Directive, interactive and collaborative compositional methodologies and the consolidation of musical style
: PhD portfolio of compositions and written commentary

  • Amy Rooney

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This portfolio of works considers the relationship between composer and performer, seeking to determine how levels of dialogic interaction can be modified to best serve my compositional aesthetic. The portfolio consists of ten scores, which are accompanied by recordings and a reflective commentary. In considering these roles, three models are presented, namely directive, interactive and collaborative.

The directive model presents a fully notated score which restricts the performers’ role to that of interpretation; this therefore represents the most traditional means of composing. The interactive model is applied in four compositions, interrogating strategies for increasing the creative role of the performer, whereby they assume some responsibility for the final product. The collaborative model sees a further modification of the composer-performer relationship, leading to an investigation of true creative co-authorship. This is addressed in three compositions.

An assessment of the impact of each model on my compositional style leads to a final approach, where aspects considered to be successful in the directive and interactive models are fused to create a bespoke approach that best serves to consolidate my musical style. This model is applied in two final scores.

It is intended that the research presented will be of interest to composers and performers who are working in the field of contemporary classical music, providing a case study that demonstrates how varying kinds of formal composer-performer relationships can affect the evolution of a composer’s personal musical voice.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorPiers Hellawell (Supervisor) & Simon Mawhinney (Supervisor)


  • Directive composition
  • interactive composition
  • collaborative composition
  • contemporary compositional approaches

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