Sound Beyond Representation. Experimental Performance Practices in Music (26/11/2020)

Lucia D'Errico

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The performance of Western notated art music is usually associated with the notions of execution, recitation, transmission, reproduction, or interpretation, relying on the existence of a commonly accepted, sedimented musical text, and on a set of stabilised conventions that regulate the communication between composer, performer, and audience. From this perspective, performance is the moment for the concrete sonic representation of an already known sound structure. The experimental approach proposed in this article fosters a move beyond such commonly accepted codes and conventions. In this new approach, the performance of past musical works is not regarded in its reiterative, reconstructive, or representational function, but becomes a locus of experimentation , where “what we know” about a given musical work is problematised. The performative moment is thus both a creative and a critical act, through which new epistemic and aesthetic properties of the musical work emerge. Whereas the activity of interpreters and executants focuses on the balance between objectivity (the instructions contained in the score, the “facts” accumulated around the musical work, etc.) and subjectivity (the performer’s freedom, his/her expressivity, etc.), the new experimental attitude goes beyond both objectivity and subjectivity, differentiating itself from both mainstream and historically informed approaches to music performance.
keywordsMusic Performance, sonic methodologies, sound studies, experimental music performance
copyrightLucia D'Errico