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Title: The influence of musical styles on the use of performance cues by pianists
Author: Hao, Chen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 6273
Awarding Body: Royal College of Music
Current Institution: Royal College of Music
Date of Award: 2015
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For most musicians, and especially for pianists, there is a constant demand for the preparation of a wide range of repertoire to be played from memory in lengthy recitals and competitions. The research presented here has focused on exploring the influence of musical styles on the use of performance cues within the piano repertoire. The study took place over a period of 4½ years, during which 3 public performances were carried out (CD recordings of live performances attached). In Chapters 1 and 2, previous literature that investigated memory is discussed, with both the general topic and more specifically, memorisation in relation to musicians being addressed. This is followed by a pilot study of Ondine from Gaspard de la Nuit by Ravel, which focused on the development of performance cues in selected set stages of the learning process (Chapter 3). This investigation revealed initial links between compositional style and memorisation through the new performance cues that emerged from the study. The results also showed that performance cues relate closely to different levels of memory security of a piece. An interview study with several eminent pianists (Chapter 4) - Vladimir Ashkenazy, Peter Donohoe, Leslie Howard, Roy Howat, Julian Jacobson, Kevin Kenner, and Gordon Fergus-Thompson - provided further insight into how expert pianists approach memorisation in general, alongside addressing the way in which the pianists approach specific composers’ repertoire, for which their interpretations are highly acclaimed. Although the participants were not asked directly about performance cues, results from the study showed that the pianists’ awareness of particular technical and musical features of the scores related closely to the different types of performance cues reported in existing studies. Case studies on a wide range of repertoire, performed by the same pianist (Chapter 5), demonstrated how a pianist used performance cues in different styles of music. The results showed similarities in the approach to memorisation with the results from the interview study in Chapter 4. Findings from each of the studies in this thesis further extend the current knowledge and understanding of memorisation for musicians (Chapter 6). From a performer’s perspective, the results also offer valuable material for other pianists, who may hope to enhance their ability to memorise particular repertoire more effectively and efficiently.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available