Call for Papers

The Performance and Analysis Interest Group (PAIG) invites proposals for short presentations to be delivered at its meeting during the 2017 SMT conference. Papers will be 15 minutes, with 5 minutes of Q&A to follow. We welcome proposals pertaining to any aspect of musical performances or performers that engage analytical perspectives.
 
Papers will be selected through a blind review process. Please note that accepted papers are not an official part of the SMT program and will not be listed in the SMT program book. Papers that are accepted for the SMT program are not eligible.
 
Proposal guidelines are as follows:
  • Proposal Format: PDF file listing the paper title, proposal (up to 500 words), and up to two pages of supplemental material (examples, bibliography, etc.). The author’s name should not be included in the body or metadata of the file.
  • Submission Deadline: Sunday, May 28, 2017 at midnight (ET)
  • Submission Email: Email your proposal as an attachment to Edward [dot] Klorman [at] McGill [dot] ca. Use subject line “PAIG Proposal.” In the body of the email, please list the author’s name, affiliation, email, and the title of the paper.
Questions about the proposal process may be directed to Edward Klorman.
 
Sincerely,
Andy Friedman and Edward Klorman
Co-Chairs, Performance and Analysis Interest Group
Advertisements

SMT 2016 Preview

by Edward Klorman (McGill University)

Time was, sessions and papers on musical performance were relatively rare within SMT conference programs. But recent decades have seen a burgeoning interest, as the 2016 conference program attests.

Below is a list of SMT sessions and individual papers that examine some aspect of performance. This list was compiled on the basis of session and paper titles, since abstracts are not available at the time of this writing. (AMS papers and concerts were not included in this list, although many of them will certainly be of interest to PAIG members.) If you are aware of papers that should be added to the list below, please let us know.

Many are by performer–scholars who bring their first-hand “know-how” to their scholarship. As Daphne Leong (2016) has recently noted, knowledge about music can take many forms: knowing that (wissen), knowing how to (können), and knowing as in knowing a person (kennen). Contributions from performer–scholars suggest a growing interest in the intersections between these forms of knowledge and opportunities to examine what performance and analytical perspectives can each offer the other.

Extending Topic Theory (Thursday, 4:15 p. m.)

  • Daniel J. Thompson (Florida State University), “A Topical Exploration of the Jazz Messengers’ 1963 Recording ‘One by One’”

Performing Babbitt and Morris (Thursday, 3:30–5:00 p. m.)

  • Zachary Bernstein (Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester), “Babbitt’s Gestural Dialectics”
  • Brian Alegant (Oberlin College & Conservatory), “Once More with Feeling: Analyzing and Performing Robert Morris’s Scraps”

Positional Listening/Positional Analysis (Thursday, 3:30–5:00 p. m.)

  • John Covach (University of Rochester), “A View from Guitar Land: Shifting Positional Listening in Complex Textures”
  • Kevin Holm-Hudson (University of Kentucky), “Stratified Keyboard Harmony in the Music of Todd Rundgren”
  • Brad Osborn (University of Kansas), “Metric Levels from Behind the Kit (and Elsewhere)”
  • Gregory R. McCandless (Appalachian State University), “Attentional Cost and Positional Analysis: A Bassist’s Perspective”
  • Elizabeth Marvin (Eastman School of Music), Respondent

Musical Performers, Musical Works (Thursday, 8:00–11:00 p. m.)
Sponsored by the SMT Performance and Analysis Interest Group

  • Patrick Boyle (University of Victoria), “The Jazz Process: Negotiating Error in Practice and Performance”
  • John Lutterman (University of Alaska, Anchorage), “Werktreue vs. Praxistreue: On the Problems of Representing Historical Performing Practices in the Modern Concert Hall”
  • Charles Neidich (The Juilliard School/Queens College, CUNY), “Knowledge and Imagination: On Performing Elliott Carter’s Gra for B-Flat Clarinet”
  • Eric Clarke (University of Oxford), Respondent: “Knowing and Doing”

Agency in Instrumental Music of the Long Eighteenth Century (Friday, 2:00–5:00 p. m.)

  • Edward Klorman (McGill University), “Koch and Momigny: Theorists of Agency in Mozart’s Quartets?” (Friday 2:00 p. m.)
  • Mary Hunter (Bowdoin College), “The Agency of the Performer in Mozart’s C-minor Fantasia K. 475 (3:30 p. m.)

Encounters with the Music of Milton Babbitt: A Centennial Celebration (Friday, 2:00–5:00 p. m.; second paper on the panel, exact time not specified)

  • Daphne Leong (University of Colorado, Boulder), “Simple Ways of Hearing, Playing, and Teaching Babbitt’s Semi-Simple Variations”

Performance and Analysis (Friday, 9:30–11:00 p. m.)

  • Andrew M. Friedman (Harvard University), “Reimagining (Motivic) Analysis in Light of Performance”
  • Su Yin Mak (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), “Communications about Musical Structure in Professional String Quartet Rehearsal”

Melodic Motivations (Saturday, 9:00 a. m.)

  • Christopher Gupta (Princeton University), “A Theoretical Account of Cueing Systems in Collective Improvisation”

Performing Meter (Saturday, 9:00–10:30 a. m.)

  • Richard Beaudoin (Brandeis University and The Royal Academy of Music, London), “Creaking Chairs and Metric Clarity: Microtiming Glenn Gould Recording Schoenberg op. 19/1”
  • Galen DeGraf (Columbia University), “Types of Temporal Knowledge beyond the Mode of Attending”

PAIG’s Listserv Is Moving!

SMT has kindly offered to host a listserv for PAIG. This listserv will useful for allowing the PAIG community to communicate about the group’s plans and projects. (It replaces the PAIG Google Group, which will be discontinued). This PAIG WordPress site will continue to serve as the group’s public face.

If you wish to subscribe to the listserv, you may do so at this link:

http://lists.societymusictheory.org/listinfo.cgi/paig-societymusictheory.org

Reflections on the 4th Performance Studies Network International Conference

The 4th Performance Studies Network (PSN) International Conference—a gathering of 133 scholars, representing 71 institutions and 20 countries—took place July 14–17, 2016 at Bath Spa University in the UK.

A number of scholars affiliated with PAIG were among the presenters, and we’d like to share some reflections and observations here. For further details, check out the detailed conference program and abstracts or read Daniel Barolsky’s report on the 2nd PSN Conference (2013).

REFLECTIONS ON THE 4th PSN CONFERENCE
Edward Klorman (McGill University)
Having attended two PSN conferences, I am struck by the cross-pollination of scholarly approaches and musical styles represented. Most delegates are musical performers of one kind or another—some are extremely accomplished—who bring perspectives from musical analysis, ethno- and historical-musicologies, cognition, and other approaches to bear on aspects of musical performance.
I was struck by a number of presentations that engaged limitations to creativity among “classical” performers imposed in part by certain traditions of musical training and institutions. (Having spent several years as student and faculty member in a conservatory setting, I could relate to this theme personally.) Anthony Gritten (Royal College of Organists) gave a paper about dismantling what he calls the “pedagogy of constraint” (e.g., “Don’t do X like that!”) in favor of what “projective teaching” (“Do this in order to perform X”).
A presentation by Mary Hunter (Bowdoin College) examined “the language of Werktreue in practice,” drawing on rehearsal transcripts of professional chamber musicians to analyze how musicians “situate themselves between obligation and agency in their interpretative choices.”
Violinist and musicologist Maiko Kawabata (University of Edinburgh) presentation “Virtuosity Now” contrasted one model (or stereotype) of violin virtuosity—that of the technically assured by musically constrained players said to be favored by competition juries—with another model represented by the iconoclastic Moldovan-Austrian Patricia Kopatchinskaja. This extraordinary and memorable video of her live performance at the BBC Music Magazine Awards exemplifies a certain kind of virtuosity that is uniquely her own. (The performance is hard to describe, but if you can spare 60 seconds to watch, I promise you won’t forget it. It’s an encore piece entitled “Crin,” written for her by Jorge Sanchez Chiong.)
Victoria Tzotzkova (Harvard University)
The sound lingers on… A couple of weeks after leaving the idyllic campus of Bath Spa University, I still have the sounds of one particular presentation clearly ringing in my ear, the whole-body sensation of wonderment and delight at that sound still vivid and readily accessible. The presentation, by performer-researcher Abigail Dolan (Cambridge University) on the opening phrases of Debussy’s Syrinx, was to me an emblematic example of a piece of work in artistic research. The conceptual points tended towards systematization and categorization of performing concerns and approaches, and so, were clearly grounded in artistic practice. But what was particularly striking to me was the navigation between scholarly and artistic modes of presentation. Rather than playing these few phrases chiefly as illustrations of points made verbally, this presenter was able to offer several exquisite (if only partial) performances, giving me—and I suspect other attendees—the gift of experiencing with my whole body the boundless array of possibilities she navigates in every moment of performance. While the verbally articulated points were certainly helpful in navigating that terrain along with her, it is the possibilities I heard in sound that spoke to me most eloquently.

PAIG essay collection published in MTO

We are thrilled to announce the publication of “Performance and Analysis Today: New Horizons” in Music Theory Online 22.2 (June 2016). These essays originated in a panel session sponsored by PAIG on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, which took place at the 2014 SMT meeting in Milwaukee.

We invite your thoughts about the collection here on the WordPress site. Here’s a list of the collection’s contents:

Thank you, and congratulations, to all the contributors!

Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets (excerpt)

9780226374369

By Edward Dusinberre

The author is the first violinist of the Takács Quartet and Artist in Residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Read more about his book at this link.

 

 

Introduction:

The interpretation of a professional string quartet that performs the same musical work repeatedly, evolves even from one night to the next. Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets explores this process in the Takács Quartet as we rehearse and perform Beethoven’s string quartets.  ‘Art demands of us that we do not stand still,’ Beethoven remarked to a friend concerning the innovations in his last quartets. From the revised edition of his first published work, Opus 18 no. 1, to the alternative last movement of Opus 130, Beethoven’s restless spirit fueled his string quartet project, at times shocking the first players and audiences who encountered these complex works. As a young whippersnapper freshly out of Juilliard and daunted by my new position as first violinist of the Takács, I found the bemusement of violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh and his friends reassuring.

Twenty-three years later the music is more familiar but when I listen to our Decca recording of Opus 127 and compare it with other recordings, basic interpretative questions of character and pacing remain. Fortunately, for me at least, the performance of a Beethoven quartet will never feel definitive:

Excerpt from Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets:

While we had resolved questions about characters, balance and tempi in one particular way for the CD, no single recording could adequately explore the many interpretative possibilities the music suggested. This seemed particularly true for the ending of the whole piece, a section that Beethoven had himself modified between the first and second performances. According to the violinist Joseph Böhm, it had been Beethoven’s experience of observing Böhm’s quartet rehearse that encouraged him to change the tempo marking for the last section of the final movement. After a festive and at times rambunctious Allegro, the music winds down in dynamics and pace, the pulse briefly suspended as two violins trill on a long note. Out of this hiatus emerge fleeting pianissimo scales and the opening tune of the movement, whose transformed rhythm now adds buoyancy and lilt to the previously smooth legato line. The character of the ensuing climax and the last gestures of the piece depend largely on the choice of tempo.

Böhm later claimed he had suggested to his fellow musicians that they ignore Beethoven’s instruction, meno vivace (less lively), ‘which seemed to me to weaken the general effect . . . I advised that the original tempo be maintained, which was done, to the betterment of the effect.’ The first violinist continued his modest narrative:

Beethoven, crouched in a corner, heard nothing, but watched with strained attention. After the last stroke of the bows he said, laconically, ‘Let it remain so,’ went to the desks and crossed out the meno vivace in the four parts.[i]

Apparently the often volatile master, far from being offended by the tempo alteration, was willing to change his mind at this late stage. Böhm admitted that the composer could not hear how the musicians were playing, but Beethoven had probably sensed the extra exhilaration and excitement that came with the change. As he watched the newly configured ensemble rehearsing his music, he glimpsed a different way of ending this complex piece – at least according to the testimony of a first violinist. In published editions Beethoven replaced the meno vivace with Allegro commodo (comfortably fast), a rather wishful indication in my experience, given the difficulties of the passage.

Recordings of Opus 127 take a variety of approaches to this last section. The Budapest Quartet play a fast tempo in their version recorded in Washington’s Library of Congress in 1941, their last climax frenetic and exhilarating: a courageous choice considering that this was a live recording made with no editing sessions. They play the whole movement faster than many groups, as if Beethoven were determined to end this complex piece with a whirlwind of joyful activity.

Many groups, including the Takács, choose tempi that give the impression of meno vivace – the very instruction that Beethoven is purported to have deleted. One of the more dramatic examples of this comes in the Alban Berg Quartet’s recording, where a markedly slower tempo results in a powerful and majestic climax that seems to refer the listener back to the Maestoso mood at the opening of the whole piece. If Beethoven had experienced this version he might have been inclined to reinstate his meno vivace, while the Budapest Quartet’s rendition might have prompted him to add a Presto marking instead. The Takács ending was neither as fast as the Budapest nor as slow as the Alban Berg and I enjoyed our transparent, speculative sound at the beginning of the section. Beethoven created such an array of possibilities in Opus 127 that the piece can be concluded in a number of different ways.

[i] Alexander Wheelock Thayer, Thayer’s Life of Beethoven. Revised and edited by Elliot Forbes, 2 vols (Princeton, NJ, 1964), vol. 2, p. 941.

 

 

Multiple Agency in Mozart’s Chamber Music

Check out this new SMT-V videocast by PAIG co-chair Edward Klorman about multiple agency and the performance of Mozart’s chamber music. 

Haydn quartet painting (low res)

Abstract: Comparisons between the string quartet and artful conversation have flourished since the genre’s birth. If a quartet performance resembles stylized social intercourse, each player may be understood to enact the role of an individual persona engaged in the discourse. This study introduces the concept of multiple agency, whereby musical events are interpreted through the actions and interactions of these individual personas. This analytical approach is demonstrated through the analysis of a passage from Mozart’s Quartet in G Major, K. 387. A more thorough exposition of multiple agency’s historical and conceptual underpinning appears in the author’s forthcoming monograph, Mozart’s Music of Friends.