(this research was submitted March 2019)
How can late-18th- and early-19th-century vocal techniques influence our way of experimenting with portamento use in Schubert’s violin music and how can we reinstate the practice in ways that are relevant for current listeners and players?
The voice and violin have always shared an intimate connection. Violin treatises from the late-18th and early-19th centuries consistently encourage violinists to imitate vocal techniques. My thesis explores this relationship via the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828), who revolutionised Lieder and used vocal techniques in his instrumental writing. Many fundamental vocal expressive devices, including portamento, have been lost in “modern” and “historically-informed” (HIP) singing and violin playing. My thesis aims to (1) understand the historical appropriateness of portamento in Schubert’s violin music and how different types of portamento work, (2) examine why the technique was lost, and (3) explore ways of reigniting it in today's musical aesthetic. I first analysed relevant written sources and early vocal and violin recordings, finding clear evidence of frequent and varied vocal and violin portamento use, clear links in portamento use between early-recorded singing and violin playing, and consistency between early-recorded portamenti and written sources from Schubert’s time. To understand why portamento was lost, I examined the wider phenomenon of style change in the 20th century and found that both recording technology and general 20th-century aesthetic changes encouraged “cleanness” and “repeatability” in music, thereby eradicating spontaneous and unique expressive devices like portamento. Finally, I researched innate emotional responses to music and portamento’s importance as an engaging communicative tool, and undertook my own artistic experimentation in early-19th-century music, collaborating with and surveying leading vocal and string 19th-century HIP practitioners to explore ways of making portamento expressive and relevant to modern musical practice and appreciation.
“What may have happened…" is a research driven by the desire to augment the sense of sharing in a decentralized improvisation-a creative musical situation in which the participants are in different locations. It focusses on extending the amount of communication channels in a decentralized improvisation setting—beyond the audible and visible. The aim will be not just adding extra layers of data exchange, but introducing various modes of interaction. This will be realized through the use of software and mobile devices.
The Master research “Embodied Bits” concerns how trans-human, post-digital and post-internet ideas relate to my Queer experience. It is, in a nutshell, an ongoing research on how the technological world has spilled over into the biological world and how Queer folks are front and centre when it comes to taking advantage of technological developments in order to realise their identities.
The research question is “How do we perform ourselves in the digital realm?”. Though it started as a research on the practicalities and aesthetics of internet/networked-based performances it quickly opened a Pandora’s Box of social inquiry and analysis. Performing ourselves means performing ethnicity, gender, sexuality, cultural identity... There is an inevitability in drawing a direct connection between these topics and how do we, as singular and, paradoxically, plural human beings within ourselves engage with modern day technology. Through technology we are able to build ourselves, to draft new identities, to build again if they no longer suit our needs.
As an artistic research, “Embodied Bits” looks into how digital media has influenced human experience and focuses on the experiences of non-normative bodies and identities, in which I include my own. These topics are interlaced with my own compositional and performative work, always informed and inspired by the previously mentioned ideas and historical context.
The main purpouse of this research is to find out how do students of classical department use recordings as a source of information for their daily practice and what kind of information they seek in those recordings that is helpfull for them. To get this a survey of ten question was disigned and shared through many methods on the students of the Koninklijik Conservatorium in The Hague. 24 students from varied specialities and courses answered the survey, and the collected data will be analysed
Orchestral auditions have become the main way to get into an orchestra. That is why preparing orchestral excerpts for auditions is a mandatory path to go through. In order to perfect my preparation of a selection of the most requested orchestra excerpts, I selected relevant etudes to support my practice. Together with my private teachers and youtube tutorials given by orchestral cellists around the world, I created a guide to help my practice. My goal was to find an approach that would not only support the technical demands of performing these excepts, but also create a better understanding of the difficulties while maintaining my own musicality.
How can the preparation of orchestral excerpts improve and develop my artistic and musical skills? What role do etudes play in this process?
While the commercial musical stream of "Latin American Baroque" has been associated with musical cross-breeding, the study of the colonial repertoire that composes it documents quite the opposite: the absence of non-European musical features. By accepting the impossibility to find the written "Mestizo Baroque", this research chooses to "re-imagine it" from orality. Taking the Fandango musical family as a framework, this research enters into playful dialogues between the XVIII century European fandango and its surviving folklore counterparts: the Mexican Son Huasteco and the Colombo-Venezuelan Joropo. Through analysis and transcription of oral sources, style comparison, arrangement, and improvisation this research aims to create a musical product that reclaims the mixed-raced identities, erased from colonial archives, in today´s Early Music industry.
Name: Giuseppe Sapienza
Main Subject: Classical Clarinet
Research Supervisor: Wouter Verschuren
Title of the Research: An Embouchure Aid for Wind Musicians
Research Question: Assessing whether playing a wind instrument can change tooth position and investigate the effectiveness of an embouchure support device to provide dental support.
This study was inspired by the author's personal experience of discomfort and pain while playing the clarinet and aims to investigate the potential relationship between dental health and clarinet playing, specifically the impact of the mouthpiece on tooth position and stability.
A literature review of previous studies on the connection between wind instruments and tooth movement was conducted. The author collaborated with two professional dentists to develop an embouchure support device called PlayAid. The device was prototyped and tested by the author with a positive outcome.
The study found a correlation between playing the clarinet and an increased risk of dental problems, including tooth mobility, erosion, and discomfort. The upper incisors were the most commonly affected teeth. The literature review showed that playing wind instruments can cause changes in tooth position, specifically an increase in overjet.
Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that an embouchure support device, like PlayAid, can effectively provide dental support for players with dental problems but also for those who exclusively seek better embouchure comfort and sound quality.
The chosen format of a presentation will be a public exposition of the results of the research with a live demonstration of PlayAid.
The piano is an instrument filled with endless possibilities, and an absurd amount of marvellous repertoire, but also has its downsides, namely its extremely complex mechanism: fingers activate a key, that moves a hammer, that hits a string. It’s a lot of steps from the moment you imagine a note and the moment you hear it, and the resulting sound isn’t always what we hope for. This instrument can be limited for the things that are asked from pianists, such as playing singing and legato lines. However, there are ways of getting over this limitation, and one of them is the use of Imagery, I.e., having a strong imagination of something else in order to do things that, in many occasions on a piano, are technically impossible.
In this artistic research I approach the concept of Musical Imagery and present an arrangement I made of Debussy’s Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (from the second book of Images) for piano and percussion quartet, exploring the imagery elements I use in my practice and explaining how I turned them into something concrete, through the use of new layers added by the chosen instruments.
This research began with the realization that Schumann's idea of "humor" (which the title of his work implies) might be very different from our own, and should be understood within the cultural and philosophical context of his time.
To this end, I decided to base my research on the writings of celebrated author Jean Paul Richter, whom Schumann idolized, and who devoted a large section of his "Introduction to Aesthetics" to the subject of humor; the profound psychological connections between Schumann and Jean Paul, which I point out, are also very revealing.
I went on to summarize some concepts within Jean Paul's definition of humor which seemed the most naturally analogous with the act of musical interpretation, such as romantic irony, "the Absurd" and "humorous sensuousness". In the final part of the research I put these ideas to use by experimenting with the interpretation of different sections of the "Humoreske"; in the written exposition I provided recordings to demonstrate the different possibilities which arise from this analogy, as well as a written explanation of the thought process behind each one. For the presentation I will demonstrate this at the piano.
These recordings are the "final" result of my research in the sense that they represent a clear answer to the research question. However, while the process of conscious experimentation was illuminating- and can be repeated with any other work by the composer!- I believe that the most important result of this research would be impossible to document or present here: that is, the more subtle, subconscious way in which understanding Schumann's connection with the spirit of his time will continue to influence my playing.
My experience teaching mandatory violin lessons during school time could have been more positive. Misbehavior, no engagement, no routine of practicing, and a deficient level of playing were some of the factors causing frustration in my teaching practice. Luckily, this frustration became an urge to change this situation and search for approaches to motivate the students in the context of mandatory music lessons. Action research and case study approaches were used for an intervention of three weeks in three different classrooms, with kids from 8-9 years old, from grade 5 at the Dutch Primary School system. Lesson plans were designed based on the principles of the Self-Determination Theory by Deci and Ryan (1985), with activities and strategies addressing the three innate psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Logbooks were also used as a way of stimulating the self-regulation of the students. The intervention showed that encouraging the students' autonomy was the best way to motivate them, and that can be done through simple activities that can be easily implemented in the lessons. Increasing their autonomy in several activities also added to their feeling of competence and relatedness. Using the logbook to track their practice was also a powerful tool to help them practice and boost their motivation.
The mouthpiece of a clarinet plays a crucial role in sound formation and tuning, and there is still great potential for research within the field of historical clarinet mouthpieces.
This study explores the relationship between mouthpiece shape and performance practice in the first half of the 19th century when significant changes occurred in clarinet history. The author examines historical mouthpieces from various collections and creates 3D-printed replicas for experimentation. The research investigates how mouthpiece shape relates to changes in reed positioning and national styles, and how 3D printing technology can aid in understanding historical mouthpiece design.
The study finds evidence of a causal relationship between changes in reed positioning and mouthpiece geometry, especially reflected in the dimension of the mouthpiece window. The creation of a functional 3D-printed historical mouthpiece and experimentation with variations in shape shed light on how different parameters of the mouthpiece geometry affect the sound response. The research offers a useful tool for historical clarinet players to choose mouthpieces in a more historically informed way.
In 2000, I took part in a project performing all of W.A. Mozart’s (1756-1791) Salzburg divertimentos for strings and winds in the quaint town of Delft in the Netherlands. In attempting to keep true to authentic performance practices we played on period instruments with one player to a part and most significantly the bass line was to be performed solely on the double bass; thus, no cello and no cello/double bass doubling of the bass line.1 Some of my colleagues involved in this project found this to be quite a ‘radical’ idea, for in chamber music settings many musicians are accustomed to the cello as the bass instrument of choice, and depending on the repertoire, a double bass might double the line, but double bass alone…impossible! Indeed most recordings I have heard of these pieces have been performed by a chamber orchestra or as chamber music with the bass line performed by a cello and double bass.
A good deal of mystery still surrounds some aspects of Arcangelo Corelli's work. Firstly, although he was recognised as the main composer of Sinfonie in Rome around 1700, all of his repertoire of this genre, with the exception of one, seems to have disappeared; secondly, none of his survived orchestral scores contains evidence of the well documented practice of using winds, trumpets in particular, in conjunction with strings. To fill these gaps, speculations have tried to identify, amongst Corelli's works, not only the ones that might have originated as Sinfonie, but also those that might have included trumpets in their original form. This research moves along the same path but sets a slightly different goal: on the one hand it considers that it is virtually impossible to determine if any of Corelli’s survived compositions were originally conceived as Sinfonie with trumpets. On the other hand, it argues that through a study of Lulier's Santa Beatrice d'Este oratorio - a work that preserves the only genuine Corelli's Sinfonia that has survived - and through a comparative analysis of the two Handel's Roman oratorios, it is possible to approach closely the soundscape of Corelli's Sinfonie con trombe. To achieve that goal, in accordance with contemporary Roman examples, newly composed trumpet parts have been integrated into some movements of three concertos from Opus 6. The outcome can be listened in the audio-video material part of this paper. Whether the addition of trumpets on top of a string-only movement could have been improvised, and not planned beforehand with written parts, is open to further speculation.
Alice Andreani - Classical Cello
Research Supervisor: Daniel Salbert
Research Title: "Singing and Playing - A Kodály Approach to Cello Playing".
Research Question: “What are the effects that the practicing of exercises involving singing and playing has on cello playing?
The objective of my research is to draw attention to the importance of developing and training musicianship skills; in this paper I will argue on why musicianship training should receive as much importance as studying the technique of an instrument.
I will specifically focus on the effects that practicing exercises involving singing and playing on the cello, has on the development of a good inner hearing and musicianship skills over time, as well as how singing is proven to be an helpful tool in combination with playing, when approaching a piece from the cello chamber or orchestral repertoire.
This research is based on literature research and practice based research. It includes a series of 40 exercises for cello and voice written by me as well as guidelines on how to practice singing and playing.
Alice Andreani is a cellist, now pursuing her master degree at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, in the class of Michel Strauss and Jan-Ype Nota. In 2021 she was awarded the Andrea Elkenbracht prize. In the season 2021/2022 she was an intern in the Noord Nederlands Orkest. Alice has been playing with the Kamerorkest van het Noorden and has taken part in different chamber music festivals. Her interest for music goes beyond playing as she is very passionate about teaching; she is enrolled in the year 2022-2023 in the teaching training course Muziek als Vak.
Taking the audience on a journey is always an important goal of mine while performing. My research was created not only to add to my knowledge but more importantly to my performance and my connection to the audience. Throughout my research I uncover the enigma of Bach as an inspiration for Hindemith. What connects these two composers living 200 years apart? How do we connect the ‘new and modern’ to the ‘old and familiar’? Is Hindemith in fact 'Bach with a modern twist'? By discovering the similarities and differences between Bach’s 6th Cello Suite and Hindemith’s Solo Sonata Op.25 No.1, through background research and putting their structure and harmony in relation to each other, a new world of interpreting both composers opened up to me. The research makes my performance more involved but also allows me to take the listener by the hand, guiding them through this more ‘modern’ music by Hindemith and his contemporaries such as Max Reger, by accompanying his music with Bach, and accompanying the music with short metaphorical stories highlighting the composers' similarities as well as different approaches. Engaging the audience, allowing them to open their ears and view the music in a new light.
In my search for extradimensionality in accordion playing, I have explored the three-dimensional use of the accordion bellows. This concerns moving the bellows forward or backwards at different angles, instead of typically maintaining a straight line. This research dives deeper into how the 3D bellows technique influences accordion music interpretations. A survey spread to accordion teachers worldwide made clear that this technique is quite unknown and undiscovered.
In 4 case studies, video recordings of musical interpretations were compared using a linear bellows concept versus using 3D bellows. After intensive reflection, benefits of the 3D bellows technique became clear. Firstly, it allows a better balance between the right and left-hand manual. Different frequencies and harmonics could be discovered through the 3D use of the bellows, which could lead to more resonance and timbre nuances. Furthermore, the technique enhances direction and phrasing in accordion music, reinforced by the visual perception of 3D bellows. However, the technique should be reviewed in different musical styles: in baroque compositions, for instance, the 3D movements are preferably less explicit. Considering some prerequisite skills, an important concern in the practice process has been when to apply 3D bellows.
The research suggests that 3D bellows can be included more explicitly in accordion practice and pedagogy today. It was found to be a useful tool to deepen musical interpretations and musical hearing in accordion students and professionals.
This paper is about finding relationships within my own composition process, how these relate to my relationships with the world around me, and how these impact the music that I make. In this paper I will touch on how my work has been influenced by psychogeography, making music about locations, and my experiences working in community arts. I will discuss my influences from the work Situationists International and later psychogeographic explorations, the community art world in Toronto, discussing how they have influenced my composition process and how the relationships between people, places, and sound play into the music that I compose, and the musical worldviews that helped me shape these influences into my own work. I will further explore, specifically, a part of my process which involves the setting up of situations in which music occurs as part of my compositional practice, discussing how the situation in which music is being made impacts that music, and how the music can impact the situation, finding reciprocity within these musical relationships.
The harpsichord enjoyed a preponderant role at the end of the 17th century, not only on its own but, in the words of C. P. E. Bach, as an instrument "entrusted [...] with full command" and "in the best position to assist [...] the entire ensemble in maintaining a uniform pace."
The following is a study of the aspects related to ensemble leadership as exerted by the harpsichordist. For this, this research draws conclusions from historical sources in regards to the influence of the basso continuo realization in the ensemble, and other non-verbal communication devices (such as gestures) in order to reveal a global picture of this kind of leadership that was particularly prevalent at the time.
This paper is focused on the development of a large-scale personal compositional practice centered around the concept of placemaking. Its content is focused on the relationship between data analysis, data sonification, and musical structure in the development of art which engages in a practice which I refer to as ‘sonic placemaking.’ In the end, this research intends to put this artistic practice in a space to interrogate the relationship between art and social change, both on small and large scales. The different sections of the paper will provide context and support for my practice's conceptual and philosophical background, drawing on related theoretical writings in geography, sociology, fine art, and composition while guiding the reader through my process in executing these concepts through works of multimedia art and acoustic composition — and, at the same time, actively questioning the ability of this process to influence social change and worldmaking.
Name: Andrew Macleod
Main Subject: Classical Tenor Trombone
Research Supervisor: Caroline Kang
Title: The Flexible Trombonist
Research Question: How can yoga be used as a tool to prevent injury and promote ease in brass playing?
Yoga has established itself as an effective tool to reduce anxiety, increase breath control, and strengthen the body. The classical music profession being an industry where physical demands are high it is no surprise that ‘playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMD) are prevalent. This research investigates the effectiveness of regular practice of yoga at reducing pain and tension in brass playing with an aim towards reducing the risks of PRMD’s.
To carry out this research a combination of a case study, interviews, self-experimentation, and reviewing existing literature was used. The case study included a mixture of seven collegiate and graduate level brass musicians who implemented yoga into their practice routine over the course of two weeks. The participants completed three surveys and two practice diaries which monitored the success of yoga at reducing pain and tension in their practice.
The outcome of the case study presented positive results in support of the correlation between the practice of yoga and reduced pain/tension in brass playing. This was supported in the self-experimentation and reflection. The interviews reinforced this connection however highlighted that yoga is not the only solution available.
Through analysis of existing material on this subject, it is clear that further research would be beneficial. The issue of PRMD still exists in the music profession and this research offers an initial insight into effective methods of injury prevention and awareness. More research on this subject would reduce the likelihood of career-ending injury and encourage a holistic practice of brass playing.
Verdiales is the traditional music from Málaga, Spain, which is little known even within Spain. This research places verdiales in its historical and musical context looking at: the differences between styles, rhythm and harmony, and, most importantly, the role of the violin in this music.
As the main instrument in verdiales, the violin is played in a very different way than in classical music, since it is spontaneous music with a great deal of freedom for improvisation, disseminated purely by oral transmission, and with a particular technique which is suited to playing only this music.
Through the deep learning of verdiales, I have looked for different resources to face my daily practice issues in order to gain more flexibility and freedom in my way of playing. After trying several exercises and approaches in different parts of my practice, I have been self- documenting and verifying the improvement and effectiveness of certain methods, taking into account different aspects such as bow hold, ornamentation, and improvisation. As a result, I came to the conclusion that in order to achieve different results, it is necessary for more exploration and extremely different methods than the ones I have been using when practicing the violin
When I played a Schumann piece, Genoveva Overture, for the first time, I was wondering, because there were Ventilhorn and Waldhorn parts. I could not imagine what his idea was when he wrote for four horns, but still used two different kinds of the same instrument. Did he want to express something with this set-up? Beside this, I did not understand why he, and other romantic composers, use so much transposition when they had already a completely chromatic instrument.
As I started to get to know and play the natural horn, it was getting clearer what his intention could have been. Why he used an ‘ancient’ instrument, though he could compose for four chromatic horns. This made me even more interested, and I also got more questions and hypotheses about the topic, for what I wanted to find an answer.
In my research, I tried to get to know the use of the horn in the middle of the 19th century. I wanted to get familiar with the contemporaries’ imagination about the old and new instrument, and with the way how they used them. Then, with this knowledge, I analysed Schumann’s orchestral works, especially the horn parts, and tried to find out if the results are matching with the background research.
My aim was too, show the horn players, that the romantic horn playing is not only about the ‘holy’ valve horn, but something more complex and colourful.
1. In what ways is Michael Chekhov’s acting technique beneficial to classical singers portraying characters from operas in terms of the aspect of interpretation and acting, the aspect of mental preparation before a performance and the aspect of vocal projection?
2. Are there specific concepts of the technique that are especially relevant to classical singers and why?
Summary of the results of the research:
In terms of interpretation and acting, Michael Chekhov’s acting technique turned out to be very helpful to the singers. By exercising Chekhov’s concept, they acquired a sense of clarity to their character and a physical and psychological understanding.
In terms of mental preparation, the singers felt like they gained tools in calming the mind, achieving a feeling of ease. And that in general, by moving the focus from the intellectual and to the body is a great antidote for nervousness.
In terms of vocal projection, all the singers agreed that their vocal performance improved when they sang their aria the second time when they implemented Chekhov’s elements while performing the aria.
There were differences of opinion among the singers as to which concepts of Chekhov’s were the most beneficial. Questionnaire and discussions though brought to light that the quality of radiation and the feeling of ease appealed particularly well to the singers. I believe that the reason for that is that these qualities create an ideal physical state to sing. The feeling of ease creates a sense of ground, openness, calmness and at the same time alertness. The quality of radiation gives off a strong feeling of confidence, power, and freedom. The act of singing requires physical strength but without creating excessive tension in the body. Healthy singing requires being both firm and soft, which is achieved with both concepts.