The importance of the electronic part on seeking creative processes in music.

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Constança Capdeville was a composer and one of the most prominent figures in Contemporary Portuguese Music. She also stands out as the most representative example of the music-theatre genre, which saw its most intense period of activity in Portugal peak in the 1980’s. Some of Capdeville’s works have also been composed within a context of combining electroacoustic music on magnetic tape and instrumental music. These different dimensions of her compositions mean incorporating a new electronic component, which requires new approaches not only as regards the appropriate analytical processes but also the preservation strategies necessary to retaining the media.
The usage of magnetic tapes was very important for Capdeville's works since, for example, inputs from the magnetic tapes or certain actions performed in the scene served to provide indications for each moment, so the performer could be guided by sound signals. The music, through incorporating an electronic component, completely changes the way of making music and, thus, different approaches to analysing such kinds of music have correspondingly emerged. Capdeville applied new symbols in her graphic scores, creating her own particular language in order to conduct performers, even with regard to interactions between the performer and the electronic component, particularly in her recourse to magnetic tape. She also left handwritten parts with several annotations, explanatory scripts about movements, lights and interpretation. All such facets need gathering in conjunction with the sound content included in tape recordings in order to build any new performance. Those aiming to re-perform the works of Constança Capdeville therefore need to understand the meaning of these metadata she herself created.
New technologies have altered the nature, methodologies and limits of musical creation, and due to both different dimensions of this kind of music and the “ambiguity” of their material outcomes, the study of the process of composition must be applied to the tape, score, composer notes, testimonies and so forth. There is a clearly identified need to explore and study this domain; musical analysis has sought out some options, nevertheless these still require improvements and adaptation to the needs of each case, whence new experiments and new theories are required.
This paper intends to reflect on a methodology appropriate to perceive how we can, or cannot, re-perform Capdeville’s music works in the future by preserving not only the magnetic tape media, but also their performance as well as analysing some of these works within a musicological context, thus also new strategies of documentation are required in order to facilitate the access to future transmissions and performances of works involving technology. Both works FE...DE...RI...CO (1987) and Silêncio Depois (1990), composed by Capdeville, serve here as our case study to better understand our aforementioned purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2017
EventTracking Creative Processes in Music: TCPM 2017 - University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sept 201716 Sept 2017


ConferenceTracking Creative Processes in Music
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Creative processes
  • Constança Capdeville
  • FE...DE...RI...CO...
  • Silêncio Depois
  • Portuguese contemporary music


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