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Musical gesture and the performer : an approach to the preparation of late twentieth-century solo cello music for performance

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Ryan, SL (1998) Musical gesture and the performer : an approach to the preparation of late twentieth-century solo cello music for performance. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

With a limited playing tradition as a point of reference, the performer of late twentieth-century solo cello music is often confronted by preparing for performance, works created from unfamiliar compositional techniques and languages. The challenge for the performer is to communicate the often confusing or unclear intentions of the composer whilst maintaining their own musical integrity. The aim of this research i to offer the performer of this genre of music, a practical, problem-solving approach to interpretation that encourages the performer to develop individual thought while understanding the parameters of the composition. The theory of musical gesture has been chosen as a way of understanding music of the late twentieth-century primarily because it is a fundamental musical construct of both composition and performance. In this research, musical gesture is defined as a composite, high-level musical structure created in each instance, by a unique combination of musical constituents. It is the shape of the musical structure, it dictates technical demands, it drives the musical energy of music and projects the character and meaning of music.
A Catalogue of Gestural Inquiry is presented as a point of inspiration and reference, from which the performer is encouraged to define, segment and describe the functions of the musical gestures within the structural hierarchies of the music. An adapted Glossary of Gestural Types is used to formally articulate this gestural functioning. Through this process of experimentation, the performer is familiarised with the interaction and function of the musical constituents and can come to a conclusive and meaningful interpretation of the music. The intended result is that decisions regarding specific technical issues, which are addressed while learning the notes, rhythm, dynamics and articulation integrate with the process of understanding the music's formal structure, gestural functioning, energy flow and character. For the performer, this has the potential to facilitate the goal of freedom of expression while conforming to the parameters of the composition. The large-scale musical context of particular relevance to this discussion is solo cello music of the late twentieth-century. An interpretation, that includes a recording, practice score and detailed discussion of Keith Humble's A Little Sonata in Two Parts for solo cello (1993) is offered as an example of this process. This example illustrates that a performer's clarity of gestural functioning can lead to a consistent, meaningful and accurate interpretation in performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Music, Violoncello music
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Scores and musical excerpts in back pocket. Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (M.Mus.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references. Contents: Cassette 1. Postgraduate recital : Monday 24 November 1997 / Stephanie Ryan, cello -- Cassette 2. Recording of Keith Humble's A little sonata in two parts / Stephanie Ryan, cello

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:19
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 05:28
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