Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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The Theatre of Words set to Music

Composers have always worked with words, but not so many composers have written their own texts, and the creation process of making this simultaneously opens up new worlds of possibilities.

Research questions

The subject of this doctorate project is the relationship between music and text when both are written by the same person.

The research questions:

  • To what degree does the presence and content of a text influence the overall meaning of the accompanying music?
  • How can the use of text contribute to new musical forms and solutions?
  • What does the music do to the text? And more technically:
  • How to compose music, write words and create a fusion in ways that do justice to both parties?

Everyday realism

The marriage of text and music is probably as old as music itself, and has taken many forms over the centuries. The composer’s role today is expanding, and is not anymore limited to work only with sound, but to combine different media and create new forms of unities. This project will focus on storytelling as a result of added text.

The texts Skoglund is going to write will dive into ordinary language and life situations that everybody can recognize, and then with a twist added to it at some point. A sort of everyday realism is especially well suited to develop into something that turns upside down or inside out, since thestarting point is so familiar, and the development easily can be followed.

The project is opening for more than simply and purely vocal music; the theatrical as a third area that arises when music is mixed with other elements. Many composers today work with what have been called extra-musical elements, often everyday sound, and embed it inside a sophisticated musical language that we usually know from the tradition that insists on listening to sounds for their own sake, shaped into patterns of beauty and value of their own.

The ambition for the project is to be able to participate in this line of thought on the European contemporary music scene.

The results

The project will result in: An opera, a short music theatre piece, a radio play and a song cycle.

Public defence

Artistic research fellow Lars Skoglund will hold his public defence Monday 30 May, see the event.

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Published: Aug 13, 2018 — Last updated: May 23, 2022