When we speak, there is rhythm, intonation and expression in the words that we choose. When we sing, a melody is added, the story surrounded by musical context. When I play the cello, I can express feelings, thoughts and stories without using any words.
I based my research on the relation between language and music, because I wanted to know how to be more expressive in my cello playing. Singers have the text to guide them into making clear what the story is about. As instrumentalists, we might not use words during a performance, but we can definitely learn from involving vocal elements into our approach to music.
That is why I consulted experts in the German, French and English language, as well as singers and cellists, to guide me in my process of making an ‘instrumental translation’ of vocal repertoire, in order to broaden my spectrum of possibilities to be expressive. Based on the results of desk research, text and score analysis, interviews and work sessions with the experts and experimentation on the cello, I made a comparison that led me towards the final result, recording the third movement of César Franck’s sonata, a piece in which I could put a lot of the new things that I had learned.
I hope that this research can assist anyone who is looking for a way to become more ‘outspoken’ in their instrumental playing, and to stimulate instrumentalists to always stay open for new ways to interpret a piece.