Dynamic music: the implications of interactive technologies on popular music making

Research output: ThesisNon-UWA Thesis


The thesis investigates the role of interactive technologies on popular music making. Popular music has always adapted to new technologies, however interactive technologies challenge the accepted forms of popular music making. The thesis introduces two interconnected problems for musicians wanting to embrace changes in technology and communication: the relationship between static (fixed) song forms in popular music and dynamic (fluid and adaptable) forms; and, the need for a set of criteria that can encompass the relationship between static and dynamic song forms. The research asks how can interactive technologies be used to develop new forms of popular music? A review of important musical works utilising interactive technologies and relevant literature is examined. With a foundation in game audio, computer music and interactive art approaches, the review identifies the emergence of a new field, Dynamic Music. Dynamic Music is music that can change and adapt to data. In order to create an experience beyond a static form, the music needs to provide many different playback options. Composing and producing Dynamic Music forms uses very different approaches compared to static music making. It consists of four components; a control system, music and sound content, musical architecture, and experience. Informed by practice-based research and research-led practice, the methodology develops a grounded theory approach in which an aesthetic of Dynamic Music is introduced. The methodology is underpinned by criteria based on the concepts of 'variability' and 'transmutability'. These criteria are directly related to the compositional model presented for Dynamic Music and provide a foundation for evaluating approaches in Dynamic Music making. The criteria provide a clear distinction between Dynamic Music and static music forms. A portfolio of creative works is provided as evidence of the methodological framework for Dynamic Music composition. The thesis concludes with an argument for the 'Dynamic Music Producer'. This is a new emerging role able to produce new disruptive music forms; develop systems for their playback and performance; and realise immersive music products and performances into the future.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Newcastle
  • Vella, Richard, Supervisor
  • Drummond, Jon, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date30 Apr 2020
Place of Publicationhttp://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/1413444
Publication statusUnpublished - 30 Apr 2020


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