S C R O L L   D O W N

The term "intersubjectivity" can mean a variety of human interactions: the sharing of subjective states by two or more individuals. Intersubjective collaboration within the research group contained a multitude of meeting places of exchange within the group and with external individuals and environments:

  • Reflecting together and learning new perspectives and approaches during workshops, seminars, rehearsals, and performances.

  • Working together and leaning on each other's aesthetic evaluations during rehearsals and performances.

  • Some individual projects were fundamentally based on cooperation and intersubjectivity.

  • Projects relating to other projects: discussing in smaller groups, giving mutual critique and resistance, allowing others the opportunity to clarify their own thoughts and explanations.

  • Our research group as a potential model for developing new methods and arenas for artistic research at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen.

Sharing the way in which we internalize music

Internalizing music is an endless activity - always evolving with new experiences and insights. For performers, a central issue is to search for applicable ways of focusing on the meaning of the music. If the music does not seem meaningful, then the focus must be changed. Sharing various strategies in a group can assist performers to find new ways of embodying music and conveying meaning:

  • How do we tune into the performance tradition of a musical era with a specific piece in focus?

  • How do we gain insight into the aesthetic world of the creator (composer or poet) by reading the score, their biography, communicating with the creator in person or listening to interviews, etc.?

  • How do we read a score as a carrier of possible meanings (many hidden, perhaps even unidentified by their creator)?

  • How do we practice music and lyrics?

  • How do we memorize, internalize, and embody essential elements and create a whole?

  • How do we explore musical meaning?


Sharing the way in which we externalize musical ideas

Performers externalize musical ideas as actors externalize texts, through musical prosody and physical gestures affecting tempo, energy, volume, colour, and various forms of articulation. Ideas about musical meaning or essence are in no way static. They are merely what performers regard to be the essence in the performing situation, externalized like an ongoing story. It needs to be focused and convincing, but not apodictically true. In this sense, performers are like journalists; seeking the truth to the best of their abilities, exposing their findings, while knowing that there are always other perspectives, and that the passing of time will change the stories.

Communicating during rehearsals

Our theoretical conceptions of music are somewhat mysterious until they are externalized through music in a rehearsal. We let the various musical elements sound spontaneously, followed by taking notes (memorizing, talking, writing marks in the score, recording). A co-creative process through mutual musical brainstorming is vital to the intersubjective process:

  • Collectively reflecting, creating or producing music and generating meaning by constructing cognitive systems that do not have self-defined spatial or temporal boundaries

  • Performing the music, interacting with fellow musicians and audiences, realizing the music and its essence through presence in real time.

Creating and producing music with other musicians includes not only tuning into other performer's personalities, preferences, and abilities, but also includes tuning into their way of comprehending and transmitting the composer's ideas.


In the project we also included intersubjective experiences of destabilizing our aesthetical viewpoints, our way of understanding the performance tradition, through rehearsals and discussions: individuals in a process of unlearning, researching, and making music together as one unity.

Many musicians use considerable time practising in solitude, receiving little or no feedback before performances. The performance situation, being so fundamentally different, can arouse anxiety and uncertainty about the expressive choices which were considered and chosen whilst rehearsing.


The intersubjective collaboration of a research group can – in different ways – be a rewarding model for working with central performative issues. A key point is that working in a group can help to lift the individual mind out of its solitude:

  • The elaborations and discussions in the group allow the individuals access into other members’ issues and artistic research methods, providing new ideas on how to move forward.

  • Each individual feels the obligation to contribute to the group's needs and prepare material for workshops and seminars with specific agendas.

  • The feedback of the group can help individual members to structure their research, giving ideas for further investigations, and pointing out problematic issues.

  • As professional artists, we tend to cling to our training and traditional feelings of mastering, and this can be an obstacle for creative research. The mixed research group can address personal and artistic issues and unsettle the individual members in constructive ways which aid interpretative resettling.


In addition, a main point of this model has been to see the value of integrating a wide range of types of interactions that can inform, challenge, and develop artistic research processes. Central types of intersubjective exchanges that influenced the process were:

  • Joint workshops/seminars
    Information and discussions on practical matters, dates, plans, economy, documentation, joint activities. Short individual oral presentations on the development of individual projects. Invitation of external (also international) guests to present their research and comment on presentations by the research group. Open seminars with students, staff, colleagues, and members of the community. Socializing at joint lunches and dinners.

  • Dialogue between individual projects
    Pairing individual projects that follow each other over a semester or one year. Deeper involvement between individual projects. Discussions, comments, listening to rehearsals.

  • Involvement in two sub-projects
    Three members of the group had double roles as pianists, being involved in two individual projects, both solo piano and in collaboration with a singer.

  • Duo collaboration
    Four individual projects were based on duo collaborations - singer/pianist and cellist/composer.

  • Dialogue with producer
    Two individual projects were closely involved with a producer as an active coach in matters of interpretation in recording sessions.

  • Collaboration with external expertise
    Several individual projects involved active collaboration with external expertise in the art field (electronic sound engineers, video artist, authors, fellow musicians, etc.)

  • International contact and exchange
    The project had exchange projects with the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and collaboration with the State Conservatoire in Tblisi, the Edvard Grieg Society of Ukraine and the following universities in the USA: University of Indianapolis, University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University. This involved presentation of the project, concerts, and teaching of students. 

  • Projects with students
  • The Norwegian repertoire (Sæverud, Valen, Irgens-Jensen, Tveitt, Vaage) was studied and performed by students in Georgia, Slovakia, USA, and Norway (Grieg Academy).

  • Collaboration with Norwegian and international institutions/organizations
    The research project collaborated with many organizations such as Avgarde, KODE komponisthjemmene, Ny Musikk Bergen, Sveio kommune, Hardingtonar Festival, Borealis Festival of Experimental Music, the International Edvard Grieg Society, Bergen Chamber Music Society, Ballade, Litteraturhuset Bergen, NRK, DR/ P2.




In what way can the intersubjective collaboration of a research group be a model for working with mixed research methods?

Further reading