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Connecting the dots: Designing a unifying model for traditional and contemporary music performance praxis.

In 'Connecting the dots', the challenges connected to the contemporary dualistic profile of the classically trained performing musician will be explored and addressed by developing a model for musical praxis which structurally integrates traditional and non-traditional artistic and meta-artistic skills and competences.In the 19th-century formalist perspective, a perfect rendition of a score was the ultimate goal for a performer. Generally and for a long time, this met the expectations of the audience - to be awed by virtuosity -, and of composers, for whom the performer served as a medium of transmitting their work in the most accurate way . Yet, expectations have shifted, and for the last decades, this traditional construct has been under pressure. This poses a fundamental urgency: to adapt classical music practice to today's requirements, without losing the quality, values and history of the profession. This doctoral research project focuses on the possibilities, opportunities and difficulties this process of reprofiling presents, and aims to design an integrated model which combines the traditional and non-traditional artistic and meta-artistic skills and competences. Contrary to the formalist approach, the socio-cultural concept of music regards music as a functional praxis within a specific social-cultural situation, an embodied and highly diverse social praxis within an integrated network of socially situated music-makers and listeners. In this research project, artistic creations in non-traditional settings are developed as an exemplary context where conventional and innovative practices and expectations meet. The interactive processes of creation, rehearsal and performance are investigated in order to determine the degree and intensity of participatory sense-making activities that take place between the different agents, how they are perceived and interpreted, and what the artistic consequences are. This brings us to the research question: What model(s) of musical praxis that reconcile(s)traditional performative practice and métier with contemporary requirements can be designed by investigating the processes of participatory sensemaking in non-traditional artistic creations? The research will be situated in a set of projects over the course of four years. Each project serves as an experiment in which practice led research takes place. The artistic practice represents a discourse with certain (implicit) meanings, shaped by artistic actions. During the creative process, artists constantly fill in these meanings by (undeliberately) setting artistic goals, making choices, taking (re)actions. In order to identify, analyse and connect individual actions and their impact, they need to be pulled from an implicit, intuitive level into a level of recognition and understanding. Observations of the artistic practice provide material, of which fragments are selected for stimulated recall and discussion in semi-structured interviews. This way, answers are searched inductively and participatory on the questions on what(artistic goals, choices, actions, repercussions...?), how (did this emerge and develop?) and why(were choices made, etc?). The collected information will be coded, analysed and processed through discourse analysis. Integrating this reflective layer into the creative process enhances the possibility to make substantiated choices, integrate these into process and content, and increase the intensity of the sense-making relationship. The findings for each project will be processed into a report, and used in the next. The results will further be used in the design of a creative-performative process-description model for musical praxis, appropriate for both traditional and non-traditional practice.
Date:1 Dec 2021 →  Today
Disciplines:Music performance, Dramaturgy, Performance
Project type:Collaboration project