Doctors in Music Performance 2021 and Dissertation Update

September 1st through 3rd I had the absolute pleasure of presenting a paper at the 4th annual Doctors in Performance, a conference highlighting recently graduated or in-progress research in music performance and artistic research. My paper 'Implicit Curriculum: Improvisation Pedagogy in Guitar Methods 1760–1860' was a fragment into the main points of my doctoral research. The conference was a hybrid conference hosted in Tallinn, Estonia, unfortunately due to visa issues I was unable to travel but I was able to attend and present my research virtually which I owe all to the hard work of the organizing committee and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.


The conference was a stunning success and I must extend a massive thank you to the conference organizers and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn. Without the virtual access I would not have been able to attend as much of the 3-day event that I did. Such a feat should not go unnoticed and I commend the steering and organizing committee for putting on such a smooth and seamless order of events. I look forward to the future many of these projects hold.


My presentation tried to hone in on the most basic aspects of my research while driving home its main conclusions: the werktreue concept has drastically changed the way we conceive of instrumental technique. This change in our idea of 'technique' has fundamentally shifted the classical guitar's pedagogical focus towards the 'mechanics' of guitar playing. I do this primarily by exposing the more 'tonal-idiom-centric' idea of technique prevalent in the guitar methods between 1760-1860. Most methods of this time view technique not merely as the means to perform solo works from a page but also as the ability to assuredly navigate tonal schemata both from the page and in improvisation. Improvisation was a much more common phenomenon than previously thought and the evidence for this is not only in the first-hand accounts but also in the overwhelming presence of improvisation techniques found in the method books. Everything from the obvious calls for transposition, variation, model comparison and recombination to the sparseness of 19th-century song notation points to improvisation playing an important role in the very conception of technique.


I will be giving a more in-depth presentation of this research on Sunday September 12th at an international virtual conference titled 'The Figured Bass Accompaniment in Europe' September 9th to the 12th. The conference is organized by the Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca PALMA CHORALIS Research Group & Early Music Ensemble Dipartimento di Musica Antica ‘Città di Brescia. I look forward to being able to present nearly an entire chapter of my DMus dissertation.


Speaking of theses and dissertations. I have officially finished writing my thesis and have submitted my work for consideration of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. I will defend this work in September and am really looking forward to being able to take part in the peer-review/critical examination of my work.


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