Actions and Detail Panel
Research Masterclass (Musicians in the Making)
Mon 22 May 2017, 15:00 – 17:00 BST
This event is organised by the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies in conjunction with the Institute of Musical Research and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
During this Research Masterclass Professor John Rink (University of Cambridge) will work two doctoral students specialising in the field of practice-led research: Jing Ouyang (Royal Northern College of Music) and Nick Bonadies (Guildhall School of Music & Drama).
The influence of English pianoforte on keyboard technique and composition from 1790 to 1826
Jing Ouyang (Royal Northern College of Music)
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the compositional and performance style in London changed in accordance with the rapid development of English pianos. An examination of the music written by the London Pianoforte School including Clementi, Dussek and Cramer shows that producing a singing tone and the use of sustaining pedal were significant characteristic elements of performance in London at the time. These features encouraged a new way of notating the score and new kinds of sound.
In my presentation, I will demonstrate different types of pedal techniques which have been neglected, in order to show the changes of musical style in London at the time. Awareness of these techniques helps performers produce a historically informed performance on a modern piano. By investigating how the sustaining devices developed and how they affected the pianistic writing of the London Pianoforte School, I have identified several purposes for use of the sustaining pedal, including sustaining the bass note, mixing harmonies for resonance effects, and achieving legato connection within the melodic line or adding colour to the harmony.
How Queer is My Bach: framing, 'flaming', and queer(ing) performance practice
Nick Bonadies (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)
My research brings queer and gender perspectives to questions of performance, interpretation and reception in a classical music discourse. Through exploring modes of listening and my practice as a pianist, I seek to further develop language with which to articulate queer(ing) listening relationships to musical performance-texts – in Alexander Doty's words, 'flaming the classics' of a conservatoire-centered musical canon – as well as articulating what may be read as a queer(ing) performance practice as an instrumentalist.
By drawing on queer and feminist music scholarship, which situates certain established discursive practices in classical music – for example, ideals of canonicity, authorship, ‘taste’ and audience reception – in a gendered sociohistorical context, we may begin to trace specific audible performance techniques and gestures as sites where such ideals are embodied, 'performed' in the Butlerian sense, and thus discursively (re)inscribed. Through a comparative listening of 'canonic' recordings of J. S. Bach on the piano, certain such gestures will emerge as potential sites for queer readings by a (specific, rather than universalized) listener: What gendered cultural mores do we hear 'performed' in a given performer's treatment of a work of 'absolute' instrumental music? If we hear one performance as reaffirming such mores, might we hear another performance as questioning, decentering or destabilising these mores – in a phrase, queering their proverbial pitch? What gendered constructions of authorship and authenticity are brought to the fore when a score- or composer-centered ontology of 'the work' is decentralised? We can then articulate further queer spaces within my own artistic decision-making as a pianist, observing both process and product in preparing a performance of the same piece: in what ways might my own practice be read as queer(ing)?