The Loop generation: Practice, aesthetics and philosophy of repetition in contemporary composition
Project period: 2021-01-01 till 2023-12-31
Project director: Christine Dysers
Financiary: Swedish Research Council
Repetition is one of music’s most fundamental and cross-cultural features. In most musical discourse, repetition is considered as an event void of information; a mere reiteration of a previously explored statement or idea. Since the early 2000s, a young generation of ‘loop composers’ has challenged this narrative by putting repetition at the very core of their musical thinking and making. In their music, an explicit and excessive engagement with repetition gives rise to a complex multitude of meanings and experiences.This project is a three-year transnational study of the repetition-centric aesthetics which are currently emerging in the domain of contemporary composition. Why is repetition such an essential tool for many young composers, what narratives and experiences does their music generate for the listener, and what can their collective emphasis on repetition tell us about the current socio-cultural climate in the West? In answering these central research questions, the study provides a timely inquiry into repetition as a current, important, and multifaceted phenomenon both within the world of contemporary music and beyond.The project draws on interviews with composers, score-based and listening analysis, and post-structuralist philosophy. The result will be an integrated theory of explicitly repetition-centric composition since the early 2000s. The main output will be a monograph, which will add to the emerging debate on repetition in the arts and humanities.