Rob Burke and Andrys Onsman Launch New Book: Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music

Coordinator of Jazz and Popular Studies Rob Burke, alongside Andrys Onsman, have launched their new co-edited book entitled Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music, published through Rowman and Littlefield. 

The increasing interest in artistic research, especially in music, is throwing open doors to exciting ideas about how we generate new musical knowledge and understanding. Burke and Onsman’s book examines the wide array of factors at play in innovative practice and how by treating it as research we can make new ideas more widely accessible. 

According to Burke, ‘this book represents the changing times in music research as performers demonstrate their legitimate contributions to the academy through the careful articulation of their artistic research’. Alongside editors Burke and Onsman, are chapters by Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Professor Cat Hope and Coordinator of Composition, Associate Professor Thomas Reiner, alongside Linda Barwick, Tim Dargaville, Stephen Emmerson, Nick Haywood, Glen Hodges, Michael Hooper, Zubin Kanga, Deniz Peters, Johanna Selleck, Joseph Toltz, Robert Vincs and Jenny Wilson. 

According to Rans de Ruiter from Leiden University ‘this book enters the core of artistic research and connects developments in Australia with the world. From many angles artistic research is explained from within experimentation, exploration and discovery, unraveling intentions, processes, outcomes and dissemination of research in and through musical practice. It asks the difficult but necessary questions and is aware of all actual, contemporary relevant international literature on the subject. It is a must for any artist/researcher.’

Three key ideas propel the book. First, it argues that artistic research comes from inside the practice and exists in a space that accommodates both objective and subjective observation and analyses because the researcher is the practitioner. It is a space for dialogue between apparently opposing binaries: the composer and the performer, the past and the present, the fixed and the fluid, the intellectual and the intuitive, the abstract and the embodied, the prepared and the spontaneous, the enduring and the transitory, and so on. It is not so much constructed in a logical, sequential manner in the way of the scientific method of doing research but more as a “braided” space, woven from many disparate elements. 

Second, the book articulates the notion that artistic research in music has its own verification procedures that need to be brought into the academy, especially in terms of the moderation of non-traditional research outputs, including the description of the criteria for allocation of research points for the purposes of data collection, as well as real world relevance and industry engagement. 

Third, by way of numerous examples of original and creative music making, it demonstrates in practical terms how exploration and experimentation functions as legitimate academic research. Many of the case studies deliberately cross boundaries that were previously assumed to be rigid and definite in order to blaze new musical trails, creating new collaborations and synergies.

This book is available in all the Matheson Library at Monash University, or for purchase through Rowman and Littlefield publishers.