Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


School of Music and Drama, Faculty of Creative Arts


The aim of “Composition: Pure Data as a Meta-Compositional Instrument” was to compose a folio of original electronic pieces that used Miller Puckette’s open source program Pure Data (Pd) as a “meta-compositional instrument”: that is, as a vehicle for documenting the creative process in a graphical way as a type of analytical notation. The pieces extended and explored creative aspects of my previous compositional research into binary processes, symmetry, and complementary pairs, using only sine tone frequencies based on the higher partials of sub-audio fundamentals. Published Pd programming conventions provided a standard benchmark with regard to “common sense” signal flow conventions, and were only adjusted when significant differences between purposes and methods were encountered. Despite the “composition of the composition” being evident in the graphical layout of the patches, it became clear that further “interpretive” commentary was necessary to explain the artistic or musical purposes of different patches. Nonetheless, it was shown that a composition in Pd can explicitly show its own construction and interrelation of compositional elements, providing a kind of descriptive analysis of the work. Moreover, Pd was shown to be suitable for large scale, multi-sectional projects.

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