Composition, Performance, Improvisation, and Making Things, sitting in a tree : Me-Me-Me-Me-Me-Me-Me
PhD in Music Composition
Abstract (click to view)
The following website: (, with all its embedded media, represents my practice-based research, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The work takes the form of a unified practice, with the relationships between aesthetic and technical concerns driving a creative feedback loop that produces compositions, videos, and software systems. The musical works explore limited sonic materials in the context of improvised music and behavior/interaction-dominated composition.

The thesis’s original contribution to knowledge is its articulation of an iterative integrated practice where each aspect of my practice informs the other, with a focus on myself as a composer, performer, improviser, and instrument maker. The navigation of these intertwined roles, including the meta-creative practice of tuning a conceptual focus as part of the creative practice itself, is the central and novel methodological concern that comprises the thesis and my creative practice in general.

The two central chapters consist of blog posts, each going into detail about aspects of my research, which conceptually and structurally outline the practice-based feedback loop that forms the core of my practice. The primary focus of these two chapters is an interlacing of technology and aesthetics, and how these two facets of my work influence each other from conception through to completion. The two blog posts are Making Decisions In Time, a conceptual framework and analysis tool for improvisation which focuses on separating decisions into different streams, and Cut Glove, a software instrument built around video game mechanisms and metaphors.The rest of the thesis consists of project commentaries and an expounding of the process that created them.

The process is continuous. It has no temporal beginning or end and spans multiple approaches and roles, collapsing many of the individual components that traditionally comprise a creative practice. As such, it is presented here as a snapshot—an artificial snapshot—within the continuum of my creative practice. The material and text are presented as dynamically as possible in an attempt to capture the movement of the process itself.

Instructions (click to view)
The thesis itself is presented on and is this webpage. It primarily consists of the four main chapters shown above along with over a dozen pages and blog posts that function as the individual project commentaries. All of the pages/blogs and accompanying media are embedded in the thesis pages and should be read through like any other hyper-linked document (many open tabs at a time). There is also a fine-print document, linked below, that links/lists all the included pieces, media, and software, and contains a thesis map and bibliography. In addition to the pseudo-linear presentation of the four main chapters, the thesis can be browsed non-linearly by keyword by using the word cloud below.
Tag cloud datafile
[ composition, improvisation, performance, meta, diy, software, dfscore, controller, mapping, gesture, form, memory, interaction, behavior, game, analysis, video, feedback ]
*the fine print (acknowledgements, music/software, bibliography)



Rodrigo Constanzo
-makes music and art
-lives in Porto/Manchester
-is a crazy person

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Read my PhD Thesis!

Composition, Performance,
and Making Things,
sitting in a tree :


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