Expressive means are the set of techniques performer’s use to give life and meaning to musical ideas, guided by the indications in the score. They are part of the performer’s toolbox which include choices of tempo, articulation, dynamics, colour/timbre, rubato, and other elements, all towards the goal of enabling meaning and communication.
The title of this project emphasizes the search for new expressive means. Searching is fundamentally an unsettling activity; one does not know what one will find or where one will end up. The project group was therefore concerned more about interpretive attitudes and directions towards a particular style or composer than about conclusive definitions. The group also hoped to be able to articulate something of general interest for musicians and scholars in a wider context.
Did some of the individual projects have anything in common in their search for new expressive means? Most of the projects had a common denominator in the search for new attitudes towards sound production, by exploring, expanding, and varying aspects of timbre. Finding a specific “sound world” of a composer is essential for the projection of expressivity within the music. Especially 20th century and contemporary music styles saw an expansion of the possibilities of timbre.
In addition, some of the researchers experimented with different ways of using tempos, rubato, and articulation. In some projects, finding an adequate tempo involved giving the listener a chance to listen, perceive and follow the given musical thought. Some repertoire requires a small space, with closeness and concentration to catch nuances of dynamics and articulation, while other repertoire needs an atmosphere of large resonating spaces.
These topics will be further discussed in RESEARCH QUESTION NO. 3 and Final Reflections.