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Title: From text to sound : revisiting some performance indications in Chopin's works
Author: Yahav, Amit
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0928
Awarding Body: Royal College of Music
Current Institution: Royal College of Music
Date of Award: 2018
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In the canon of piano repertoire, Chopin's music is some of the most frequently performed. In the past few decades, scholarship on 19th-century performance practice has invited performers to consider afresh deeply entrenched performance traditions and question whether they bear loyalty to Chopin's original intentions, as best as those can be understood from this distance in time. More so than with the music of some other composers, there arguably exists a particularly rich and complex oral tradition surrounding Chopin's music, which is heavily relied on in pedagogy. This thesis attempts to revisit traditions in the performance of this music by focussing on directions in the score as a basis of interpretative decisions, and then exploring these through my own practice. In order to better understand the potential meaning of the worded indications, statistical analysis was undertaken to compare various appearances of the same indication. In finding the similarities and differences between appearances of the same indication, and also between instances of similar indications, conclusions can be reached about the essence of each indication. The submission includes three recorded one-hour concert programmes of music by Chopin. The recordings presented in this thesis are intended to reflect some of the different ways in which this music can be performed. They range from live-audio concert performances captured on a Tascam recording device, to live video recordings, to edited audio recordings captured at the Royal College of Music studios; these recordings reflect my conclusions, arrived at through my study of the worded indications in Chopin's music. Because of the broad nature of musical interpretation, separate issues of execution formed the basis of the commentaries which accompany each of the three programmes, namely: tempo modification, dynamics and expressivity. In the first programme, this leads to a clear distinction being identified between ritenuto, rallentando and ritardando. The second programme forms the background for a discussion of the differences observed between the worded indications crescendo and diminuendo or decrescendo as well as the so-called hairpin symbols (< and >) which are generally considered to be synonymous. In the final programme, worded indications that affect expressivity more generally are explored in an attempt to arrive at conclusions about Chopin's intentions when using those terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Mus.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available