Harmony on the violin – exploring ways to enhance harmonic awareness by improvisation. How can playing with basic elements of classical music help us to enter the music we perform ‘from within’, to enjoy the creative moment in connection with the repertoire we know so well and love so much, to ‘co-compose’… How can (tonal) improvisation be an aid to learn about harmony in a way that experience comes first, using, in this research, the violin as our voice?
In this research my aim has been to create a toolbox of games/exercises that can be used working in the above mentioned way. At the same time the exploratory journey of the research proved to be a transformative experience with regard to my own relationship with the music I play, love and teach. In this paper those two threads – the development of educational material and the testing out of it on the one hand and my personal development as a violinist and musician on the other hand - are constantly intertwined. The one cannot do without the other.
This paper is a report of all activities that added to the above mentioned two processes. The report will guide you through the origins of the research, the rich input of colleagues, masters and books on the subject, a report of the practising, imagining, exploring hours spent by myself in my garden house, information on the enjoyable sessions when trying out the material with students. At the centre of the paper you will find the games and exercises themselves – the content of the toolbox, called ‘Invitations’. A closer look at certain aspects of the research is found in Chapter 5 – Behind the scene. The paper will finish with a set of recommendations and conclusions and – above all – future plans.
I do hope you will enjoy this research – a research into methods that can be used to let the playing from musical intuition and the building of harmonic consciousness meet. In doing so, enjoying the richness, benefits and pleasure that musical improvisation has to offer in music education.
Babylon Quartet: Kellen McDaniel, Danielle Daoukayeva, William McCleish, Leonid
Main Subject: Chamber Music
Research Supervisors: Renee Jonker, Liesbeth Ackermans
Title of Research:
Babylon Quartet: Ghosts, Mirrors, and The River: A case study in performance and compositional practices of modern electro acoustic music
What are some of the important challenges faced in creating and performing works which utilize electronics, and what kinds of performance practices and compositional approaches can be used to mitigate and overcome these challenges?
Summary of Results:
The use of electronics in music composition and performance continues to expand, both in commercially mainstream and artistically niche genres of music. This presents a growing set of demands on classically trained musicians who wish to perform music which uses electronics. This paper is mainly a primary source documentation of performance techniques, challenges and solutions presented by the members of Babylon Quartet in their preparation and performance of an original work for string quartet involving electronics. The piece was written by violist Kellen McDaniel and his brother Marshall McDaniel. It consists of first hand accounts of all four players as well as the two composers, detailing the process of first premiering the work, and then subsequently revising and adapting the work for future performances, as well as relevant technical explanation and documentation. The goal of this research is to provide insight and practical solutions on how some core challenges of electro-acoustic performance can be overcome from both compositional and performance perspectives.
Babylon Quartet is a string quartet based in The Hague. Playing together for the past three years, they have been honored as recipients of Het Kersjesfonds Strijkkwartetstipendium as well as winning first place De Grote Kammermusik Prijs - De Doelen. They consist of violinists Leonid Nikishin (Russia) and Danielle Daoukayeva (Netherlands), violist Kellen McDaniel (USA), and Cellist William McCleish (Canada). Kellen McDaniel and his brother Marshall McDaniel are a composing duo from Los Angeles, California. They have composed works for the concert hall and theater, as well as film and television.