The time for my dissertation has been set to round about this time next year; February 2008. I will hold a “three quarter seminar”, a sandbox dissertation in October 2007. By then most of my stuff should be ready; the basic disposition of my thesis should be set even if not everything is not proof read and final.

I had a great session with one of my advisors, Miller Puckette, in January. Below I will try to summarize some of the ideas that came up in our discussions. Miller is my advisor for the programming and computer music part of my dissertation. One of the things I am working on is self supervised timbre mapping software and this is also what we priarily talked about.

  • Think about ways to test the software and report the results without having to go too deep into statistical reasoning.
  • The mapping.
    • Very simple 1-to-1 mappings between vocal sounds and synthesized (vocal) sounds. Gradually distort the mapping.
    • Take a piece of poetry with a strong use of vowels or just some sound poetry (a version of Schwitters Ursonate with electronics?).
    • Work more on the relation between instantaneous mappings and the mappings as a result of past events.
  • Accuracy vs. Timing.
    Statement: More interested in 'Fast' response than 'Correct' response. This will obvioulsy influence not only the design and implementation but also the assessment of the results. Need to think more about the implications of this.
  • Make a distinction between what I want to do and what can be done within the frame of a 4 year dissertation. This is a sensitive subject, but it may be a good distinction to make in order not to get trapped in implementation details that risk at destroying a theoretical line of thought.

Finally we talked about the relation between the artistic work and the writing. I was given the perhaps somewhat surprising advise to not focus so much on the connection between the elements of my PhD project. IOW, it is not critical that all artistic work reflects or implements the theories presented in the text or that the software produced is used in all artistic work. I think this may be the most important advise I’ve been given. The three traces of my work; (1) The technolgical, (2) the theoretical, and (3) the artistic are simply three in their own ways, compatible modes of expression. And they will be regardless of my efforts to tie them together. The point is, they are different, and they should be. I should not be afraid of multiplicity.

The fact is that this multiplicity, or multitude of expression, is very consistent with some of the main threads of my project. My project is not one thing that is consistently tied together. I have a thesis (the research question) that I try in a number of different ways, and I should focus on letting the different experiences made during the course inform each other, not become each other.

I had a plan to go back and re-work some of my pieces that will be a part of the dissertation and try them with the technology developed within the project. Even if we disregard the slightly annoying smell of “re-writing history to fit the theory”, this is not very interesting in itself. It has potential to become interesting in the collaborative project Negotiating the Musical Work, and composition Repetition Repeats all other Repetitions because that project is about changing (negotiating) the form and, to a certain degree, the content to measure the ontological difference.

To conclude, it is fascinating (and scary), to observe how a (not very good) thought can cling on and develop and become a creative obstacle like the idea of integration in my dissertation. It is however also rewarding to notice how little it actually took to make me give it up.

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