composer to highlight their subconscious approach to these elements, gaining ‘new’ information to help inform their future compositions. As such, S.O.A.P. is designed to analyse artistic practice as opposed to just a singular composition, and can be applied to a range of performance media. This makes S.O.A.P. a potentially useful tool for all sonic artists who can use it both for analysis and as stimulation for new works. It is my aim that by addressing the habits of our creative practice, we can begin to consciously work with or against them, thus enhancing and expanding our creative practice.
The S.O.A.P. framework was developed in tandem with the accompanying portfolio of compositions. As such, being critical of my own compositional practice helped me to develop S.O.A.P. and, in turn, S.O.A.P. encouraged me to challenge my normal tendencies – to find new approaches to composition and performance, ultimately resulting in a varied and interesting portfolio of works.