A term long module for masters level students. Placed in small groups students are set a project task to fulfil in a group. I have designed and mentored three years of projects.

The brief: This project is a challenge to make radio. The Transmission group are asked to explore the notion of radio in a number of ways. This can include projects that repurpose broadcast technology, those that question how we communicate information and narratives, or perhaps move beyond information transfer to investigate exchanges that radio comprises – the social connections and feedback loops that it is formed of. The Transmission project is therefore an opportunity to examine relationships fused by media, a chance to interrogate balances of power, explore the voice without a body and discover invisible audiences.

The Transmission group will work together to develop an understanding of radio art as it has developed over the last century, and through this understanding will create their own piece of radio. The forms that this can take are many and varied, but include gallery installations, internet broadcasts, mobile applications, spontaneous public performances, sound documentaries, electronic poetry. Transmission isn’t confined to the radiophonic, visuals and graphics will add an important dynamic to the group.


The Transmission project is formed of two major parts:
a) Research into your chosen area and creat a summary of this in a 5 – 7 minute radio essay.
NB this is not a demand for a potted history of radio, rather a contextualisation of your project
b) Short detailed plan for project including a summary of aims detailing technical and aesthetic aspects, a week by week structure of how this will be achieved,  site suggestions and how these are being attained if necessary, how the group will document or plan to coordinate with the roving documentation group including evidence of communication with them.

a) Produce a piece of radio  and corresponding documentation
b) Submit an individual blog style post on an aspect of the Transmission project
You will be asked to contribute via blog posts as the project progresses, this is mandatory to the course.


Performance strategies in computer music take many different forms. However, as different as the outcome is all successful strategies engage with common ideals and address similar practical questions.

As a group you will work together to explore these musical strategies. You will collaborate towards a final performance using digital technology in some form. The important element in this project is group communication within this performance. This could take many forms – perhaps an improvisational system or a scored composition – though the piece will be created by collaboratively forming methods of musical communication. The instrument you use to do this will shape these systems, and the core of this project lies in the methods you devise to work together on stage, which are necessarily rooted in the technology you use. There is also a strong role for the visually inclined in this project in the form of multimedia performance or the design of spontaneous notation.

You will produce a project that engages with the many facets of digital performance. What are you performing with? How can gesture be effectively mapped to sound? Is sound itself your most effective means of gathering information? How can you work collaboratively and what are the modes of communication – in performance as a group (open strategies, spontaneous notation) or for an individual instrument (aural scores, graphic notation)? Where is your performance space and what are the practical implications of this?

In order to achieve this you will need to:
1. Examine and understand key practises in digital performance.
a) Analyse and perform an open work (Christian Wolff – For 1, 2 or 3 people)
b) Collaboratively develop your own work, possibly using existing instruments, or one(s) that you have designed specifically for the project. In particular you must take into account time constraints regarding the need for practise and refinement – effective simplicity trumps muddy complexity. If working as a group on individual instruments it is important the the project is driven collectively towards a collaborative work, with clear and united aesthetic aims. This project is not just about the technology, it is about negotiating approaches to group performances that feature digital media.
3. Shape and create a short performance in your chosen space, aware of technical practicalities and the performance environment.
4. Document your work, with particular focus on either your achievement of a common musical goal (how the work was structured, improvising systems, the main aim of the work) or demonstrating how others may use your collaboratively designed musical system and/or instrument (a manual, score or aural feedback guide).

As part of this project, you will:
– Examine existing performance strategies, particularly regarding group communication.
– Carry out practical explorations of instrument design or augmentation and collaborative
– Work collaboratively to produce a united performance based on these explorations. The
key to this project being the final collaborative system rather than a collection of soloists
performing individually.

Project participants will:
– Develop an advanced awareness of the realities behind digital performance.
– Engage equally with the technical demands and musical approaches of forming a digital
– Develop an understanding of different methods of musical communication in digital
– Explore potential interactions afforded by the computer, learning software programming
such as Max, Jitter, PD.
– Gain an informed knowledge of existing work in the field of digital performance, as well
as practical experience of presenting a musical product.
The ideal group number is 3 – 4.
Advantageous (though not essential) skills in this group include some knowledge of Max MSP, visual programming (for production of graphic or spontaneous scores) or performance experience.
However, all of these skills can be quickly developed through research of existing works.


Masters and PhD student composition and performance workshop, 2013

Designed and coordinated by Jess Aslan

New works for bass clarinet and computer
*** The deadline for this call for proposals is 5.00 pm 7th April 2013.***

The Reid School of Music is hosting a 3 day postgraduate project to workshop six new pieces for bass clarinet and computer.

Marij van Gorkom (bass clarinetist, ) will select up to six postgraduate students to work with as part of this event. Between the 25th – 27th of June finished pieces will be workshopped at the Reid Concert Hall, with technology facilitated by Kevin Hay.  The workshop will include work on individual pieces, discussion groups and guest speakers on the broad topic of electro-instrumental composition.

Musicians from all musical/sound disciplines are encouraged to submit.

The new pieces will be performed as part of an informal concert on the afternoon of the 27th of June, where guests will be welcome.

02/04/2013, 1 pm
Short Q & A session with Jessica Aslan in the soundlab
You do not need to have wide experience with computer music to write a piece for this project. Here you have the opportunity to ask any questions to Jess Aslan, the event organiser. We can discuss the project, look at scores and performance videos to discuss possible format of submissions, feasibility of any computer ideas, pointers towards useful software and any other miscellany to enable you to start creating a work. Attendance is not necessary to submit a proposal.

For bass clarinet questions you can consult the book “The Bass Clarinet: a personal history” by Harry Sparnaay (available for short term loan in the library hub) and/or contact Marij at mvg@sonicspaces.eu. You can also connect with her on facebook and twitter (@sonicspaces).

07/04/2013, 5 pm
Deadline for brief proposals.
If there are any questions regarding this, send me (Jessica Aslan) an email – J.Aslan@sms.ed.ac.uk
Please only submit if you can attend the majority of the workshop.

Notification of selection.
We hope that we can include all submitted proposals. If submitted proposals exceed six, then we will select the most suitable.

13/04/2013 – 10/06/2013
Write the pieces!

10/06/2013, 5 pm
Deadline for submission of materials
Finished scores, tech specs and patches (or audio demonstrations if suitable) will need to be delivered to MVG by 10th June 2013 for the workshop. The more we have the easier it will be to workshop.

24/06/2013, 6pm
Meet and greet with Marij.

25/06/2013  - 27/06/2013
Each participant will have around 3 hours (over two sessions if your setup permits) to have their pieces setup and workshopped. Bear this in mind when you write your work – a quicker setup will allow you more time to explore your material. Around this we will frame discussions and short guest talks. The concert will take place at 4pm on the 27th.

We will ask each participant for a short blog describing their experiences.
Each participant will receive a bound copy of their submitted score.
The workshops will be recorded with video and audio made available to the participants.

      The proposal should be for a new piece, not something that is already written.
      The proposal should be for a piece that is up to 6' in duration, for bass clarinet and computer
      You must be available to attend workshop dates as outlined above.
      Finished scores and patches (if suitable) will need to be delivered to MVG by 10th June 2013 for the workshop. The more we have the easier it will be to workshop the work.
      We are unable to pay for participant’s travel or accommodation.

How to apply
Come  to the Q&A session on the 2nd to register your interest (optional).
Please submit e-applications only to Jessica Aslan (s0976626@sms.ed.ac.uk) in an email marked ‘MVG call’.

  A  summary of the piece you would like to write. Think about mentioning what you would like to explore both electronically and in terms of bass clarinet writing. Any ideas are welcome and originality is encouraged.
  A link to examples of your recent work and (if applicable) a pdf of a recent score
  Who you are / what you do

*** The deadline for this call for proposals is 5.00 pm 7th April 2013.***
Selected participants will be notified by 13th April 2013, as will unsuccessful proposals.

Marij Van Gorkom
Having studied with both Dutch bass clarinet soloists, MVG can be seen as a true exponent of Dutch bass clarinet culture and is a representative of the new generation of Dutch bass clarinetists. In a process of continuous reflection and reinvention, MVG intends to not only continue and expand on the pioneering work of her teachers, but also to search for new directions and sonic possibilities.

For more information visit:

Kevin Hay is a Sound Designer / Musician from a non-orchestral background who enjoys blending ‘real world’ found sounds with electronic treatments not always involving a computer. He has also worked as a Freelancer for many years working on a broad range of sound work from Commercials, to charity work with Touretteshero.com. He has released 12inch dub records, his own electronic output and recorded classical Harpsichord and almost everything in between. His day job is the Audio Studio Manger at the Reid School of Music within ECA.

Jessica Aslan is a PhD candidate in Creative Music Practice specialising in electro-instrumental composition.