In this article we outline the theoretical background for some of the empirical studies performed within the frame of our respective artistic PhD projects at the Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University. The purpose of the studies performed and hence, the requirements of the methods we use to perform them and study their outcome, is to explore the inter-relations between performer and composer. Specifically we study the musical work in the Western art music tradition, prior to its ultimate notation and prior to its performance. Though many of the ideas presented below may apply to other genres this article is mainly concerned with music for solo instrument and live electronics.
Trevor Wishart introduces the idea that the development of notation has, among many other things, resulted in a division of the musician into `composer' and `performer' [Wishart, 1985]. This split calls for an extended discussion of what composer and performer provide to the creative process. Our ambition is to approach this issue by studying the low-level processes leading up to a version of the musical work. We find that by using the concept of `agents' we bypass the otherwise problematic values traditionally assigned to the two labours. The musical work as an open concept, such as it is developed by Lydia Goehr in her book The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (1992), is also central to the reasoning in this paper as well as her claim, that the work concept has had a regulative function only at certain times in the history of Western art music. In contemporary music this regulative function can be found to be pertinent in one composer's work and extraneous in another's.