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Playing with Time: The Creative Embodiment of Knowledge in the Performance of Baroque Flute Music

Cohen, Jennifer Louise (2018) Playing with Time: The Creative Embodiment of Knowledge in the Performance of Baroque Flute Music. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Expressive microtiming in music is a highly interpretative and contentious matter that varies not only between musical genres and communities of practice, but also from performance to performance. While some performers regard temporal subtleties as entirely intuitive and subjective, inaccessible to academic scrutiny, research in performance science, by contrast, considers microtiming a matter for objective, empirical study. Adopting a different approach, this thesis argues that all interpretative decisions arise from knowledge of some sort. Exploring different epistemic forms and their interaction, the various strains of knowledge that influence temporal expressivity are examined, and the fundamental question of ‘intuition’ addressed: how do epistemically-rooted interpretative decisions masquerade as ‘intuition’? Focusing on a case study of Fantasia No. 7 for solo flute by Georg Philipp Telemann, this thesis interrogates the processes that underpin expressive timing decisions in the performance of Baroque flute repertoire, addressing specificities of Baroque performance practice, as well as overarching questions more widely relevant to performance studies. As a result of the subjective, experiential and covert qualities that inhere within the phenomena of my investigation, critical reflection on my own practice is an indispensable ingredient of my methodology. This is interwoven with a theoretical framework that draws on aspects of historical musicology, cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and embodied cognition. Specifically, through lenses of ‘attentional states’ and ‘embodiment’, I examine the ways in which knowledge becomes internalised, transforms into ‘intuition’, is accessed during performance, and is externalised as an interpretative musical decision. In particular, drawing on the theory of ‘image schemata’ (a fundamental concern of recent research into embodied cognition), embodied shapes are revealed as a crucial form of knowledge that guides temporal expressivity. Overall, my research aims to map a holistic understanding of the experiential processes that underpin interpretative timing decisions in the performance of Baroque flute music.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: embodiment, knowledge, Baroque, music, flute, time, timing
Academic Units: The University of York > Music (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.772967
Depositing User: Miss Jennifer L Cohen
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 13:27
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23580

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