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Need help for Music Masters by Research watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hi there,

    So I've started a Masters by Research course in Music.

    My Masters is going to be practice based, here's what I want to do:

    I want to compose and produce a concept album, then follow that up with an essay on the following topic:

    My topic: How the Concept Behind a Concept Album Influences and Enhances the Music

    My very, very much preferred plan:

    I want to get straight into the music. I don't want to be constantly reading while composing and producing the project. As far as what I'm expected to submit, this involves a 50 minute long album, and a report/essay of at least 5000 words.

    Taking a log or writing a diary while I'm composing will help me link certain ideas to the concept I am working with. This will also benefit my essay in the long run as I can go back to these notes, and recall why I did certain things with the music - this includes compositional ideas, influences behind sound design, production techniques and experimentation etc. I will also link my thoughts to Academic texts, and reference and compare/contrast these thoughts to thoughts and ideas of published Academics. This will produce an interesting discussion, and hopefully an original and engaging essay.

    The reason as to why I want to carry out the concept album with no prior research, is mostly out of personal preference. However I also think it will be of the greatest benefit to my essay if I approach the music with an open mind. I believe that the less preconception I have, the more effectively I will be able to interpret and exploit my chosen concept within a musical context. Furthermore, time spent researching my topic has and will continue to undermine time spent on composition and production. I feel this will worsen the quality of my composition and production, and therefore give me less in terms of material I have to work when approaching my essay.

    Anyway, my actual question to this forum:

    Is there any credible research technique which is similar or the exact same to the approach which I want to take ? My tutor recommended that I take an autoethnographical approach. Unfortunately there seem to be lots of academics in articles/books I've consulted debating on what an autoethnography actually is. I'm unwilling to take an approach which is under such intense debate, as it does not give me a clear, concise research method.

    My tutor also argued that my approach is that of an undergraduate. I'm not going to disagree with that, however surely it would be commendable to come out with Masters quality work after taking such an approach ?

    My tutor to be fair acknowledged that there was sense in my preferred approach, however since I wasn't "David Gilmour", or somebody in the same vain who has a clear record and expertise in terms of accomplishing concept albums, it would be totally inadvisable that I go down this route. I fear I might be failed for taking this approach. My tutor suggested that a quote/idea from a specific author, which I have not taken into account, could result in failure.

    So yeah, in a nutshell, I want to do practice then follow that up with research. However my tutor is pretty adamant that my practice is backed up, or follows research. That makes it extremely difficult for me to carry out my topic - and I think that it is worth pointing out I outlined this topic pretty clearly in my Masters application. If it was not a Research Masters approach then I really should not have been accepted onto the course.

    Personally, I would always do some research before starting a major composition project. What kind of genre do you write in? This could greatly affect the type of or even need for research.
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