Crossover Compositions

- Interactive music production across genres

by Assistant Professor Rasmus Birk


In the autumn of 2020, the workshop “ELM meets IM guitars” was held at RAMA’s Aalborg department. The purpose was to create compositions in a new collaboration across educational programs. As a participant, I became curious to examine this form of work on a systematic basis.


The aim of this project was therefore to work methodically with composition in a collaboration with rhythmic and electronic teachers and students and thereby:

  • challenge my artistic practice
  • expand my creative competences
  • examine the value of crossover collaboration
  • create new fruitful networks
  • extend the basis for and relevance of my teaching pratice


  • First, I defined compositional frameworks for four pieces, consisting of form, melody & chords. The pieces were provided in standard music notation as well as sound files.
  • In the next step, the musicians independently added new parts, in a system in which everyone experienced the role as both first, second, third and fourth part of the process (see “Order & System” – colorized system right).
  • Following this process, the complete sound productions underwent an artistic editing in a collaboration between myself and Sofus Forsberg.
  • To provide evaluation of the collaboration format, the artistic process and the personal benefits, the participants filled out an online questionnaire.


Participants’ reflections
Participants’ answers to the questionnaires can be summarized as follows:

The form of cooperation
The compositional framework generally contributed positively to motivation & workflow.

Artistic process
In general, the participants found it easy to work on the basis of the compositional framework and felt creative in the process.

Personal benefits
The participants have composed new music and have been confronted with four compositional frames outside of their comfort zone, which has broadened their musical horizons.

Personal reflections

The cooperation format

  • The tight framework contributed to a clear direction and a degree of comparability in the productions, while at the same time leaving room for the participants to challenge the framework.

Artistic process

  • I have been challenged on my artistic practice and have strived to be open to the ideas of others.
  • Technology (iReal Pro, Sibelius, Cubase Pro, etc) has played a crucial role in this project. Both in terms of documenting, but perhaps even more importantly in terms of inspiration.

Personal benefits

  • I have gained insight into how the approaches of particularly electronic musicians can be different from mine.

Conclusion and future perspectives

  • The finished works capture the diversity that characterizes the group, and, in my opinion, a new and exciting musical expression has emerged.
  • Furthermore, I have gained important experiences that can form the basis for new fruitful, creative collaborations both across the fields of study at RAMA and in my active professional work.

The four pieces

Se Rasmus Birks poster om projektet