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Series 1

CMPCP/IMR Series 1 (2011)

The workshop as a research tool

Mine Doğantan-Dack (Middlesex University)
11 March 2011
Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1

Owing to various recent cultural-economic factors, which led to transformations in the structuring of the Higher Education sector and in the funding strategies of Research Councils, favourable conditions have emerged for the introduction of expert performers into academia and for the potential integration of their professional knowledge and artistic experience into traditional research cultures. There is, however, no clear consensus at present on how the relationship between musical performance and research is to be understood, and how performance can be integrated into the research enterprise both methodologically and as outcome. Based on the hypothesis that musical performance in the Western classical tradition is not ipso facto a research activity, this seminar explores methods that are appropriate for undertaking practice-based research in music performance, and proposes the workshop as an important research tool. It discusses the nature of a workshop, considers historical precedents and provides a practical demonstration of a workshop, investigating how a pianist undertakes to influence/shape the listener’s aesthetic evaluation of the performance of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in B-flat major K.333.

Mine Doğantan-Dack is a professional classical pianist and a music theorist. She is the winner of the William Petschek award for piano performance, and regularly performs as a soloist and chamber musician. She is the founder of the Marmara Piano Trio. Her research interests include chamber music performance practice, phenomenology of piano performance, ontology and epistemology of live performance, theory of practice-as-research, history of music theory, and affective responses to music. Her book titled Mathis Lussy: A Pioneer in Studies of Expressive Performance was published in 2002 by Peter Lang. Her edited volume titled Recorded Music: Philosophical and Critical Reflections was published by Middlesex University Press in 2008. She is currently a Research Fellow in Music at Middlesex University, and an Associate of CMPCP.

What musicians can learn from working on stage with actors

John Sloboda and colleagues from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in association with the GSMD ResearchWorks series
20 May 2011
Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1

This seminar reports the outcomes of two linked research projects undertaken in 2010 in the ‘Understanding Audiences’ research programme of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, which documented the experiences of music and drama students working together on artistic projects in which musicians and actors interact on stage, such that the former assume dramatic as well as musical roles. The presentation focuses on how these experiences may complement and extend the understanding and skills of classically trained musicians in ways which enhance their ability to have a positive impact on audiences in live performances.

John Sloboda is Research Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he heads a programme on ‘Understanding Audiences’. He is also Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Keele University, where he worked until 2008. At Keele he was the founder director of its Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development, and also of Europe’s first MSc in Music Psychology. He is the author of over 150 books and articles on music psychology including, most recently, Handbook of Music and Emotion (2010, with Patrik Juslin). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and served on the 2007 RAE Music Panel.

‘Music from the hybridies’: jazz as national and trans-national practice

Tony Whyton (University of Salford)
3 June 2011
Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1

Taking its title from an album by the Norwegian group Farmer’s Market, this seminar examines the concept of national sound in jazz and the ways in which European jazz practice has previously been understood as a vehicle for asserting national identity. Drawing on performance examples from a range of European musicians, from Jan Gabarek to John Tchicai, Django Bates to Han Bennink, I suggest that European jazz practice works more effectively as a model for challenging cultural stereotypes and geographical boundaries than as an embodiment of national sound. Jazz is a practice that developed in Europe both through transatlantic influences and exchanges, so is ideally placed to explore wider issues surrounding identity and inheritance, enabling unique perspectives on how culture is exchanged, adopted and transformed. The session draws on research questions from the HERA-funded ‘Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities’ project, and explores the way in which jazz practice feeds into bigger questions of politics, cultural identity and the changing Europe today.

Tony Whyton is Reader in Music in the School of Media, Music and Performance at the University of Salford. He is the author of Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and the project leader for the HERA-funded research programme ‘Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities’. Tony was the founding editor of the interdisciplinary journal The Source: Challenging Jazz Criticism and currently co-edits the internationally peer-reviewed Jazz Research Journal. He is also editor of the jazz volume of the forthcoming Library of Essays on Popular Music published by Ashgate.