Composition in Essay Form. In Memory of Morten Eide Pedersen.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStudia Musicologica Norvegica 2015, 1:127-141
This essay is written in memory of Morten Eide Pedersen, my former teacher in composition, who passed away unexpectedly in October 2014. The text is divided into the following parts: “Against Tedious Academic Writing”, “The Disaster of 'Obvious Music'”, “Guidelines for Composition in Essay Form”, “The Library of Morten Eide Pedersen”, and “Music and Vulnerability.” Throughout the sections I reflect on the “musical essay”: a vulnerable and honest music which suggests the dangerous and incomprehensible “Other.” A musical composition can sometimes be full of “emphatic meaning,” which is incurred through an affirmative and style-centered musical language. At other times music subtly calls on us to relinquish the interpreting distance, to embrace unestablished new paths, to give in to something unknown. The latter approach I will call “composition in essay form,” in response to the concept of the “essay” as presented by Theodor W. Adorno. An essayist composition is necessarily vulnerable and lacks an affirmative voice, and is not inclined to seek reconciliation within an institutionalized, fixed musical syntax.