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Title: Creative processes in Western art music performance practice with reference to the journey of a professional cellist
Author: Szűcs, Ferenc Jenő
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 3157
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2014
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This practice-based research undertaking investigates the creative and decision-making processes pursued within expert-professional performance practice, in the Western art music performance tradition, through the work of the individual signature practitioner. The thesis examines the practice in terms of a complex, relationally defined, knowledge-practical system and aims to demonstrate how this knowledge is acquired, shared, communicated and disseminated through an elaborative process of articulation. The research explores the professional identity of a concert cellist (in the first person) as a creative decision-maker, by revealing parts of the practice, which are rarely accessible to spectators or even to theorists or musicologists. It aims to show the habitus of the expert performer through the stages of development as well as through specific and documented accounts of professional practice, including studio work, preparation, rehearsals, pedagogy, research, and performance events in a variety of conditions and environments. This is an investigation into expertise itself as an epistemic category, by exploring questions of professional judgement, the use of expert-intuitive processes, models of intelligibility, the artist’s signature and the notion of qualitative transformation, as they appear in actual practice. The audio-video documentation of rehearsals, performances and discussions provide an opportunity to consider questions concerning technique, style, interpretation, communication methods between performers, the performer’s relationship with the notation of the score, and the experience and conceptualisation of performance events from the performer’s point of view, representing the seldom-heard voice of the practitioner. My work in this research context is highly experimental in terms of the relationship between research methods and expert-creative practice, where the ‘immersed’ researcher is also the research subject, with many of the problematic implications noted by social sciences. This research is presented in a mixed-mode heuristic framework, where the focus is on the practice itself, while the text and documentation serves to illuminate that practice, as I propose to write, demonstrate, transfer and validate non-conceptual and non-discursive knowledge through the mediation of the paradoxes inherent in ‘theorising performance’. The critical engagement relates to my claim as to the lack of effective treatment in published research of issues specific to expert-professional performance practice, and the new knowledge emerges from the new questions I am asking with reference to my own practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Arts D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available