Dialogues: Analysis and Performance is a symposium dedicated to the analysis and performance of contemporary music, highlighting scholarship and artistry that engages with these areas. The symposium aims to encourage greater sensitivity to what the analytical and performance communities can offer one another in the domains of research and practice. The symposium features keynote papers, recitals, and workshops delivered by invited guests, and papers and lecture recitals solicited through an international call. These offerings exemplify the variegated nature of research dissemination in music and seek to create an equitable balance between written and non-written scholarship.
The symposium convenes artists and scholars-especially those that focus on contemporary music-to spur interdisciplinary dialogue on topics such as structural analysis, criticism, interpretation, technology, performance practice, and embodied knowledge. Through this dialogue, shared strategies can be developed for the analysis, criticism, and performance of music that respects equally the performer, the work, and everything in between.
The symposium's initial edition was held in a hybrid format, October 7-9, 2021, at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music.
Keynote performances, presentations, and workshops were given by (click links for videos):
Arritmia Percussion Ensemble (Mexico)
Andreas Borregaard (Norwegian Academy of Music)
Claire Chase (Harvard University)
Russell Hartenberger and Ryan McClelland (University of Toronto)
Robert Hasegawa (McGill University) with Kevin Gironnay and Alex Tibbits (Montreal)
Daphne Leong (University of Colorado Boulder)
Steven Schick (University of California San Diego)
University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble (Aiyun Huang, Director)
Conference Organizers: Ben Duinker (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto) and Aiyun Huang (Associate Professor and Head of Percussion, University of Toronto)
Program Committee: Andreas Borregaard, Michèle Duguay, Ben Duinker (ex officio), Robert Hasegawa, Aiyun Huang, and Ryan McLelland
This event was made possible with the generous support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), The U of T Faculty of Music, and the office of the U of T Vice President (International).
Abstracts (click links for presentation videos where available)
Dashon Burton's Song Sermon: Corporeal Liveness and the Solemnizing Breath
Richard Beaudoin (Dartmouth College)
Singing is a form of exhaling, with every pitched note made possible by an unpitched inhale. But do audible breath sounds count as music? An analysis of Dashon Burton's 2015 recording of the song sermon "He Never Said a Mumberlin' Word" employs micro-temporal spectrographic measurements to document the interaction between sung notes and audible breathes working together to express a lyric. This study elevates - and celebrates - the sound of Burton's breathing as expressively co-equal to his pitches and lyrics. It proceeds from the origins of Burton's version of this celebrated spiritual, to an inclusive census of all sounds that appear on the track, to millisecond-level measurements of the rhythm across the five sung stanzas, and finally to spectrograms of his individual inhales, including the solemnizing breath that inaugurates the final stanza of the work. Part of a larger project devoted to sounds made by the bodies of performers, this research expands on writings by Kimberly Bain, William Cheng, Jennifer Iverson, and Ellie Hisama regarding what counts as music, and who does the counting. Bringing their ideas to bear on recording analysis demonstrates the expressive nature of corporeal liveness and documents the loss incurred when audible bodies are erased, ignored, or silenced. All sounds deserve recognition, and the suppression of breath sounds - a common and lucrative practice in the recording industry - deprives listeners of unique types of intimacy and musical understanding.
(Re)constructing an instrument: Defamiliarization and work-specific techniques in Pierluigi Billone's Mani. Gonxha
Noam Bierstone (Montreal)
Pierluigi Billone is one of the most important figures in the development of Western contemporary percussion music in the 21st century. His works have revolutionized percussion writing in a way that has challenged percussionists to develop new skills and capacities, and has contributed to the development of a new performance practice. This practice, which can be described as a post-percussive, advances further than a simple notion of extended techniques for percussionists. Rather, it can be understood as a practice that abandons the fundamental concepts of what is typically considered as percussion, making its original characteristics practically unrecognizable. Billone's percussion solo Mani. Gonxha (2011) is emblematic of a post-percussive practice, eschewing the assumed use of stick or mallets in favour of two Tibetan singing bowls held in the performer's hands. The bowls are used to extract a rich soundscape featuring a variety of impacts, timbres, resonances, and harmonics that one would not imagine could be produced by such objects. Mani. Gonxha requires the performer to embrace the defamiliarization of instrumental technique and the development of work-specific techniques in the process of learning and performing the piece, essentially constructing an instrument and its playing techniques for the purpose of the work. This lecture-recital will present the concepts of defamiliarization and work-specific techniques in the context of Mani. Gonxha, and detail how they can be applied to a variety of situations to allow a performer to re-familiarize themselves with an instrument in a manner that forms a deeper connection to a work.
Performing Corporate Culture: Analyzing Meta-Narratives and Online Interactivity Through Quigital
Eliot Britton (University of Toronto), Kevin McPhillips, David Arbez, and Patrick Hart (independent)
Quigital. A polished "international technology corporation" that partners with arts organizations and ensembles to present interactive performance art powered by big data. Toronto's Amadeus Choir's 2021 Smart Home product launch left their audiences stunned, with many asking the same question: "Is this real?" This paper unravels the tangled technological discourse and corporate aesthetics of Quigital, a subversive framing device and platform for collaborative creation and interactive performance. It outlines the origins of the project by addressing the intersecting roles of creator, designer, performer and audience member. More specifically, this paper examines Quigital's co-opting of commercial collaboration, analysis, design technologies and their implications in the musical language, performance and audience reception. Finally, unpacking Quigital's deeply embedded aesthetic and technological infrastructure reveals novel interactions between the score, text, code, design assets and performer. An analysis of the non-linear, collaborative relationships between these elements provides a model for creating similar works. Quigital's manipulation of a mutually understood code hidden in plain sight approaches what Limor Shifman refers to as hypersignification. The language of corporate culture and branding lives and dies by the uncanny ability to draw attention and manipulate behaviour while simultaneously vanishing into the ubiquity of the audiovisual landscape. This cultivation of technologically amplified metanarrative lies at the heart of Quigital's success and its ability to be both approachable, subversive and deeply disturbing.
Violinistic Effort in Bach's C Major Largo (Sonata No. 3, BWV 1005)
Christa Cole (Indiana University)
In teaching, practicing, and performing J.S. Bach's beloved Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, practitioners devote great care to finessing multiple-stops, bowings, and open strings. In this paper, I draw on my intimate violinistic knowledge of this repertoire to explore how attending to these three features facilitates performer-analyst reciprocity in the Largo from Sonata No. 3. To illustrate this relationship, I bring my contributions into dialogue with existing readings of this movement (Schenker ; Lester 2003; Schröder 2007; Ritchie 2016). In so doing, I participate in the growing number of conversations concerned with facilitating genuine dialogue and collaboration between performers and analysts (Schmalfeldt 1985; Le Guin 2006; Pierce 2007; Leong 2019). In my analysis, I first assign an intensity value to each multiple-stop, revealing that measures with greater intensity correspond with structurally significant cadences. To complement this synoptic view, I assess the "feel" of the four quadruple-stops, revealing radically different effort qualities for each. I then create a rhythmic reduction based on the bowing of Bach's notated slurs, elucidating a tension between meter and harmony I have long felt while playing this movement. Finally, I compare two structural cadences, considering how aspects of the violin's resonance conflict with Schenker's performance recommendations for this movement. By highlighting a variety of interpretive possibilities for each of these issues, I demonstrate how analytical and performer-oriented perspectives can support or contradict one other, as well as offer their own unique insights.
Pacing, Performance, and Perception in Alice Ping Yee Ho's Angst!!
Hannah Davis-Abraham (University of Toronto)
This paper examines how performer decisions regarding musical pacing and expressive timing can impact listener perceptions of a musical work, through a case study of Angst!! (2000), composed by Alice Ping Yee Ho and premiered by soprano Janice Jackson. Described by Ho as a "reaction to the myth of the inferiority of women", this work for solo soprano "express[es] the fear and anxiety that women encounter". Angst!! includes fluctuating time signatures, long-held notes of varying durations, and recurring motives that enter at unpredictable times, which, when combined, can complicate a listener's ability to discern consistent meter and/or predict future musical events. David Huron (2006) theorizes that when a musical work conforms to a regular rhythmic framework, listeners can internally group patterns and predict what follows. But what happens when a work such as Angst!! has an irregular pattern of events, and further, what impact might this have on performer and listener interpretations? Using a video recording of Angst!!, I examine how Jackson's performance conveys the anxiety expressed by the protagonist. I follow the examples of Mitchell Ohriner (2014; 2012), who focuses on performers' roles in determining pacing, particularly through note-grouping tendencies and use of rubato, as well as Danuta Mirka's (2009) adaptation of Jackendoff's processor model for determining meter. I expand on this work by discussing the affective impact of pacing, and suggest that Jackson's performance of Ho's score creates a confounding listening experience that reflects the work's themes of anxiety, fear, and realization of power.
Problem as Possibility: Experimental Notation as Nexus of Concept and Praxis, Theorist and Performer
Kate Doyle (Rutgers University-Newark) and Agnese Toniutti (independent)
What happens when a score becomes a site for dynamic exchange between theorists and performers - where conundrums generate new ideas and forms? We have worked at such a place in dealing with the experimental scores of Lucia Dlugoszewski, who sought innovative ways to notate sound forms from 1950 until her death in 2000. As we sorted through Dlugoszewski's graphic scores (held at the Library of Congress and the Archives of American Art), it became clear that they hold numerous challenges for performance - pitch arrangements do not match the composer's descriptions, inconsistencies in graphic signs are frequent, instructions press the performer beyond the limits of even extended techniques. Through our dialogue about these problems, we developed an analysis that considers Dlugoszewski's notation an attempt to capture what the composer simultaneously regarded as not able to be captured - the nuances of sonority. We began to understand the score(s) as a documentation of logic that is not present as much as a logic that is, as a kind of notation in reverse, as an ideal existing beyond the domain of practical execution. We each produced new forms in response to this analysis that reflect our primary work, but our dialogue continues as an integral aspect of both respective and mutual projects. We propose to perform a concise version of this dialogue as means to openly explore the possibilities of exchange between theorist and performer in the negotiation of concept and praxis in experimental notation.
100 ways to say I Love You: an exploration of diction, timbre and texture in Ana Sokolovic's "Love Songs"
Tiffany Du Mouchelle (University at Buffalo)
Most Western Art Music singers develop analytical tools to learn their repertoire though a process of learning that includes many inherited biases. Pitch is most often placed as a primary focus, possibly connecting through an understanding of traditional harmony and voice leading. Rhythm is secondary, and tertiary components include most everything else: dynamics, phrasing, text meaning, tempo, and various articulations. Young singers are championed for their ability to sing in tune while advanced singers are lauded for their ability to perform beyond the page. There exists subtlety in performance that is often considered instinctual, and therefore is largely ignored in pedagogy. An exploration of the sounds of the words and their timbre, texture, and articulation offers a deeper consideration with the timbral, textural, and dramatic palette available within a composition. Relating to the sounds of the words and their sonic properties, in addition to the meaning of the words, offers a pathway to intuited subtleties that can be taught, learned and developed. Applicable to any vocal work, including spoken word compositions, analysis in this capacity, can especially assist in the rendering of contemporary art music, where text is not always utilized in traditional ways. Sokolovic's unaccompanied mono-drama for voice, "Love Songs" (in 100 languages) features a wide assortment of text setting: lyrical, dramatic, textural, and rhythmic. Using excerpts from Sokolovic's composition, we explore diction as a means to direct performative decisions of timbre, noise, rhythm, and drama.
An analysis of Helmut Lachenmann's Pression as an 'etude' for performer and composer
Ellen Fallowfield (Hochschüle für Musik Basel)
Helmut Lachenmann's Pression for solo cello (1969, revised 2010) has become a 'classic' of both modern cello repertoire and conservatoire analysis classes for its musical quality and its exploration and notation of extended cello technique. In this discussion, I consider Pression as an etude for performer and composer. I use an analysis of the work to extract parameters of actions and sound within the score. I present evidence of an etude-like approach whereby Lachenmann explores these parameters and their interrelationship as scales: perhaps as compositional learning, perhaps as instruction for performers dealing with unfamiliar techniques. Within the work, all sound-generating actions on the instrument are valid, and precisely controllable. Indeed, in Pression, the 'beautiful, full' cello tone is, according to Lachenmann, just a 'special case' within the various possibilities of bow speed, pressure, and point of contact. This demands a consciousness from the performer, and an understanding of the physics of movement and sound (in some cases, this is explicitly described in the notation, e.g., instructing the performer to increase loudness by increasing speed of movement). I analyse the piece according to the parameters of sound and action, and show how this analysis can inform interpretation. In the second edition of Pression, the sound of the piece is more-or-less unchanged. Thus, the new score is a rare example of a re-notation of an existing work; an interesting analytical prospect. I compare the two versions and show how the changes, from the clarity of notation to the addition of bar lines and expressive markings, point to Lachenmann's priorities 40 years after the original composition. I perform extracts of the piece throughout the lecture to illustrate the discussion, and end with a full performance.
Sound challenges presented by the contemporary flute repertoire: practicing with the help of real-time audio descriptors
Rodrigo Manuel Frade and Sérgio Freire (Federal University of Minas Gerais)
The works for solo flute written from the mid-twentieth century present a diversity of sounds hitherto unexplored, revealing new challenges for mastering the instrument. To help flute professionals and students improve the performance of these sounds, we have developed an interactive tool based on audio descriptors in Max that offers visual feedback in real-time. These low-level descriptors rely on representations of sound in the domains of time (the actual audio stream, RMS curves) and frequency (spectrum, detection of spectral peaks). While widely used visual representations such as spectrograms can illustrate several relevant aspects of sounds, our tool allows the visualization of additional features: attack profile, granulation (Schaeffer's "friction grain"), number of significant spectral components, stability of the most prominent spectral peak, intrinsic dissonance, spectral centroid, spectral spread, and fundamental frequency. We selected excerpts from relevant pieces from the contemporary repertoire to practice four types of sound manipulation techniques with the help of our tool: (1) stability of multiphonics; (2) vibratos (variation of amplitude, frequency, speed, and shape); (3) different types of attacks (natural, staccato, pizzicato, jet whistle, tongue ram, "shakuhachi", and voiced); (4) microtones. Initial experiments showed that the employment of descriptors supported the preparation of contemporary pieces, not only depicting and helping to master sound subtleties but also highlighting structural aspects of the music pieces which are not evident in the respective scores. We hope to refine our tool to cover a wider pallet of sounds and help flutists improve sound control in their performances.
Reproducing Subjectivities: Performance and Analysis According to Theodor Adorno, Carl Flesch, and Rudolf Kolisch
Keir GoGwilt (UC San Diego)
In 1939, the violinist Rudolf Kolisch gave a series of lectures at the New School advocating a philosophy of performance in which all interpretive decisions derived from analysis of the musical work's construction. Kolisch claimed that this approach would "objectivate" musical thought and "dispense with subjective interpretation." Sixteen years earlier, the violin pedagogue Carl Flesch metaphorically dissected the performing body into subjective versus objective parts and positions: for example, holding one's head further from the violin allowed one to obtain an "objective," critical distance from one's sound. However, Flesch warns against a strict adherence to this objective position, which, despite its pedagogical value, risks "repress[ing] any inner impulse." In both Flesch's and Kolisch's accounts, the performing subject is schematized in service of the ideal reproduction of the musical work. Adorno's monograph on performance, originally intended to be co-authored with Kolisch, describes interpretation as a dialectic similarly pulled between the abstraction of musical notation and the subjective, intuitive powers of musical gesture and mimesis. Bringing Adorno's argument into constellation with Flesch and Kolisch, I argue that these texts illustrate a less studied aspect of musical modernism: the rationalization of not only compositional structures, but the bodies reproducing them. I bring together intellectual genealogies undergirding these 20th-century discourses: Hegelian phenomenologies of the subjective/objective, formalist aesthetics focusing on compositional structure, and instrumental pedagogies of interpretation and bodily technique. Following the trajectory of these histories, this paper underscores the fraught position of the 20th-century performing subject, who appears alternately as a creative artist and a mechanism of musical reproduction.
Dynamic dialogues in the Verlaine settings of Poldowski: Exploring performance-analysis intersections of phrasing across voice, piano and poetry
Sarah Hall and Gretta Sayers (Brandon University)
Composing under the pseudonym Poldowski, Lady Dean Paul (born Irène Régine Wieniawski, 1879) was a popular figure in London, Brussels, and New York musical circles from the early twentieth century, until her death in 1932. Of her extant music, Poldowski's songs are perhaps the most well-known. Her affinity for the poetry of Verlaine is reflected in twenty-two mélodies, more than any of her contemporaries, including Debussy and Fauré. Poldowski's song settings reveal her desire for textual clarity, writing declamatory yet lyrical vocal lines, rich with nuance and subtleties of imagery. David Mooney identifies Poldowski's sensitive structural and harmonic responses to poetry, which often create varied phrase lengths for the singer and pianist. Her distinctive response to poetic voice and the pacing of poetic declamation, brought forth songs equally rich in dramatic spontaneity and profound feeling-changing swiftly in response to a busy poetic scene or evoking a persistent mood through repeated patterns or motives. Our study of her settings of Verlaine's "Spleen" and "Colombine" explores Poldowski's approach to voice and text setting by analyzing three perspectives of phrasing-melodic, accompanimental, and poetic-and how they intersect in each song. Melodic phrasing reflects the standpoint of the singer, accompanimental phrasing the standpoint of the pianist, and poetic phrasing the poem's metrical and rhyme schemes. A study of the relationships within, among, and across these three perspectives reveals Poldowski's sensitive musical responses to poetic imagery, proportion, and point of view, and brings to light her approach to the evocation of the Symbolist poetic aesthetic-at once illusive and concrete, suggestive and precise, wholly "modern", yet rooted in convention. These dualities, in turn, form the basis for a dialogue between analysis and performance, illuminating dynamic new perspectives in both.
Analysis Through Performer Interpretations of Open Graphic Notation
Nolan Hildebrand (University of Toronto)
Can musical analysis aid in discovering perceptible musical identities in the interpretation of open graphic scores over subsequent performances? Although Virginia Anderson successfully illustrates how Earle Brown's graphically scored work Four Systems (1954) can retain "a distinct identity" (Anderson 2013, 132) over subsequent performances, more convoluted open graphic scores like Mark Applebaum's The Metaphysics of Notation (2008) offer a plethora of "correct" interpretations that "extend toward infinite regress" (Subotnik 1996). In this environment of infinite interpretational possibilities asking performers to explain their musical decisions is perhaps the most authentic and "true" type of open graphic score analysis. Beginning with the recital portion of my lecture recital, two players will perform short interpretations of my piece Study in Open Graphic Notation #2 on a piano. To keep performances authentic, the second performer will not be able to hear the first performer as to not be influenced by them. During the performances, the open graphic score will be projected on a screen for audience members. The lecture portion will begin by answering the performer's questions to gain a better understanding of how their musical decisions correspond to the graphic score. Ideally, the performer's answers will illustrate the similarities and differences in their subjective interpretations. These subjective interpretations will be used as the basis for an analysis of the graphic score. This lecture recital will serve as an intersection between performers and music theorists by exploring how the concerns, choices, and pursuits of music performance inform the practice of music analysis and vice versa. Using the two subjective interpretations as the basis for analysis will also explore the challenges that arise when attempting to analyze open graphic scores that "aim to avoid specificity and standardization" (Stone 1980, 103).
Shall We Dance? How the Events Leading Up to John Cage's HPSCHD, 1969 informed Later Performances
Stephen Husarik, Ph.D. (University of Arkansas - Fort Smith)
Unpublished personal correspondence, unique one-of-a-kind images and personal interviews with John Cage form a basis for this lecture on the composer's largest work HPSCHD, 1969. Of particular note are Cage's remarks about the celebrated 4' 33 (1952), the Roy Murphy Event (1967), Musicircus (1968), and HPSCHD (1969) that offer insight into spatial relationships of audience, performers and contemporary world outlooks. Events leading up to HPSCHD are presented alongside numerous images from Cage's early productions to illustrate the performance, visual and sound relationships that freed audience-members from their traditional roles and turned them into dance-performers. Cage's observations about audiences in Europe and America give insight into why his spatially-conceived collages were more effective when produced in the USA rather than abroad. Labeled the "American Contradiction," Cage found that aleatoric events in America often resulted in desirable independent simultaneous audience behaviors. To "do your own thing" despite what others were doing around you may be considered a maxim for the time. Cage's pronouncement that HPSCHD was "like a work of art" helps us to understand the parallels between high culture and popular expression in the late 1960s-an understanding that gives rise to better performances of HPSCHD today. Along with spatial descriptions of the first production, the author delves into issues while mounting two recent performances of Cage's HPSCHD.
Creativity in the Interpretation and Analysis of Jörg Widmann's Fantasie
Seok Hee Jang (University of North Texas)
The field of musical analysis has expanded far beyond textualist positivism from the past half-century, yet the role of analysis as it pertains to interpretation is still debated. I maintain that the objective of a performance should be to apply analytical and musicological studies combined with the interpreter's creativity and conception of the work to produce an informed and authentic musical event. It is especially interesting to apply this lens to the works of composer-performers, such as Jörg Widmann and his 1993 work Fantasie for Clarinet Solo. While existing literature provides analysis to guide the performance of Widmann's clarinet works, they do not utilize recordings of the composer performing his own work. As an active clarinet virtuoso, Widmann often performs his own compositions, but he marks Fantasie as an important part of his oeuvre by virtue of how often he performs it - one may access at least five different performances by Widmann online. Surprisingly, this information is imprecise and contradictory, as he sometimes goes against his own printed instructions. Through an analysis of the composer's performances, one may identify which elements of composition lend themselves to fluid interpretation. In this lecture-recital, I will illustrate these elements at length, using excerpts from Widmann's recordings as well as my interpretation. Through this, I will suggest guidelines for an authentic approach to performing his Fantasie while utilizing the interpreter's creativity to go beyond the printed page. Such guidelines may in turn be used by theorists to design models for the compositions of composer-performers.
Deciphering Rzewski's The Fall of the Empire
Hoi Tong Keung (University of Toronto)
The Fall of the Empire (2007), an eight-movement work for speaking percussionist by Frederic Rzewski, depicts the internal collapse of an empire (Lane 2008). Merely analyzing Rzewski's compositional techniques does not help performers understand the deeper meaning of the work. Complementing the existing literature on Rzewski's music (Asplund 1995), which primarily focuses on political themes and compositional processes, this lecture recital demonstrates how text analysis helps guide the performer's interpretive decisions, enabling them to deliver a convincing performance of the work. By performing selected movements of the work, I illuminate two levels of text analysis-the text alone and the relationship between text and music. On the first level, each movement's text informs its narrative theme and instrument choices. For example, in "Act 4" for open instrumentation, the performer-protagonist only cares about their car. Hence, many performers have picked car parts as instruments. On the second level, the text-music relationship in each movement influences how the performer speaks. In "Act 1," Rzewski alternates passages of spoken text and notated percussion playing, with the voice speaking in free time. By contrast, he notates the text rhythm explicitly in "Act 7"; the percussion part complements the spoken text. Rzewski's music has been under-researched despite his fame in the concert hall. The long duration and gargantuan instrument setup of The Fall of the Empire intimidate performers. Aided by analysis, performers can overcome these challenges, understand the empire collapse that Rzewski portrays, and present it to the audience.
Referencing Gender Discourses: A Comparative Inquiry Into Performances of Elena Kats Chernin's Chamber Opera Iphis (1997 / 2005 / 2019)
Felisa Mesuere (Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media)
"What shall we do then? Lets do the lot!" - With this final, ambiguous statement, Richard Toop concludes his libretto for Iphis, a chamber opera by Elena-Kats-Chernin premiered in Sydney in 1997. Based on a narrative from Ovid's Metamorphoses, the opera centres around a girl named Iphis who is raised as a boy by her mother to be protected from a misogynist father. Iphis' gender identity conflict comes to a dramatic head once the teenager gets engaged with Ianthe, a young woman from a well-off family. While Ovid solved the conflict by Iphis' deus ex maquina metamorphosis into a man, Toop and Kats Chernin leave the couple's fate decisively unresolved. This consciously placed gap demands a positioning and, thereby, assigns special relevance to the opera's performance level. In this paper, I inquire into the distinct performative approaches taken towards Iphis' finale. Besides the opera's world premiere in 1997, two further productions are included in my analysis - the 2005 staging in Freiburg, Germany and the German-language premiere in Hanover from 2019. To decipher the performative moves towards the opera's ending, I argue, special attention must be paid to influences by queer discourses in contemporary film and pop culture. Parting from a dual perspective as musicologist and assistant director in 2019, I draw from source material consisting of (audio-)recordings, photographs, and press reviews to elucidate the nexus between performance, reception, and cultural discourse. Therefore, a comparative case-study including three different points in time over twenty five years enables a differentiated view on how the influence of such shifting discourses played out in detail: specifically, concerns with cross dressing and gay marriage in 1997, homophobia and metrosexuality in 2005, and gender identity and fluidity in 2019.
Together in unison: the case of "sonic bridges" in two songs by Kaija Saariaho
Cecilia Oinas (Sibelius Academy - University of the Arts Helsinki)
This paper discusses the ways in which sharing the same musical lines, such as unisons or pitch repetitions, increases intensity and the sense of bonding in performance. While in traditional music theory, unison lines are mostly approached either from a textural or contrapuntal point of view, I propose that they also have another, more performative dimension which I hereby call as "sonic bridges". After presenting preliminary examples of sonic bridges, I will examine two songs by Kaija Saariaho, "Parfum de l'instant" from Quatre instants and "Rauha" (Peace) from Leinolaulut (Leino Songs). In both songs, a single line is constantly alternating between the singer and the pianist, sometimes in strict unison, other times in a more repetitive manner. Interestingly, while both songs address issues of loneliness and yearning, the sonic bridges between the singer and pianist might suggest togetherness instead: in "Parfum de l'instant", nearly all material between the singer and the pianist begin from the same pitch. In "Rauha", the sonic bridges are more blurred as the piano's pedal is sustained throughout. To conclude, I propose that Saariaho's use of sonic bridges not only enable two very different instruments - piano and voice - to blend in together in an aurally exciting way but also strengthen the empathy and bonding between singer and pianist, which further increases to bring out intimate, multisensory quality of these songs.
Expressive Timing in the Performance of the Korean Folk Song Arirang
Sa Ra Park (Texas State University)
Arirang is one of the favorite Korean folk songs. The date of its origin is not clear. However, at the end of the 19th century, Arirang began to spread throughout the country, while many versions and variations were created. Among them, "Bonjo Arirang" [standard Arirang] is the most well-known version. Each Arirang variation may be performed in many different styles. In this paper, three recordings are compared. Two of them were performed by Gayageum (Korean plucked zither instrument), which has twelve strings. The third recording was played by Geomungo, the Korean plucked zither instrument with six strings. For this performance analysis, the freeware Sonic Visualiser and Vamp plugins are used. In order to identify the timing of the three recordings, all onsets, which are detected by Vamp plugins and by the author, are collected. This audio file data is exported to Excel for comparison. The performer of Recording I plays the eight notes almost equally, which represents another version of the notation. In comparison, the performances of Recording II and Recording III are similar to the version in 9/8 time. Originally, Arirang is accompanied by the traditional rhythmic pattern Semachi jandan. Therefore, it would be worthy to examine if these performances suit to the Semachi jandan. This paper will present a detailed analysis of rhythm/meter by demonstrating a computer-assisted, performance-practice analytical approach to non-Western music (in this case a Korean folk song). In addition, this paper aims to explore factors that would influence the different performances.
The Quality of the Relational - Challenges in a Triangulated Analysis of Current Theatre Music
Tamara Yasmin Quick (Ludwig-Maximillians-University Munich)
More and more frequently, theatre musicians and sound designers appear on the cast lists of contemporary theatre productions. They develop music during the rehearsal process making it an almost indispensable part of theatrical productions - whether in the form of songs or instrumental music, produced live on stage in the performative process as a theatrical action, or digitally pre-produced. As part of the staging concept, it has a direct impact on the scenic realization of a play. In contrast to the abundance and artistic-aesthetic relevance of today's theatre music is its hitherto very sparse recognition in academic discourse. This leads to a significant lack of analytical tools to explore this current artistic practice methodologically. Central goals and challenges in the analysis of theatre music represent a rethinking of theatre music from its status as incidental music to its specific quality of a relational music. Furthermore, new methods of analysis have to be developed in order to study and comprehend a music that can only rarely be captured 'on paper': Theatre music as an artistic form of expression demands to be analysed in terms of its theatrical and performative content for and in a theatre production. That means, in relation to a production, and in its aesthetic relationship to the stage action. Against the backdrop of the theoretical discourse on "music as performance" e.g. by Nicholas Cook, Christopher Small and Philip Auslander, we created in the research project I work in a triangulated system of analysis (performance analysis, ethnographic rehearsal analysis and practice as research) that I would like to present in my paper presentation. Furthermore I would like to discuss if this could be also valuable for the analysis of other contemporary music genres.
Taking it off the page: Interpretation and performance-driven analysis
Lindsey Reymore and Jacqueline Leclair (McGill University)
Successful musical interpretation in performance involves the ability to go beyond the written notation, to "take the music off the page," so to speak. Music theoretical analysis often stops at written notation, where performers only begin their interpretive processes. Parameters that are of central concern to performers but are not captured by the page, including rubato, style, phrasing, vibrato, and timbre, rarely factor strongly into theoretical analysis. Moreover, performers often consciously change notated parameters such as dynamics and tempo. During this conversation between performer and theorist, we address two questions: 1) how theoretical analysis can benefit from incorporating interpretive decisions and results, and 2) how performers can benefit from implementing such expanded theoretical perspectives. We call this analytical approach, combining on-the-page and off-the-page considerations, "performance-driven analysis." Leclair will perform excerpts from Music for Pat (2002) for solo oboe by composer Allen Shawn (b. 1948) both "on-the-page" and "off-the-page" as a basis for discussion. Reymore will then propose analyses of the excerpts performed both ways to demonstrate how off-the-page parameters can significantly influence perception of musical structure. We conclude that this intersection of interpretation and analysis has applications and benefits in both performance and music theory pedagogies. Implementing this type of performance-analysis intersection in the classroom and in the studio offers great potential for engaging students, inspiring them to explore theoretical applications to their musical interpretations and to deepen their understanding of music theory through study of off-the-page musical parameters.
Navigating Technological Obsolescence: Analysis and Reconstruction of Stockhausen's Mikrophonie I
Timothy Roth (University of Toronto)
This paper outlines methods for preparing and interpreting Karlheinz Stockhausen's sextet Mikrophonie I (1964) for tam-tam and electronics. This work faces significant accessibility issues as the recommended models of both the tam-tam and the electronic filter for the work are extremely rare and expensive to acquire. Mikrophonie I is part of a broader group of older works for live electronics that are becoming increasingly difficult to perform due to the obsolescence of the required technology. Today, performers commonly recreate the necessary electronics using software such as the graphic programming language Max/MSP. Wetzel (2006) describes a three-stage model for this process that involves analysis, reconstruction and performance of the work. Using Mikrophonie I as a case study, I expand on Wetzel's model by further exploring how analysis can inform performances of works with obsolete electronics. In order to address the accessibility issues facing Mikrophonie I, I present various strategies for reconstruction. I describe the process of constructing a digital filter in Max/MSP based off of the first Mikrophonie I patch shown by Christopher Burns (2002) and compare different interface options for using the filter in performance. Through analyses of recordings by the Stockhausen Ensemble (1965) and the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish (2014) I show how creative interpretations can help ensembles overcome the perceived shortcomings of their available tam-tam. Along with informing future interpretations of Mikrophonie I, the methods described in this paper inform future reconstructions of works in the ever-increasing body of repertoire facing issues of obsolescent technology.
Companion Thinking in Music Practice
Jodie Rottle and Hannah Reardon-Smith (Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University)
We understand that our thinking is always in company. By musicking (Small, 1998) with others, we situate ourselves amongst an entangled web of human and nonhuman collaborators; to recognise the external and internal influences is to become a companion. Our concept of companion thinking stems from Ahmed's (2017) detailing of companion texts, which may "prompt you to hesitate or to question the direction in which you are going, or they might give you a sense that in going the way you are going, you are not alone" (p. 16). Companionship implies with: In this paper, we discuss how companions are vital to our improvisatory music practices by considering the collaborative relationships in which we operate. From each of our perspectives, we analyse our Artistic Research as performers and improvisers and consider the processes of making music with beyond-human entities. Our former selves, experiences, environments, and nonhuman critters and objects are always-already part of our music-making practices and communities. Performance is thus ecological, political, and personal; it is through this lens that we analyse the entanglements of our human and nonhuman communities and how this concept can stretch beyond a music practice. This paper presentation includes an investigation of what it means to be a companion and a discussion of a Practice-based case study in which we implement companion thinking. As friends, collaborators, and companions to one another, we each present our individual concepts of companionship through our own improvisation practices, addressing themes of vibrancy (Bennett, 2010; Cusick, 2013); activism (brown, 2017); Object-Oriented Ontology (Morton, 2013; Harman, 2018); curious practice (Haraway, 2016); and failure (Halberstam, 2011). We then analyse the entanglements of our work in performance. This process of thinking, making, and doing (Tomlinson, 2021) offers the opportunity to consider an intersection of analysis and performance through an improvisatory musical practice.
Listening as Cambodian American Memory Work
Brian V. Sengdala (Cornell University)
By remembering a narrative that is both intimately personal and entirely foreign, Listening as Cambodian American Memory Work attunes us to performance at a refugee camp (Khao I Dang) as a site of what I call transgressive memory work-a tactic which remembers Life in the face of erasure. The performance of songs at the Thai refugee camp, Khao I Dang, created a space of the refugees' own. In performance's requirement of presence (Taylor), we are reminded by displaced Cambodians that they were there. The inclusion of musical materials in children's textbooks (co-written by UNHCR, Thai, Cambodian educators, and even children themselves) were therefore a multilayered act of transgressive memory work. Reading these texts against and alongside the historical and political context from these materials' origins c. 1979 to my present-day remembering, I am reminded in the work of critical refugee studies to center lives of and understand the stakes of refugees and refugeehood. The work in this paper points to my upcoming co-organized public project called The Bamboo City Archive. This project engages the survivors who went through the Thai refugee camp and their families who are seeking to remember these stories with them. I use autoethnography as a means to discuss the potentials of music and memory in remembering my own family's history. In asking what music does with performance theory through the gauge of a public musicology, this paper prioritizes what song performance can do to move towards community healing.
Text and Absence: A Performer's Exploration of Kirchner's Five Pieces For Piano
Abigail Sin (Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore)
Leon Kirchner's Five Pieces For Piano (1987) was adapted from his song cycle The Twilight Stood (1982) for soprano and piano based on poems by Emily Dickinson. In re-working the material from the song cycle for solo piano, Kirchner omitted much of the vocal material, while retaining virtually all of the original piano part. The expressive power of the text and the vocal line was thus subsumed by the domineering piano writing. As a pianist, I have dearly loved and played Kirchner's Five Pieces for many years but have only recently been made familiar with the song cycle. I am interested in exploring the artistic potentialities of a performer "reverse engineering" Kirchner's transcription of his own material. I explore the dramatic tension and performance decisions that arise in comparing the solo piano material with the song cycle, particularly with regards to the implications of the text setting and its absence in the solo piano pieces. Some practical considerations include issues of rhetorical emphasis, pacing and tone colour. In this process of gleaning and evaluating information from the two scores, the values that inform both analysis and performance, and their intricately-linked relationship, are brought into greater relief. This lecture recital will feature demonstrations of my analysis and decision-making process as a performer, as well as performance excerpts of Kirchner's Five Pieces For Piano.
Tension in the Turn: Framing Tension and Release in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw
Jessica Sommer (Lawrence University)
Tension is easily definable in the physical, but tension in music is ultimately metaphorical. However, musical tension can map onto multiple strata of experience in musical performance, and in opera, can also be based on physical tension in the characters on stage. This project explores how Benjamin Britten and Myfanwy Piper use tension in these strata-tonality, instrumentation, plot, voice, bodies-in The Turn of the Screw. Considering tension in musical works with tonal frameworks has been explored by many authors, but atonal works have a less definable way of achieving tension (Teo 2020). In Britten's music the framework of tonality is evident (Rupprecht 2001, Seymour 2004), though his works are not traditionally tonal. Additionally, tension is incorporated through other avenues besides pitch, including overall sound: issues like temperament (Mead 2004), tuning, timbre, vocal quality (Seymour 2004), and instrumentation (DeThorne 2013, 2014; DeSouza 2017). Contextual issues, which combine pitch/sounding issues, narrative plot, and embodied action, also contribute to tension (Abbate 2004, Mead 1999, Clarke 2005). Three issues form the basis of this analysis: 1. Tonal tension, 2. Sounding issues beyond tonality, and 3. Contextualization of sounding issues and narrative, incorporating embodiment.
Analyzing Christian Wolff's Indeterminate Music through the Process of Performance
Jessica Stearns (University of North Texas)
In his indeterminate works, Christian Wolff grants the performer several freedoms and decision-making powers. These pieces, which he refers to as "alternatively notated scores," required the creation of new notation and resulted in works that produce a reactive improvisation between performers. One such score is For 1, 2, or 3 People (1964). The composition can be performed by one to three musicians using any combination of instruments. Musicians must respond to sounds produced by other players, making each performance unpredictable. Generally, scholarship has discussed indeterminate pieces from the listener's perspective or, if the work includes experimental notation, the appearance of the score. I argue that the most fruitful means of understanding any indeterminate work is to examine the process and experience of performing the piece. The performer's perspective encompasses both the sonic outcome of the score and the visual aspects of the notation and thus illuminates how these two facets interact. Though there is no standard methodology for analyzing indeterminate pieces, applying Gestalt psychology's principles of organization offers one means of understanding the process of performing such works. When applied to For 1, 2, or 3 People as an analytical approach, Gestalt principles reveal a conflict between the temporal spacing that the notation's visual elements imply and the temporal spacing in an actual performance. Uncovering these features adds a new dimension to the analytic discussion of Wolff's alternative notation and furthers our understanding of the complex processes involved in performing his scores and indeterminate music more broadly.
Performing Post-Tonal Metric Manipulations
James Sullivan (Michigan State University)
In her 2009 book, Danuta Mirka takes issue with Krebs's (1999) concept of subliminal dissonance. Her critique is based on performance practice: whereas Krebs maintains that the performer should subtly stress the notated meter in subliminally dissonant passages, Mirka argues that the performer should instead stress the dissonant meter. While Mirka restricts her critique to subliminal dissonance in 18th-century music, the debate generalizes to any repertoire in which any type of metrical dissonance contradicts the notated meter. In this paper, I make the case that Mirka's approach is a viable performance practice for post-tonal music. I focus on examples featuring the three types of metric manipulations that I have considered previously-imbroglio, close imitation, and imitative imbroglio (Sullivan 2021). Because these metric manipulations involve motivic parallelism, I further generalize a performance practice in which motivic repetitions receive parallel performative accentuation. I then consider the limits of this performance practice for examples that feature ambiguities in motivic parallelism and ambiguities in the metric profile of motives.
Analysis as improvisation or Romantic preluding at the keyboard today: an artistic research approach to intersecting analytic and performance practices
Victoria Tzotzkova (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Do performers analyze? Is it even a good idea for performers to analyze the music they play? In an effort to show rather than tell, this presentation traces a personal practice, where analytic "thinking" is part of the act of making sound: improvised preluding based on harmonic and motivic analysis and fashioned on Romantic preluding practices. Romantic pianism is often considered a "golden age" in the art of piano playing, but, as scholars have established, pianistic practices then and now have come to be distinct in many respects. One important shift is the role and place of improvisation, already ideologically problematic but still vibrant in the nineteenth century, and essentially extinct today. Preluding, or the practice of improvising as a way to introduce or connect repertoire pieces, forges a sort of middle ground between fully improvised and fully composed music. As such, it is an improvisational practice tightly bound up with the pieces of today's "standard repertoire", but resting on skills that today's pianistic practices have essentially foregone. This presentation takes an artistic research approach to preluding, articulating steps towards an embodied knowledge of preluding that rests about equally on analytic understanding and practical exercises developed at the keyboard. Drawing on historical and contemporary methods in keyboard harmony and improvisation, it ultimately argues for reclaiming preluding practices as a way to forge a creative dialogue with repertoire works, and cultivate access to a type a spontaneity that is firmly grounded in theoretical analysis and uniquely liberating in performance experience.
Considering Intercultural Collective Expression in Jazz/World Music Ensemble Performance
Andrés Vial (McGill University)
I am currently composing and rehearsing original music for my new percussion ensemble which features musicians from South America, North America, Europe, and West Africa. The ensemble members have diverse musical backgrounds in jazz, contemporary and folkloric music. Through the composition and rehearsal process, we have had many musical and cultural considerations to make vis-a-vis ensemble playing, score interpretation, and the role of improvisation in the music. For this project, questions of intercultural collective musical expression abound. As the principal composer for this ensemble, I have been asking myself the following questions:
1) How can I create a framework that will make it possible for all the musicians to express themselves, personally and culturally, while also bringing them outside of their comfort zones?
2) Some of the musicians do not read music, while others learn primarily from a score. How can I best compose pieces that can be learned by ear and memorized quickly by everyone in the ensemble, but still fulfill my compositional interests?
3) The African balafon (a gourd-resonated xylophone) is a featured instrument in the ensemble. It is typically only made to play tetratonic, pentatonic or heptatonic scales. How can I incorporate chromaticism and jazz harmony in a setting where some instruments have twelve notes to the octave, while others only have seven?
This lecture-recital will incorporate individual and collaborative autoethnographic findings drawn from the process of composing and rehearsing the music, as well as a filmed performance featuring several members of the ensemble.