Name: Nuno Galego Marques Atalaia Rodrigues
Main Subject: Recorder
Research Coaches: Paul Scheepers and Rebecca Stewart
Title of Research: Ganassi as researcher, Practice based research and new horizons for HIP
Research Question: What changes when I start reading treatises of the past as the result of a practice based research not unlike my own?
Research process: The following questions have guided my research and relationship with the XVII century recorder treatise La Fontegara: Was Ganassi an artistic researcher? Can his 1535 treatise, La Fontegara, be thought of as the result of sixteenth century practice based research? What will change in our relationship to documents of the past once we look at them as analogous to our own artistic concerns? What could this understanding of artistic research as a trans-historic event mean for Early Music in particular?
My research and thesis leads me to a close reading of Ganassi’s recorder and diminution treatise La Fontegara, trying to go beyond the text and its possible literal meanings and tracing the lost instrumental practice of diminution. With this first treatise of its kind, Ganassi inaugurates an age of instrumental literacy, which has irrevocably shaped our perception of musical practice.
By linking the document to its biographical, social, theoretical and practical roots I try to sketch out the possible influences and projects (both political and artistic), which took part in making this work possible, helping to understand the trans-historic significance of research in defining a place for the artist within broader society. Also, I take the chance to reflect how this critical intimacy I establish with the work changes the very core of my identity as a recorder player by shaping my practice as a dialogue with a distant and mostly silent past.
Summary of Results: The goal of this research is to stress the importance of research in the arts in redefining the role of the musician within society and of opening up a new wave of debate with which to vitalize the historically informed performance movement. Ganassi’s La Fontegara is a document that holds a far greater importance than that of a simple recorder tutor, which positioned it as the first document in the project of emancipation of instrumentalists and their music. Furthermore, the document should be seen as a vital part of the XVII century propaganda project of diffusing the myth of Venice through its use of speculative music tropes such as the theory of proportions. FInally, I wish to rethink our present relationship to these documents as performers. They were not musical cookbooks but rather crystallizations of a continuous struggle between the performer’s knowledge and his need to describe it. To read La Fontegara, is to go beyond the treatise and speculate on the oral practice from which it stems.