Researching Music for Dance

As part of his Honorary Associate work, Malcolm Atkins has been researching the practice of writing music for dance. Malcolm has been asked to participate in a project that emanated from the research of the Aberdeen anthropology department in looking at the creative arts in conjunction with anthropology. Anthropologist and dancer Paola Esposito created a choreography around an interpretation of Dali’s Narcissus in the form of a series of drawings of her own body. Malcolm created a score in response to this following the principles of encouraging dynamic response to dance within the score rather than prescribing something that does not react to the performance context and space. In this Malcolm is following the ideas of Tim Ingold (the anthropologist who initiated this project) of encouraging thinking through making in the creation of music, rather than making through thinking. This distinction has been invaluable in understanding the significance of improvisation within performance and the pitfalls of our scriptocentric obsessions in art music. Malcolm has written on this work in Rachel Harkness’s Knowing From The Inside (p.170).

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