Photo by Marco Giugliarelli

March 11, 2021

Sky Macklay

The Drama of Inevitable Unfurling: Process Music as a Metaphor for Biological Processes
Zoom video conference
Watch the talk below

I describe many of my pieces as “process music,” or music governed by rules that audibly transform musical materials in predictable ways. These musical systems that I create possess their own intelligences, much like organ systems in the human body.

In my series of chamber operas with librettist Emily Roller, I use musical processes as metaphors for the complex and simultaneous biological processes involved in human reproduction. If I as a composer commit to a process or system, I concede some agency about moment to moment musical choices. Similarly, characters in the operas, some of whom are trying to either conceive or prevent conception, must come to terms with the boundaries of their agency in effecting their own biological processes. This talk will unpack my musical systems and analyze the ways in which the musical narratives mirror the extramusical narratives.

Read about all the Rendez-vous talks for this semester here.

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