Informed Phrasing will suggest a new way to incorporate analytical findings into musical performance. Focusing on phrasing, as one of the most important aspects of musical performance, the research will explore the influence of both the Schenkerian method of music analysis and the Temporal Gestalt Theory on the human perception of the phrase and subsequently, on the performance of the phrase. The general adjustment of musical performance according to a Schenkerian view on a piece of music has been discussed already by Heinrich Schenker himself, and later on by his successors. Nonetheless, the possibility and benefits of integrating the Temporal Gestalt Perception in this 'Schenkerian informed practice', so to say, is almost entirely unexplored. For that intent, my research will include side by side, the theoretical approach and the practical experience.
The Analytical-Reconstructive Process of the Reduced Orchestral Works in France from the Post-Lully Generation (1687-1744)
This research project is mainly focused on how to reconstruct the middle parts (videlicet haute-contres, tailles and quintes) from French orchestral pieces, which survived only in their reduced forms (featuring primarely dessus and continuo), according to historical examples. By analyzing orchestral excerpts which were edited or copied in both forms, a five voice reconstruction of these diminished works will be produced. Furthermore, there shall be an accompanying report on how those parts were added in the common practice at the time and its relation with current instrumentation (since the aforementioned instruments are not redily available today). In order to fully realize this, it is important to examine these filledout works in a 21st century performance setting. The period to be explored is the one after J.B. Lully’s death until the death of A. Campra, emcompassing the so-called post Lully generation, specifically from 1687 untill 1744.
Nowadays, transcriptions of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions form an integral part of the classical guitar repertoire. These works have been produced in relatively recent times, the first ones being composed by Francisco Tárrega about 130 years ago. Today we have complete works transcribed from the violin, cello and flute repertoire, as well as few harpsichord pieces. Still, even contemporary transcriptions are not much different from those done by Tárrega or, later, by Andrés Segovia. Although many guitar players do listen to historically informed performances of ancient music, and might sense something is not right in the guitar transcriptions, not enough research has been done on this issue. Furthermore, since guitar did not exist as such in Bach's time, there is not any ancient treatise including instrument-specific solutions for dealing with the issues of that music, as there is for example for flute (Johann Joachim Quantz) and keyboard (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach). A modern 6-string guitar player, therefore, in spite of having Bach as a substantial part of her/his repertoire, does not have anywhere to look at in order to faithfully broach these compositions. The absence of a detailed guide leads to read the music "as it is", with little or no attention paid to era-specific notation practice. For example, although the bowing in compositions for strings, where written, crucially affects the interpretation, no study on the transcriptions of bowings on guitar has been made. Furthermore, guitar transcriptions of keyboard works is a relatively new phenomenon and its complexity asks not only for more research, using the keyboard related sources we have, but also for exploring and experimenting on guitar and developing its techniques.
The idea of writing new music for an instrument whose usage and culture has been (re)created for the purpose of performing old music may seem paradoxical. But this is perhaps no more paradoxical than today’s widespread practice of public fortepiano recitals of canonized repertoire, a practice that that would have struck an 18th-century musician as absurd, let alone the fact that the ‘fortepiano’ as a standardized instrument would not have been remotely conceivable back in its time. The fortepiano culture of the 21st century is, therefore, distinctly of our time and perhaps not all that contradictory to the creation of new music for it.
However, two problems emerge. Firstly, if we accept the HIP notion that musical languages evolve in symbiosis with instruments causing each other to change through time, and that, therefore, the late 18th- and early 19th-century musical languages are embedded within the properties of the historical pianos, how then are we to reconcile this with a composer’s quest for musical creation coherent to the musical language and imagination of his or her time and place? And secondly, as history has shown that the evolution of the piano in the decades around 1800, was by no means linear or uniform, how are we to decide what constitutes as a fortepiano, determine its idiosyncrasy vis-à-vis the modern piano, and in turn compose music that is instrumentally authentic?
This study aims to explore these and other problems, which may be summarized under historicity and idiosyncrasy. As I seek answers, I draw on my double experience as a fortepianist and a composer. The former gives me an insight into the embodied knowledge of historical instrumentality, while the latter views at the instrument as a sound object, suspended between historicity and experimentation.