Using the flute as a case study, this article discusses the approach to writing for an instrument for the first time in a contemporary style. From the viewpoint of a student composer, it acts as a candid account of the issues a student may face in the early stages of contemporary study and practice, giving insight into the diverse approach to research that composers take. Much of the pedagogic literature on the compositional process is written by expert composers with decades of experience, and often does not consider the ‘rookie errors’ that many student composers incur in their early attempts at idiomatic writing. The article is not, however, a how-to guide for writing for the flute. It simply uses the flute as an example towards a research model for any instrument, discussing the physics behind playing it, the use of extended techniques, and approach to musical material. My short piece for solo flute, reflection of light is either specular or diffuse (Kirk, 2016) (Figure 7 in Appendix 1), exemplifies successful idiomatic writing for the instrument.
Composition, practice-based research, flute, idiomatic writing, music
How to CiteKirk J. (2018) “Initial Approaches to Idiomatic Contemporary Writing for a Musical Instrument: Discovering Methods of Practice-Based Research”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research. 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/fields.2018.03