M-Space Abstract


This portfolio comprises a series of compositions, theoretical writings, media and technologies. Central to the portfolio is Mermikides’ concept of M-Space (multi-dimensional musical space) (Mermikides & Feygelson 2017). This model was initially developed to formalise jazz improvisation pedagogies (Crook 1991), and as a means to better analyse, visualise and conceptualise jazz improvisational strategies and structures. However, it rapidly expanded to not only provide insight into broad improvisational practice, but also as a compositional tool. Technologies are central to the exploration of M-Space in composition, and in real-time performance. The multi-modal approach to M-Space has effected a liminality where several boundaries and conventions of musical practice are transgressed and blurred. The boundaries in question are those of style/genre, perception (of pitch, rhythm and timbre), the electric and acoustic domains, improvisation and composition, generative and intuitive process, instrumental identity and human/machine interaction. Informed by a training in jazz improvisation, modernist compositional techniques, popular and electronic music, music cognition and neuroscience, these works aim to further the relationship between the electronic and acoustic domains, musical function and stylistic symbiosis.

Collaborations and new works have been developed with cellist Laura van der Heijden (2012 BBC Young Musician of the Year), actor and voice artist Clarence Smith (RSC, Star Wars), harpist Maria-Christina Harper (2010 International Harpist of the Year), classical guitarist Bridget Mermikides, Classical ukulelist Samantha Muir (D’Oz), the synthesizer pioneer Peter Zinovieff, and software companies Ableton and Cycling ’74.

Academic and musical output are published in Oxford University Press, Sony, Extreme, Viribus, We are Robots and Loop. An unexpected outcome from the research project is that M-Space visualisations have now crossed a functional boundary into the visual arts with publications of ‘musical illustrations’ (analogous to the field of scientific illustration). These have been published in Cambridge University Press, Deux Elles, Soundboard Scholar and the Computer Arts Society.

Coltrane’s Cube  (Mermikides in Mermikides & Feygelson 2017)

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Crook, H., 1991: How to Improvise: An Approach to Practicing Improvisation (Rottenburg: Advance Music).

Mermikides, M., & Feygelson, E. (2017) The shape of musical improvisation. In Leech-Wilkinson, Daniel, and Helen M. Prior, eds. 2017. Music and Shape. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. 

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