Sonic Nuptials. Composition and Improvisation in a Double Capture: Refrain and Processes of Territorialization

Rogério Costa, Valéria Bonafé

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 22, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: in words
practice: music and sound
keywords: de/re-territorialisation, double capture, improvisation

abstract about the author(s)


Although there is an intermediate field between composition and improvisation, when discussing the differences between these two forms of musical creation  the  main issues that arise relate to dualities: deferred time and real time, intentionality and non- intentionality, controlled and non-controlled, predictability and unpredictability, work of art and process.

In the collaborative project we propose, these differences will be used as fuel for the elaboration of an artistic work where ideas devised in a deferred time through the creation of original scores/scripts are concretised in a performance in real time. Thus, in a singular way, the project combines composition and improvisation, approaching what has been designated “comprovisation.” Like the Deleuzian image of the orchid and the wasp, this project involves a double capture and unfolds in a composition/improvisation-becoming, giving rise to a third thing that is in between them.

There is another important component: the performer improvises using a kind  of “hybrid machine” that can be summarised in the following formula: musician + acoustic instrument (with preparation) + digital instrument (microphone + interfaces + computer + patch + speakers). These elements should—all together—adapt to the performance environment.

Our proposal puts all these elements into play and takes the form of a saxophone solo improvisation performance with live electronics guided by a score/script prepared in deferred time in which new representational and solfege resources are dealt. From a compositional point of  view, the project involves researching and inventing new types  of scores. From the point of view of the preparation of improvisation, the project includes researching and inventing new instrumental approaches such as instrumental prostheses, modifications in the body of the saxophone, symbiosis with other instruments and accessories, and so on. Finally, the project aims to provoke, also in the audience, a new attitude of listening in a broad sense.

Furthermore, the performance should show the functioning of the acoustic-digital coupling, both at a more specialised level, with respect to the technologies involved,  and at the level of physicality, with respect to the elaboration of specific instrumental techniques, appropriate to the agency of this “hybrid machine” in a continuous process of territorialisation, deterritorialisation, and reterritorialisation. Due to the complexity of this environment, this performance could be thought in terms of the dimensions of the refrain as described by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus. This happens because the refrain, at the same time that it outlines a centre, is susceptible to cosmic calls, to lines of wandering. According to Deleuze and Guattari, “to improvise is to join with the world, or meld with it.”

about the author(s)

Rogério Costa

Rogério Luiz Moraes Costa, professor, composer, saxophonist, and researcher, Prof. Costa has worked at the music department of the University of São Paulo since 2002. Leading artists in Brazil and Europe such as the groups Abstray and Música Viva in Rio, Camerata Aberta in São Paulo, and the Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble in Vienna have played his compositions. His extensive academic output includes improvisations published in journals, conference proceedings, and books. Currently, Prof. Costa coordinates a research project at USP on improvisations and their connections with other areas of study such as composition, education, technology, ethnomusicology, philosophy, and cognitive sciences. Two of the most important current artistic projects related to this research are the groups Orquestra Errante and Entremeios.

info & contact


University of São Paulo, BR


rogercos [AT]


Valéria Bonafé

Valéria Muelas Bonafé was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1984. I studied composition with Aylton Escobar and Silvio Ferraz, and attended masterclasses with Emmanuel Nunes, Tristan Murail, Stefano Gervasoni, and others. I received my academic education (bachelor, master’s, and PhD) at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). In the 2013–14 academic year I studied at Musikhochschule Stuttgart (Germany), with Marco Stroppa, during an exchange programme. My works have been performed at contemporary music concerts and festivals, such as Festival Música Nova (Brazil), Bienal de Música Contemporânea Brasileira (Brazil), SonicFestival (USA), Focus! Festival (USA), Le mois des compositeurs (France), highSCORE Festival (Italy), and Festival tonArt (Germany). I have worked in collaboration with various orchestras and international ensembles, including Orquestra Sinfônica do Paraná, Camerata Aberta, Télémaque Ensemble, Quartetto Indaco, and Ensemble Recherche. Currently I am a teacher at the Sao Paulo State School of Music, a member of Sonora—Músicas e Feminismos network, and a researcher at NuSom—Research Center on Sonology at the University of Sao Paulo.

info & contact


University of Sao Paulo, BR


valeriabonafe [AT]