Session|séance 3.1. Performers Take the Stage

Session|séance 3.1. Performers Take the Stage.
Room 11-452. Chair: Chandelle Rimmer.

Wednesday|mercredi 23 May|mai 2018. 2:00 - 4:00PM


3.1.1. Colliding Concepts: Musical Rhetoric and Strong-Work Concepts
Implications for Performers

Kevin Ngo, University of Calgary

Around 1800, there was a dramatic paradigm shift in European musical culture.  Mark Evan Bonds explores this change through the lens of the traditional concept of musical rhetoric, while Lydia Goehr describes the transformation as the emergence of the strong-work concept.

Eighteenth-century composers and musicians viewed and used musical scores differently than today.  Music was understood as a performance event rather than as a quasi-literary work consigned to paper.  In the eighteenth century, musical rhetoric emphasized the importance of melody.  There was also an expectation that performers ornament and embellish music they were performing. During the nineteenth century, the strong-work concept contributed to elevating the status of the composer over that of the performer, and the musical score came to be seen as the repository of the work.  Further, a greater value was placed on harmonic structure to the detriment of both melody and its embellishment

My presentation will examine aspects of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K. 545 in C major. The goal is to reimagine the work from the perspective of musical rhetoric and to consider the ramifications of thinking of this music as a wordless oration, rather than as an example of standard musical forms that were codified in the nineteenth century.  Drawing from Mozart’s letters, eighteenth-century didactic treatises and recent scholarship, this paper seeks to situate performance in the expectations of eighteenth-century musical culture. In particular, I will establish the degree to which performers were expected to be involved in the thematic embellishment of eighteenth-century keyboard music. 


3.1.2.  Le Geste Conceptuel et le Geste Sonore Dans l’Improvisation Jazz au Saxophone

Martin Desjardins, Université Laval

Pour la psycholinguistique, le geste possède un caractère symbolique co-expressif avec la parole. Le « geste musical » des instrumentistes en prestation conserve ces dimensions symboliques et expressives. On distingue couramment trois types de gestes musicaux selon leurs fonctions : 1) les gestes effectifs, relatifs à la production du son; 2) les gestes accompagnateurs, soit en tant que support à la production du son, donc audibles, soit uniquement visibles; 3) les gestes figuratifs, pour la communication de performeur à performeur ou de performeur à auditeur (Delalande 1988). Cependant, le geste effectif a un caractère purement mécanique, donc dénué d’expression. En plus d’être en contradiction avec la définition même de geste, il est un idéal que l’on ne peut observer directement. Pourtant, on le classe parmi d’autres gestes musicaux tangibles. En quoi le geste effectif est-il différent des autres gestes musicaux? Comment le classer pour mieux représenter sa fonction? À la suite des observations de Middleton (1993) pour qui le geste musical serait la performance d’un processus somatique à travers un processus musical, la méthode de recherche-création nous amène à proposer l’expression « geste sonore », qui à la fois englobe tant les caractères mécaniques qu’expressifs de la production du son par un musicien.


Delalande, François. 1988. «La gestique de Gould : éléments pour une sémiologie du geste musical.» Dans Glenn Gould Pluriel, de G. Guertin, 83-111. Québec: Louise Courteau éditrice. 278 p.

Middleton, Richard. 1993. Popular Music Analysis and Musicology: Bridging the Gap.


3.1.3. Methodologies for Evaluating and Comparing Musical Performances Using VAMP Plugins

Colin Malloy, University of Victoria 


Although the use of computational analysis for musicology research is growing, there is still a divide between the main body of musicology researchers and computational music researchers. The goal of this paper so to provide insight into methods for using VAMP audio analysis plugins for musicological research. The use of these tools extends the abilities of music researchers to analyze audio through techniques impossible without computers and with increased objectivity. Using the studio version and three live recordings of ​Tom Sawyer​ by Rush as models, I demonstrate how to use various VAMP plugins and statistical analysis to compare aspects of the performances such as pitch, rhythmic timing, tempo, timbre, etc. The nature of computational analysis allows for greater precision than possible by manual human annotation and analysis. Since computational analysis is automated, it streamlines portions of the traditional process. This makes conducting deeper and/or broader analyses of large sample sets more efficient. VAMP audio analysis tools are being constantly improved and refined, and are freely available (often as open source software). However, they are not widely adopted by the main body of musicology researchers. I explain how to use these plugins to analyze input audio, use statistical analysis to draw conclusions based on the output data, to understand what errors may occur, and what the limitations of computational analysis are. By doing so, my goal is to foster a wider adoption of these tools among music researchers. 


3.1.4. From Propaganda to Nostalgia: Reimagining Socialist Realist Songs in Winnipeg’s Polish Canadian Community

Muriel Smith, Independent Scholar

Established in 1913, the choir of Sokół Polish Folk Ensemble continues to represent an aspect of Polish Canadian culture in Winnipeg. Since 1982, Sokol’s conductor Tadeusz Biernacki, a highly-trained musician and product of communist Poland’s system of music education, has shaped the choir’s repertoire often responding to the changing political and social ideals of Winnipeg’s Polish Canadian community.

Wiązanka Warszawska” (Warsaw Medley), arranged by Biernacki (c. mid-1980s), is fashioned from eight Polish popular songs from the 1940s and 1950s, each illustrating a real or imagined Warsaw. As products of, or responses to the Polish government’s artistic policy of socialist realism, the purpose and meaning of these songs, in the form of a medley created and performed in the Winnipeg locale, were transformed from devices of propaganda to notions of nostalgia. Through the lens of Tina Ramnarine’s (2007) theory of calibration, and Bourdieu’s (1993) theory of cultural capital, this analysis investigates the paradox between the community’s opposition to Poland’s communist government (1945-1989) and their implicit acceptance of that state’s musical propaganda based in the aesthetic of socialist realism. This paper seeks to enhance previous scholarship on Polish Canadian music making (Wrazen 1991, 2007, 2013; Smith 2013) and more broadly on the influence of socialist realism on musical styles distinct from high art (Czekanowska 1990; Hofman 2010) by considering the complexities of the response to the products of socialist realism by Winnipeg’s Polish Canadian community, and reflecting upon its place in the study of music ecologies.

Ethnomusicology, Polish Canadian, socialist realism, Winnipeg, choirs, Bourdieu, Ramnarine

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