When working with compositional processes, we have a lot of assumptions, – whether we make it clear or not.

Since we have these assumptions in any case, we can as well make them explicit.

How we look at the work with compositional processes differs from person to person, and therefore it makes no sense to search for a unifying theory, a synthesis or an all-encompassing explanation.

When I draw the following assumptions as the basis for a conceptual framework, I base it on the reflections over my own practice. This should not be seen as an expression of an underlying truth, – it is a construction, and as such it can and must be discussed and changed depending on how practice develops.
  1. Compositional processes are part of everyday life. Bringing elements of daily life into play in new ways that can bring about change in the collective is a fundamental human competence
  2. Compositional processes are necessarily embedded in collectives, and unfold with the collective as a framework.
  3. They may unfold with sound as a medium, but also using other media
  4. The choice of media for the processes is related to the type of change that is needed in the collective
  5. Collectives may be more or less culturally sustainable, ie. more or less competent to independently perform transformational processes
  6. Culturally sustainable change happens through successful compositional processes
  7. The relationship between daily life and compositional processes is direct, mimetic and cross modal
  8. Compositional processes draw on forms derived from everyday life. These forms are transferred to other modalities or extended / modulated in the modality it was originally expressed in.
  9. The correlation between daily life processes and compositional processes is symmetric in the sense that daily life relate mimetically to the compositional processes, and successful compositional processes allow a reversal that creates culturally sustainable change.
Compositional processes are cyclical. They base themselves on daily life forms and rhythms and the specific way these unfold in time and space, extracting characteristics of them. These features are processed, prolonged, extended and pulled together and the forms and rhythms are combined in different ways, establishing ‘something else’. And from this something else the rhythms and forms are transferred back to daily life, in a manner similar to the first, challenging, supplementing and transforming the usual forms and rhythms of daily life.In the cyclic movement departing from daily life across ‘something else’ and back again, it makes sense to speak of three stations or poles:

  • Lived time
  • Script
  • Assemblage
The starting point for the compositional processes is daily life, – lived time. The rhythms, movements, impulses, narratives, etc. of the collective, and how these interact internally and with other communities are the very foundation of our compositional processes.

When we act together in a community, we are guided by different sets of more or less explicit rules or scripts. They can influence back on our daily lives in good and bad ways, but we can be aware of them and use them in compositional processes. Let’s call this process scripting. Good scripting is when one is aware of everyday life rhythms, analyse them well, and draw different ‘composable’ patterns out.

To compose is to put these patterns together in certain ways. A good composition process is when you bring (good) scripts into play, in a way so the process can feed back and create healthy change for the collective.

In the process between assemblage and lived time there will be a reversal, a transferthat can be clarified and strengthened through reflection. The items that are made in the composing towards the assemblage-pole, are being composted, as we move along to the lived time pole: they are broken down into smaller components in a way so that they can be part of a new compositional cycle.

The three poles are to be understood as snapshots. The relation between them is gradient, and they interact with each other in both directions. In this presentation, we assume that these processes are flowing freely in cultural sustainable communities.

There is sometimes a need for the facilitation of the processes. Good facilitation is when the facilitator 1) is able to read the collective’s own natural compositional cycle, 2) take responsibility for identifying controversies / arrhythmia, and 3) provide participants with tools to (re)create a culturally sustainable situation.

Related reading: Unmusic (akutsk.wordpress.com)

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