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”Det är ur görandet tankarna föds” – från idé till komposition : En studie av kompositionsprocesser i högre musikutbildning.

“Doing gives birth to ideas”. From ideas to composition : a study of composition processes in higher music education
  • Frans Hagerman
Publiceringsår: 2016-09-01
Språk: Svenska
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling
Förlag: Royal College of Music


Recent technological developments have challenged the historical methods of composing music for acoustical instruments using traditional scores. However, composers in the Western art music tradition still continue to use them when they explore the realm of sounds in traditional instruments and possible ways to communicate their intentions.

The aim of the present study is to describe the development process in the composition of score-based music intended to be performed by a mixed ensemble of wind, string and percussion instruments. Three composer students from an undergraduate program in Western art music composition each participated during two semesters in the data collection. The data consists of a series of composition sketches, qualitative interviews, voice logs, music recordings and observations of rehearsals and concerts.

The analysis focused on shedding light on the participants’ ways of developing the content as the processes of composition unfold. The main methods of analysis were to compare different versions of the same composition and, on the basis of this comparison, to ask analytical questions of the participants.

A result common to the three participants, is the conclusion that they start with rudimentary structures and gradually elaborate them so that they become more detailed and sophisticated, for example, more varied in instrumentation. This elaboration is supported by the use of written notes – scaffolds – that guide the development of the structure in different directions. Seven types of scaffolds, that represent different strategies to formulate and solve compositional problems, were found in the empirical data.

The study contributes to wider understanding of the importance of making handwritten sketches throughout the process of developing musical ideas. Despite recent technological developments, there is evidence that handsketching still serves as an intuitive tool for meaning-making, in combination with other tools such as acoustical instruments and new music technology.


Nathan Milsteinsalen, Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Valhallavägen 105 Stockholm.
  • Karin Johansson (Professor)


  • Music
  • Pedagogy
  • higher music education
  • musical composition
  • music notation
  • problem solving
  • scaffolding
  • feedback
  • words: higher music education, musical composition, music notation, problem solving, scaffolding, feedback, revision


  • ISBN: 978-91-7623-878-3

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