Conceptualising Musical Graphic Performance: An Investigative Journey of Self-Reflective Artistic Practice and Autoethnography

Scarffe, Joe William (2020) Conceptualising Musical Graphic Performance: An Investigative Journey of Self-Reflective Artistic Practice and Autoethnography. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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This thesis seeks to answer the question: how do performers engage with musical graphics? Musical graphics problematise the authorship hierarchies between performer and composer by challenging the documentative and communicative functions of musical notation. It is the central contention of this thesis that performing musical graphics involves a process of modal transfer, where the performer decodifies the visual elements of the score into referents, which are then consolidated into a conceptual analogue through processes of decodification, world building and musical ekphrasis. Then, once the conceptual analogue has been formed, the performer engages with a reflexive loop between it and the musical materials, through a process of hermeneutic playfulness. In addition, this thesis answers a range of secondary research questions: how do performers experience the creative processes of preparing and performing musical graphics?

Are there identifiable differences in the experience of performing musical graphics between beginners and experienced performers? What is it that a performer learns as they become more experienced? How do performers recognise whether they are engaging with musical graphics effectively? What is the role of improvisation in the performance of musical graphics? The thesis is in three parts. Part I contextualises musical graphics and discusses the musical and extra-musical tools used to analyse how performers engage with musical graphics. Part II comprises two case studies. The first case study consists of a performances of two musical graphics by the English visual artist Janet Boulton, involving me on the bassoon and the composer and sound artist Samuel Rodgers on live electronics and bowed cymbals. The second case study consists of four workshops, led by the Danish composer and performer Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, involving composition and jazz students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Part II ends with analyses of the performances, which resulted from the two case studies. The creation of a musical graphic performance conceptualisation pipeline is the focus of Part III, which lays out the creative processes involved in preparing and performing musical graphics and the relationships between them. Each creative process is addressed in turn, to provide the insights required to answer all of the research questions within the conclusion of this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
20 February 2020Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Graphic Score, Musical Graphics, Ethnography, Performance Practice, Ekphrasis,
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Music
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 11:37
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59

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