Site Awareness in Music – recontextualizing a sensation of another place
Knut Olaf Sunde
The project argues that a sensation of another place is vital to the recognition of unfamiliar perspectives.
Space and sound are inextricably connected. The surroundings and context are central to how we perceive external stimuli, such as images, events, history, ideas or music. The brain interprets and make choices by association, based on what the body perceives and based on previous knowledge and experience. How humans listen, hear, see, perceive, interpret and react to our surroundings are based on our cognitive structures.
An unformatting of society is needed.
A risk makes the body and brain aware and alert. Adrenalin is released to the blood, enabling the organism to sudden and severe effort. Risk implies something unestablished, uncertain, a danger, something unknown. Risk implies the possibility of failure and ultimately death. Risk increase anxiety and excitement, enabling the alertness needed to maneuver away from or solve problems. When something is at stake, interest is set into play. The unknown is by its very nature beyond the body’s experience.
The project is about increasing the awareness of the situational and contextual implications of music. This is enquired through three works. For each site or situation I work with, I analyze its characteristics, such as acoustical conditions, the relations of the place to its surroundings, the shape of the landscape and historical or political context.
I try to create immersive, audiovisual projects that are connected to a certain place.
I aim to involve qualities and characteristics from the place, shaping a conversation, putting something at stake.
I conceive a music activating the place, making created situations.
I do this because there is a close link between memory, comprehension and place.
The sense of place and ability to navigate is essential to our memory and bodily existence in the world.
Main supervisor: Ole Lützow-Holm
Second supervisor: Marianne Heier
SINGING WITH THE LUTE
This project is an attempt at bringing new perspectives and work methods to the performance of lute songs. My point of departure is Historically Informed Performance, also known as HIP. My claim is that the performance of lute songs is lagging behind the general development in HIP. Moreover, I feel that there are aspects of the performance of music that HIP in general has been reluctant to consider.
I want to update the approach to the lute song repertoire, hoping to produce a result that is more varied, nuanced and communicative than what I see as the current state of lute song performance.
Releasing the 'Loudie'
My artistic research project at the Norwegian Academy of Music aims to highlight the role of the harpsichord player and the interpretation of basso continuo in G. F. Handel’s continuo cantatas – i.e. cantatas for one voice with continuo accompaniment only. How the continuo realization is shaped in performance of this repertoire is crucial to the overall sound since there are no other obbligato instruments, unlike in the instrumental cantatas. A wide range of possible solutions emerge in the intersection between improvisation, composition, imagination, and speculation within a source-oriented approach. To give these cantatas a musical guise that is rarely heard among performer’s today, I focus on an advanced and soloistic harpsichord continuo that includes different use of imitation, counterpoint, harmonic additions, ‘duet-making’ with the vocal part and other rarely heard features; inspired by certain German 18th-century continuo treatises such as Heinichen’s Der Generalbass in der Composition (Dresden, 1728), Mattheson’s Grosse Generalbass-schule (Hamburg, 1731) and Daube’s General-Bass in drey Accorden (Leipzig, 1756) in addition to several preceding Italian(ate) and English sources, as well as idioms from Handel’s own keyboard music.
There are frequently significant discrepancies between how historical sources describe basso continuo playing and how today’s harpsichordists interpret and perform their part within the context of the HIP-movement. In the last decades, two contrasting approaches stand out: those who accompany discretely with few parts and a transparent accompaniment: unofficially nicknamed ‘Softies’; and those who play generally fuller: ‘Loudies’ – from which my project receives its title.
With this project, I aim to deepen the understanding of the discipline of continuo playing and to develop realizations that go beyond mere chordal playing often heard today in a much-neglected repertoire by one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. Hopefully, this will challenge existing views and conventions among several branches of today’s early music community, where strong performers and personas foster strong opinions.