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Title: Between stalls, stage and score : an investigation of audience experience and enjoyment in classical music performance
Author: Dobson, Melissa
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis investigates the factors that affect the enjoyment of classical music concert attendance and identifies audience members' underlying motivations for attending classical performances. The experience of listening at live music events has been a topic largely neglected by both musicology and music psychology. This thesis therefore contributes to an emerging field of empirical research on classical music audience experience, with most key existing studies published within the last five years. A combined approach to data collection was employed to increase understanding of audience experience and enjoyment at orchestral concerts. Unlike previous studies of orchestral audiences, a questionnaire distributed to a concert audience ('attenders') was combined with in-depth interviews with a subset of respondents to gain deeper experiential accounts of classical concert attendance. In addition, a further study gained wider perspectives on the factors that affect the enjoyment of concert attendance by inviting eight individuals new to classical concert-going ('non-attenders') to three orchestral concerts, eliciting their responses through focus group and individual interviews. The degree to which a concert provides accessible information with which to contextualise the music is critical in determining non-attenders' enjoyment, as is discerning interaction or communication with the performers. For both attenders and non-attenders, familiarity with the repertoire performed did not necessarily equate to greater levels of enjoyment, with some attenders consciously balancing the presence of familiarity and novelty across the concert experience. Distinct elements of witnessing a live performance acted as key underlying motivations for attending classical performances, as did the types of individual and shared experiences facilitated by listening to classical music within the concert hall setting. The thesis demonstrates the complexity of individual responses to live classical listening, while arguing that audience enjoyment relies on a series of predominantly social interactions between audience members themselves, the performers, and the music performed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available