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Understanding the characteristics of the single-action pedal harp and their implications for the performing practices of its repertoire from 1760 to 1830

Kanemitsu-Nagasawa, Masumi (2018) Understanding the characteristics of the single-action pedal harp and their implications for the performing practices of its repertoire from 1760 to 1830. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Abstract The single-action pedal harp was a fashionable instrument from the Age of Enlightenment to the early Romantic Period. However, the historical performance practice of the single-action pedal harp has been neglected for a long time, and this has consequently influenced our approach to and evaluation of Classical and early Romantic repertoire for the harp. This research seeks to fill a gap in the current knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of the single-action pedal harp and their implications for the performance practice of its repertoire from 1760 to 1830. It will also offer insights by identifying the capabilities of the instrument and will clarify the status of the single-action pedal harp as an independent instrument with its own repertoire. Key aspects of this investigation are analyses of instructional treatises and editions from the period of the compositions. These are relevant to a series of exploratory recordings of harp repertoire from the period in which the differences between current performance practices are explored. Important treatises on the single-action pedal harp, by Ph. J. Meyer and J. G. H. Backofen, together with other relevant sources, provide a basis for investigating Meyer’s own compositions along with those of Backofen and L. Spohr. Guidance for approaching the repertoire and integrating the practices of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries into our current practice is provided, benefitting not only players of the historical harp but also players of modern harps who wish to deliver musical and stylistic performances of repertoire from this period. The dissertation includes three sets of exploratory recordings of compositions by Meyer, Backofen, and Spohr. Short demonstration films, made using authentic harps, demonstrate the historical practices described in the treatises. This will be the first comprehensive film documentation of the performance practices of the single-action pedal harp; the films will be presented on a separate DVD disc. This research seeks to establish the value and indispensability of scholarly research into the hidden meanings that underlie notations and their implications of these meanings for performance. It also seeks to validate the contention that ‘historically informed performance’ does not imply ‘restriction’, but on the contrary, leads to the ‘liberation’ of the music.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: single-action pedal harp
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.758338
Depositing User: Masumi Kanemitsu-Nagasawa
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 11:56
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22145

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