Nowadays, the reference and use of the term “traditional” music, raises a number of interesting questions for many people, whose answers are always highly contextual. Questions such as: “What is the function and usefulness of traditional music in the 21st century?”, “What kind of attitude and handling is appropriate for it?”, “Which material can be included under this term and which not, and who is responsible for defining it?”, “What are the limits of a material commonly accepted as ‘traditional’, in which it can be expressed without being denatured to another musical genre? “ and, of course, the century-old mother of all questions “What is traditional music?”
Considering the time at which this research was carried out, I find that, at least within the geographical area of Europe but perhaps elsewhere, and within a period where more and more people are trying to promote their diversity or even peculiarity, so as to achieve their social or even anthropological lifting, each person’ s own conception of "traditional" music can, act as one of the means towards the aforementioned goal. The isolation of this music in order to 'protect' it against foreign elements, the preservation of its supposed 'authenticity' and the strict rules and limits being set are some obvious indicators of this process. Within this context, traditional music often becomes a museum(1) exhibit that we can, theoretically, conceive with all our senses, except for the touch. Touch is characterized by both its passive and energetic character and this energy has the potential to change and distort things. Imagine a huge “Do not touch!” sign. “Do not touch”' because we do not have the necessary degree of connection to the “exhibit”, “Do not touch”, because even if we have this degree of association, we have not obtained the necessary approval from the person in charge. But, who is in charge after all? Is there one? Who has appointed her/him? Authenticity is a term that has the parameter of past time, so that any authentication attempt should refer to a fait accompli(2). In the case of traditional music, even though this accomplished event refers to some point in the past, it is nevertheless given the sense of a non-existent time, so that this past event can only be accessed, through hypotheses and senses; but senses lead to fallacy themselves, quoting Parmenides. Moreover, regarding the certification of the reference event, let us only refer to numerous disputes of the historical scientific community. These questions and thoughts triggered several endless discussions, which usually led to dead ends. The unconvincing nature of repetitive arguments around tradition served only as the dough generated new and bigger
questions that followed me for at least the last decade as an artist, a person and above all as a musician, whose musical journey always references traditional music.
(1) Even though the etymology of Museum suggests the place of the worship of the Muses, the term is used here to highlight the negative aspect of a severely sterilized context.
(2) Proven event of the past
The aim of this research is to explore the many differing opinions and available options when playing early music, in particular, the music of J.S Bach. This research focuses on Bach´s cello suite No.1 in G-major. The numerous possibilities in interpretation of Bach´s music were the motivation behind gaining knowledge about historically informed ways of playing. I was also interested in exploring the relationship between dance and music during the baroque period. Therefore, my research specifically examines how I can apply the characters of baroque dance into my performance of Bach cello suite no.1. Although the Bach suites were not intended to accompany dance, features such as tempo, gestures of dance choreography, and characters of the dances have provided me with important insight in my playing. These changes are also due in part to the connections I have made with some notable experts in the field such as Anner Bylsma, Tormod Dalen, Lucia Swarts, as well as studying literature on the topic, and by listening to selected recordings. This research aims to help and develop my own personal style of playing Bach, with a further goal of inspiring and sharing this knowledge with other cellists.
The artistic research question
I wanted to define a role for myself in tango as a cellist, making it a more soloistic role, and I wanted to learn how can I go deep into the style so that I could reflect it in my performance. At first I thought I would do that through writing arrangements for cello in small ensembles (duets and trios), which was reflected in the research work shown in Appendix 1, and also in my initial question. However, later on I understood that writing arrangements is more an outcome than a mean of my research, and that a solo piece would better reflect what I wanted to achieve.
How do I learn a set of skills which would help me to play tango on the cello as a soloist by going deeper into the tango techniques and learning from tango instruments in order to create and perform my own arrangement of a tango piece for cello solo?
In this research I investigate how to apply Indian rhythm in modern jazz compositions as well as in the improvisation on these compositions and traditional jazz standards.
The first phase of my research focuses on using rhythmical patterns from Indian music in my improvisation in jazz. I therefore transcribed tihais from santoor1-player Shiv Kumar Sharma and tabla2-player Zakir Hussain and practiced them in jazz standards. This enriched my rhythmical language in improvisation.
I then shifted my focus towards composing in irregular time signatures with the help of Indian rhythm. I used a basic groove and its subdivisions from Indian music to - together with its rhythmical layers and existing rhythmical compositions - gain more freedom in the approach of an irregular time signature.
In the final phase of my research I combine both steps mentioned before, which leads to improvisation in my own composition. I chose one of my compositions and worked on improvising on its solo scheme. In the end, my improvisations contain rhythmical patterns from the first phase and show more rhythmical freedom and variety. This last phase was set up as an experiment, where I recorded my progress during the practicing sessions.
During my research I received valuable feedback from experts like Niti Ranjan Biswas, Henri Tournier, Shai Maestro, Oded Tzur, Oene van Geel, Jarmo Hoogendijk and Sebastiaan van Bavel