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Ben Gaunt


Writing on music: How to improve your writing

Every assignment on the Music Degree requires some form of written work; whether through listening and learning logs, critical reflections, or essays. Cultivating an academic writing style is often a long, difficult process and it wasn’t until I had finished my PhD that I believed my prose was of an acceptable standard. In assessing work at OCA, I have encountered a number of common problems with student submissions; in this blog post, I will deal with issues of verbosity and lack of clarity. I frequently read essays where far too many words have been used; where sentences are so overlong that they become confusing. Fortunately, these issues are easy to fix! 

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Writing on music: Research and reflection

Research is an essential part of the music degree, and appears in various guises throughout all modules. Research points, essays, listening logs etc. all require the student to engage in some kind of research. 

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In conversation with: Robin Haigh

Robin Haigh is a composer from London. In 2017 he became one of the youngest ever recipient of a British Composer Award at the age of 24. As well as being commissioned by the UK’s most prestigious ensembles and institutions such as the LSO, Britten Sinfoniaand Sage Gateshead, he has collaborated closely with leading ensembles of his own generation including the Ligeti Quartet and The Hermes Experiment.

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Spellspheres: 1

I thought I would use this blog as an introduction to Spellspheres; a large series of small works I started writing in early 2019. In future blog posts, I will discuss specific works in detail, but for now I am going to discuss the overall series and what I am hoping to achieve. 

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Visual music

Music is, of course, a sonic art form but it need not deal only with sound. Music is kinetic; certain pieces might feel different to play or sing when compared to others (as a pianist, I have always preferred playing a B Major scale to a C Major scale, for example, because of how the […]

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In Conversation with: Joanna Ward

International Women’s Day 2019. Friday, 8 March. Joanna Ward is a composer, performer, and curator. She has written a short opera, ‘hunger’, which was written and premiered at ENO Lilian Baylis House, and later taken to the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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Piano rolls and black MIDI

In August 2018 I visited Amsterdam on holiday; it was a wonderful trip, full of the usual touristy activities. On the final day we visited the Pianola Museum; slightly out-of-the-way, cheaper than every other attraction, and almost entirely devoid of visitors when we arrived, it turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

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The Trumpet Fists of Saint Nicholas – Part 2

In essence, The Trumpet Fists of Saint Nicholas depicts festivals, rituals, piety, mockery and violence via a chronological exploration of the Christmas season.

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Ensemble in focus – Northern Contemporary Collective

This is the third in a series of blogs where I introduce OCA composers (or, indeed, anybody else who might be interested) to UK-based ensembles, particularly those that are new, exciting, and focus on performing recently composed music.

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The Trumpet Fists of Saint Nicholas – Part 1

Recently I have become interested in composing works that present multiple superimposed narratives; music that is about more than just one thing. That is, by combining and juxtaposing stories I can create pieces that operate in structurally unusual ways.

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