Hughes, Edward Dudley
Portfolio of compositions.
University of Southampton, School of Humanities,
My music is generally composed against a background structure of defined time. At the same
time as holding what might be described as this purely formal concern, I am also increasingly
drawn to narrativity, i.e. ways of thinking about music which may be susceptible to ideas
from film and literature. My research has therefore centred on this question: how can
seemingly formal musical processes relate to and illuminate issues of narrativity? In the
course of this research I have considered the importance of cyclic models of composition,
both to myself and to previous composers, and how such models might relate to theories of
myth, plot structure and the recurrence of formal archetypes in the output of a single artist.
As examples in my own work, I cite first in my portfolio a single movement work which is
the final work in a cycle of six related compositions for piano solo, and then a song cycle
based on multiple voicings of the experience of a classical, semi-mythical figure. To
conclude I show how concerns with formal rhythm and narrativity have led naturally into
work with archive silent film, resulting in two very different scores for the abstract short film
Rain (1929), and a longer narrative film, I Was Born, But... (1932). In the course of the
commentary, I relate compositional methodology to notions of musical rhythm and visual
rhythm, and the structuring of images and sound in time.
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