top of page

Improvisation with technology in a jazz context through composition, performance and recording


This project investigates the process of creating new works for two jazz trio ensembles, with a particular emphasis on improvisation with acoustic instruments and technology. Utilising a practice-based research model the project documents and outlines the conceptual basis for the work, reflects on a series of public performances and examines studio recording sessions. By analysing the musical content, use of technology, and the musician’s reflections on their decision making, the overall goal is to articulate the musical potential of improvising with technology in a jazz context.

Exploring technology and developing extended techniques towards a hybrid acoustic- electronic “group sound” that is distinct but still recognisable as jazz, is a core focus of this research. Specific software, hardware controllers, and audio effects are identified, and an analysis of the ways in which technologies are engaged by each musician is presented. Artistic reference points identify current and historical practice within this area and a range of case studies give context for how the music created here is relevant to contemporary jazz in Australia. The resulting musical output is documented in audio and video formats and includes multiple performer analyses, enabling detailed examination by the reader of how each musician merges improvisation using acoustic instruments and improvisation with technology.

Ultimately this research has allowed two professional jazz ensembles to forge new musical pathways, creating expanded practical skills for the author and the musicians involved. This research will be of interest to jazz musicians seeking to broaden their practice through improvisation with technology. Additionally, the project is relevant to any reader/musician engaged with improvisation in contemporary music more broadly.

Link to all thesis media - studio & live recordings, scores and analysis

You can read the thesis below in browser, or download a PDF copy HERE

Sean Hands
Sean Foran live _ Vortex
Sean Foran 2016 live
Sean piano electronics
bottom of page