Writing

Academic Texts

Effaced, Reflected, Being: Documents and/of/as Musicking Bodies (2017) [PhD thesis: commentary, examples, portfolio / Huddersfield of University repository listing]

This thesis is a portfolio of work that emerges from a focus on treating musicking bodies as compositional material. The work explores aspects of awkwardness in performance, slow motion movement, confrontation, simultaneous and multiple forms of intersubjective identity, public presentations of private activities, and dialogic relationships with performance. Because of these interests, and their grounding in performance, my practice has involved developing compositional approaches and strategies for working with documented forms of performance. The accompanying written commentary reflects on the findings of this investigation by focusing primarily on techniques of working with documents of performances.

By considering Nicholas Cook’s notion of scores-as-scripts, by which musical scores are expanded from being isolated and autonomous texts of musical work to existing in relationship with instances of performance, I propose the notion of documents-as-scores. Reflecting on the capacity for documentation to transform representations and manifestations of performance, I suggest that chirographic and/or typographic representations of musical notation inscribed in the document-form of sheet music have the potential to function as documentation of performance. Expanding on this potential, and drawing from various definitions of the word “document,” I suggest that other document-forms such as audio/video files or human bodies can be musically inscribed to function as scores for performance. These scores are made of document-forms inscribed with information that I treat as material subject to compositional protocols of manipulation, which include protraction, expansion, situation, distortion, effacement, dislocation, isolation, and contextualization, among others. To narrow the scope of this research, I focus on ways in which musicking bodies are intellectually/physically engaged with, represented in, and embodiments of these documents-as-scores.

Integrating examples from the portfolio, the commentary introduces the notion of documents-as-scores and proceeds to examine ways of working with different document-forms. In Chapter 1, physical and digital forms of notation are effaced to articulate facets of awkwardness and integrative destruction in music. In Chapter 2, distended, incomplete, and overlaid video and audio recordings are reflected in performance by looking and listening for representations and indices of physical action. In Chapter 3, humans/persons become formally constitutive embodied documents whose verbal, physical, and musical memories are situated within performative reading contexts.

Thesis submitted to the School of Music, Humanities and Media at The University of Huddersfield.

Reflections on Ephemerality and Notation in my Recent Work (2012) [Master’s by Research thesis*]

This thesis comments on two strands of musical interest in my work: ephemerality and the role of notation. Throughout this thesis I explicate the various ways I have engaged with these concerns and their manifestations in my work. Additionally, I aim to situate my work within the context of contemporary compositional practices as a way of showing both origins of influence and ways in which my own work extends/expands on these influences. This thesis addresses aspects regarding the material impermanency of scores, documentation, interpersonal relationships, performative situations and performer/notation interfaces.

Thesis submitted to the School of Music, Humanities and Media at The University of Huddersfield.

*The thesis linked to is abridged; photographic documentation related to the article on ephemerality has been omitted. A partial collection of photographic documentation may be downloaded here. If interested in obtaining the fully unabridged thesis/documentation please contact me directly at MichaelBaldwin21[at]gmail.com to discuss further.

Musical Expression Through Notation: The Formal Constructs of Klaus K. Hübler (2011) [standalone]

An essay on forms of musical expression and instrumental emancipation manifest by Klaus Hübler’s use of extended (multiparametric) tablature notation.

Conference Presentations

An Ephemeral Practice (2013) [Time Stands Still: Notation in Musical Practice]

This paper primarily discuss my exploration into ephemerality by examining my ephemeral mail-art project, S[h/c]attered Shards of Experience: Ephemera 1-n.

Reflections on Compositions

Limbs Have Hearts and Eyes Hear (2016) [Personal Blog]

Reflections on composing and reading my video score for ]HoldingOn[.

Prattle & Babble (2015) [Personal Blog]

Reflections on the process of arriving at my performance-piece urtext.

On Renotation (2012) [Personal Blog]

Reassessing my approaches to notation with my saxophone trio Disintegration. 

Reflections on Performances

Beavan Flanagan’s No sweeter sound than my own name (2015) [Personal Blogs]

A hub of writing and media related to work realising and developing Beavan Flanagan’s vocal solo No sweeter sound than my own name.

Charlie Sdraulig’s few (2014) [Personal Blogs]

A hub of writing and media related to work realising Charlie Sdraulig’s vocal solo few.

Luke Nickel’s [factory] (2014) [Personal Blogs]

A hub of writing and media related to work realising Luke Nickel’s composition [factory].

Sticky Singing (2015) [Personal Blog]

A short exploration into imitating time-stretched vocal recordings.

Interviews

An Interview with Mercé Bosch Sanfelix about Michael Baldwin’s French horn solo Buzzed (2016) [Mercé Bosch Sanfelix, Master’s Thesis]

Questions include:

  • 1. Buzzed is a really interesting piece played by Samuel Stoll, how did your collaboration with him start and how was this idea born?
  • 2. Was this your first piece for solo horn? Are there any effects or sounds that turned out to be more interesting (or unexpectedly interesting) played on the horn? (for example, slap tongue, bell percussion…)
  • 3. When the Horn player plays the piece, the result that comes out every time changes (maybe just a bit); are there any “rules” or leads you gave the performer to follow, or you do let his interpretation to change naturally while playing the piece?
  • 4. If we compare the horn and electronics repertoire list to the ones of other instruments, the horn’s is, with difference, small. In your opinion, is there not enough interest to develop this field? In this case, could it be that many composers are not fully aware of the horn’s possibilities in this field, or could it also be that not many horn players are interested in learning and playing this music?
  • 5. Do you think that scenography plays a role in the understanding of the piece and how an audience enjoys music? Could we speak nowadays of music as a multidisciplinary art?

This interview is published in:
Bosch-Sanfélix, M.: Desarrollo de la escritura para trompa en relación con los nuevos lenguajes musicales. La Rioja. UNIR. 2016

Questions to Performers: insight into this is not natural [transfiguration] (2015) [CeReNeM Journal 5]

This contribution to the Huddersfield CeReNeM Journal series posed a collection of questions to members of The University of Huddersfield’s drama department: Franc Chamberlain, Hilary Elliott and Eilon Morris in response to a collaborative workshop conducted July 2014. The workshop culminated in a devised derivation of my 2014 composition this is not natural, written from and for musicians Pieter Lenaerts, Tomoko Honda and Corey Klein. Questions seek to establish insight into the act of performance especially with regards to ways of moving, engagement with unfamiliar instruments, the function of listening and affects of technological mediation.

Guest Blogging

Retrospectively Arriving at Composition with the Sound of Its Own Découpage (2016) [Tempus Konnex]

This essay is about my toy piano and video+audio playback piece Composition with the Sound of Its Own Découpage, a work which draws from the methodological principles of Robert Morris’s 1961 Box with the Sound of its Own Making. In it I reflect on how the destructive dimensions of scissors are expanded in my working process by charting the progression of my engagement and (re)familiarization with scissors during an initial experimentation period, and elaborating on what Seth Kim-Cohen has referred to as “retrospective composition,” wherein the activity of composition follows the documentation of processes/performances of production.

Contemporary Notation Project: Michael Baldwin (2014) [The Rambler]

A contribution to Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s Contemporary Notation Project detailing my use of video as a score.

Better Know A Weisslich Series [WEISSLICH]

As part of my co-curation responsibilities with WEISSLICH I write short articles and essays on featured artists and pieces in order to provide prospective audiences with insights into programming decisions.

Ensemble Pamplemousse (2016)

6 Benefits of Pamplemousses: or, my first listicle!

Antonia Barnett-McIntosh & Ilze Ikse (2016) 

Listening to Breath with breathing ears.

Louis d’Heudieres’ Laughter Studies (2016) 

A transcription, a representation, and a poetic response.

Cathy van Eck’s Music Stands (2016) 

On the use and significance of music stands in experimental music, performance art, and Cath van Eck’s work.

Carolyn Chen (2016) 

A psychogeographic reading of hearing faces in Carolyn Chen’s Adagio.

Samuel Stoll (2016)

A profile on French horn player Samuel Stoll and a description of our collaborative work with each other.

Beavan Flanagan (2015)

A profile on composer Beavan Flanagan and facets of post-humanism in his work.

Eleanor Cully (2015)

A profile on composer Eleanor Cully and elements of disappearance in her work.

Discussion of My Work in Articles, Books, and Magazines by Others

Rutherford-Johnson, Tim. “Unsettling Scores.” The Wire (403), 10 August 2017, 30-33. [subscriber reader]

Esptein, Nomi. “Musical Fragility: A Phenomenological Exploration.” Featuring discussion of ephemeral scores S[h/c]attered Shards of ExperienceTempo 71, no, 281 (2017). 39-52. doi:10.1017/S0040298217000432

Fairbairn, Kevin. “Performing Diffraction: Reading Michael Baldwin’s Erasure through Karen Barad’s Agential Realism.” Research Catalogue (2017).

Packham, Jonathan. “Anti-virtuosity/anti-flow: a Czikszentmihalyian examination of Michael Baldwin’s a tenuous/tentative step towards performative awkwardness/clumsiness (2013).“Research paper written for module titled Developments in Virtuosity since 1960. Featuring discussion of a tenuous/tentative step towards performative awkwardness/clumsiness. 2017.

Edgerton, Michael. The 21st Century Voice, 2nd ed. Featuring discussion of Various Terrains (degrees of similarity). Scarecrow Press, 2015: 142-43.

Gottschalk, Jennie. “A Spectrum of Private Scores.” Featuring discussion of ephemeral scores S[h/c]attered Shards of Experience. Sound Expanse (2013).