Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa



Composers in academic institutions are increasingly required to describe their activities in terms of ‘research’ – formulating ‘research questions’, ‘research narratives’, ‘aims’ and ‘outcomes’. Research plans and funding applications require one to specify the nature of the original contribution that will be made by a piece of music, even before it is composed. These requirements lead to an emphasis on collaborative work, technology and superficial novelty of format. Yet the very idea that musical composition is a form of research is a category error: music is a domain of thought whose cognitive dimension lies in embodiment, revelation or presentation, but not in investigation and description. It is argued here that the idea of composition as research is not only objectively false but inimical to genuine musical originality.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0040-2982
  • EISSN: 1478-2286
  • URL: /core/journals/tempo
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 32
Total number of PDF views: 165 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1301 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.